Solo Bambini’s collections are designed with infant/toddler facial considerations in mind and made of a comfortable soft FDA-approved material (Ryken shown here).
I have found over the past 30 years that “selling” eyewear to kids brings on a plethora of considerations. The goal is to make the presentation and purchasing experience a positive one, but on their level. It begins by understanding that as the child ages and changes, the presentation must coincide with those lifestyle changes.
TODDLERS Who actually is the consumer, the toddler or the parent/guardian? The toddler certainly is the patient, yet the parent is the one who will ultimately make the final decision when it comes to their child’s needs. Since toddlers have minimal communication skills, this means you must present the eyewear to the parent. Keep in mind that the mother may be harboring sad or guilty feelings because her baby needs eyeglasses in the first place. Putting her mind at ease is a great place to start.
Each time the child needs clothing, shoes, bibs, bedding, and other necessities, the parent looks for dependability, durability, and value. One of the most important factors when recommending eyewear to the parent is the use of trusted brands. They need to know that the eyewear is safe for the toddler. For example, Disney makes sure that all Disney products are consistent in quality and style. The Disney brand of eyewear from Marchon Eyewear is certainly one of the most commonly trusted brands. With spring hinges, comfort cables, and fun styles, this collection is sure to please the toddler and the parent.
The first time a toddler needs eyeglasses, there are many unknown factors the parent will initially need to learn. They may have no idea of cost, or how strong, comfortable, or appealing their baby’s eyeglasses will be. Presenting eyewear that is especially designed for toddlers can take away some of their concerns. Solo Bambini’s Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, and Toddler Collections offer the ultimate solution. They are designed with infant/toddler facial considerations in mind and made of a comfortable soft FDA-approved material that fits easily beneath a helmet.
PRESCHOOL AND SCHOOL-AGED These little rascals are definitely drawn to color, and lots of it. Presenting color is key here and the more the color, the better! Look to the newly released Hello
ESPRIT Kids Style No. ET17373 by Charmant for teenage girls has an adult look along with fashionable blocked pastel shades and matte tones.
Nouveau’s SpongeBob SquarePants Eyewear is a delightful way for elementary school-aged kids to connect with their favorite cartoon character (Treedome shown here).
Present brands to tweens that are familiar and popular in their world, like Tommy Hilfiger Children’s Eyewear Collection by Safilo (Style No. TH1148 shown here).
Show tweens the flex temples on Dakota Smith Tweek by Signature to engage them in the eyewear selection.
Kitty collection by Eyewear Designs. This playful line of eyewear is inspired by the popular Hello Kitty accessories for little girls like hats with kitten ears, gloves, and cute little bows. My favorite is Style No. HK213 in pink and lavender.
The goal with preschoolers and elementary school-aged kids is to engage both the parent and the child. Since these kids are also beginning to recognize brands by the television programs they watch in the comfort of their own home and the motion pictures they are taken to in the big world outside, using brands makes good sense. These characters become larger than life in the eyes of a child and media influence is big business too.
Let’s take Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants television show for example. This program is the most watched animated show in history, is seen in over 92 million households in the U.S. alone, and continues to be the number-one entertainment choice for kids of all ages. SpongeBob SquarePants Eyewear by Nouveau Eyewear is a delightful way for kids to connect with their favorite cartoon character. What a great way to begin the conversation with the child and the parent.
INSIDE SCOOP ON P-O-P MATERIALS How should an eyecare professional (ECP) use point-of-purchase (P-O-P) materials? Sheila Haile, Manager of Marketing and Creative Services at ClearVision Optical Co., suggests that ECPs think about what they want from their patients when they come in the door. Of course, they want them to make a purchase, so ClearVision attempts to create a brand-specific environment for the ECP’s product display. Haile suggests giving kids their space in the proper environment and to use P-O-P to differentiate this section from everything else the ECP has in the dispensary. Listen in to the rest of Haile’s comments at TotallyOptical.com/podcasts.
TWEENS Children who are beTWEEN preschool age and teenage years are considered tweens. These savvy consumers were born into a digital world and are definitely tech-driven. They also enjoy trinkets, gadgets, and doohickeys.
Presenting eyewear and focusing on features like spring hinges or TR-90 flex material is the way to go here. When you demonstrate such features and allow them to demonstrate them back to you, they become more interested and engaged. Show them eyewear like the Y-Sport Amped or Tweek by Dakota Smith offered by Signature Eyewear. These sports-flexible temples flex out for comfort and durability and hold their shape indestructibly.
Eyecare professionals know what can happen to the eyewear when a child is unhappy with the final selection. Yes, it breaks for no apparent reason, it gets lost somewhere, and the parent looks to you for advice. Keep in mind that peer pressure is on their minds too. Present brands that are familiar and popular in their world like Tommy Hilfiger Children’s Eyewear Collection by Safilo USA. These junior frames are well-liked, comfortable, and functional. The Tommy Hilfiger brand is also well known to tweens and makes the selection experience a whole lot more enjoyable for everyone, including you.
TEENS These soon-to-be full-grown adults are definitely more independent. Basically, you need to treat them as adults. They want to be dealt with in a more mature manner and need to be major decision makers, even though their parents are often paying the bill. Teach them every aspect of the eyewear—the brand, materials, styles, colors, adornments, and price points. Show them eyewear like the ESPRIT Kids Style No. ET17373 by Charmant Group for teenage girls. This preppy style with an adult look along with blocked pastel shades and matte tones is fashionable and fun with a slightly more mature look.
Encourage their friends to take part in the selection too. Unlike tweens, teen peer pressure is more encouraging than discouraging. It is not uncommon to see a teen bring in friends when choosing eyewear. Welcome and acknowledge all of them and let the process begin.
Reminiscent of the ‘60s, the peace sign was synonymous with love, freedom, and individuality. The Peace Eyewear Collection by i-dealoptics uses this symbolic eye-catching design that today’s teens will love.
I have had the pleasure of not only selling eyewear to children once, but providing eyewear to them as the years passed. Watching him squirm as a toddler, giggle as a preschooler, experience growing pains as a tween, and maturing as a teen has been a rewarding experience.
Jackie O’Keefe is a licensed optician and a writer, lecturer, and course preparer in the Virginia Beach, VA area.