And out of the Pandemic, NEOS was born....
The North East Optical Show started off as a dinner during the pandemic as a way for two reps (who also have optical shops of their own) to not only network, but to bring some sense of normalcy to what was otherwise a VERY different time.
As the word spread more reps wanted to be a part of it and in a matter of weeks, what started as a large table in a restaurant, transformed into the ball room of the Renaissance Hotel in Providence, RI with over 50 collections. That was April 23, 2022.
Both Joanna & Jessica represent independent companies and only carry independent collections in their shops, so their fierce dedication to supporting and growing independent brands was a natural fit.
It's your business and YOU should be in charge of it! You are a small, independent business and by working with other independent vendors and featuring these collections , you regain or maintain complete control of your future- Regaining Your Independence... unless you've already had it, then you're maintaining it!
"Let's have a dinner for a few key accounts..."-Joanna to Jessica Fall 2021
Joanna has been working in the Optical industry for over 20 years. She has had the opportunity to work in many different roles within MD, OD, and Optician owned practices. She's gone from optician, to frame rep, and now a sales consultant for one of the largest independent lens manufacturers and as she's done so, her passion for optical continues to grow.
Working in the lab setting, Joanna started to see the value of what it means to be truly independent, and she recognized that most of the decision makers weren't making decisions at all; they were following the rules of insurance and other outside factors IN THIER OWN BUSINESS. She saw an opportunity help offices see the value in themselves and helped them break free from the norm and regain their independence, and in doing so, their profits as well.
In March of 2021 Joanna and her husband opened their first Optical Boutique with this mindset. In doing so, it put all of the pieces together for her, and allowed her to do it from scratch. She wasn't coming in and showing a businesses owner how they could have done it differently, she was doing it herself. Working with independent brands has brought great work relationships and less stress.
Joanna is always up for a challenge when it comes to taking back your Independent optical. Whether it's managed care, lens options and pricing, board management, or how to increase profitability, or something no ones even thought of yet, Joanna is always eager to help independents grow and work together for future success.
Joanna shared an idea she had for a dinner for a few shared or not yet shared accounts with a similar mindset, with Jessica one day. It was supposed to be a dinner, but it turned into so much more. Between the tow of them the North East Optical Show (NEOS) was created!
Jessica’s optical journey began in 2010 when her husband was planning to open an optical shop. Still working in finance at the time, a few simple questions over dinner changed both of their paths forever.
After college Jessica was the inventory control coordinator for the Plimoth Plantation, with 5 satellite retail stores. That experience combined with restaurant management and over 10 years of experience in finance as the director of operations and finance for a national construction company led to those fateful questions….”What are you going to use for your POS?” followed by “How are you going to track your COGS?”.
They decided that Jessica would get involved to set up the SOP’s, customer management and inventory, and develop a system for monitoring and tracking all costs, then she’d go back to finance.
While on a trip to SILMO in 2011 looking for independent collections to bring into their shop, a few simple questions changed their fate again and they became frame reps in addition to having the store. She's covered the North East for independent collections including Lafont, Robert Marc, Lunor and l.a. Eyeworks.
Jessica’s unique perspective and approach to optical has proven successful with her family store continuing to grow year over year without accepting any insurances or offering discounts. She’s said from the beginning that selling frames and lenses are just widgets and the business should be run like any other retail business.
Once again, with a random conversation over a meal, Jessica and Joanna (unknowingly at the time) joined forces and an entirely that brings us here, to NEOS!