Picture an optician, what do you think of? Sunglasses, glasses, contact lenses, maybe an annual eye test, if you’re conscientious about looking after your eye health. This is basic eye care. However, not even keen optometrist Rolf Habig could see the impact his arrival in 1978 would have in Kuwait. Keeping customer service and the science of solutions to visual impairment at the core of International Optique means that 2018 marks an impressive 40 years of serving satisfied customers. Over the years, International Optique has expanded and serves the local communities of five locations across Kuwait.
Bazaar went to meet the team at the helm of this successful local brand. Today there is an entire second generation of the Habig family running the business. These three sisters, April, Erika and Alexi, work alongside fourth partner Haussam Adlouni on a daily basis. Today’s mission though, before the store opens, is to corral their father into the photographs bazaar needs to take for this article, no easy task for the daughters. Getting the daughters and Haussam to pose for these photos is equally difficult, as all of them keep busy preparing for the day ahead; the apples fall not far from the tree in the daughters’ cases. It is probably no wonder then that each of them followed their father into the family business.
There is a huge amount of pride for what Rolf Habig has achieved with International Optique. April tells us about the members of staff who have been with them for years, decades even. In this day and age of portfolio careers where it is common to jump from one thing to the next, it stands out for a company to be able to hold on to its members of staff for such long stretches. Only the showing of appreciation and respect achieves this level of staff loyalty. There is no room for solipsism here, the knowledge of the veteran staff who started on the shop floor with no prior experience in optometry, is considered just as valuable as the staff who are fresh out of college.
There is a reputation which proceeds the staff of International Optique too. On their travels, it is not unheard of for industry colleagues to commend International Optique and Rolf Habig for having such high standards, assuring quality and keeping one eye on the future, with another focused on learning from traditional service culture.
“Ah, you work for International Optique!” is often accompanied by a knowing smile and appreciative nod. “This is nice for them,” says April, “it makes them feel proud.” Rightly so. There is a charming anecdote too, that an Olympian for sharp shooting is a long-term International Optique customer. if ever there was a ringing endorsement for an optician, this would be it.
Seeing that there is some activity outside the main shop where we are taking photos, a customer heads toward the open double doors. Evidently, he has a query but checks his watch to see the time, a little confused that there is such a hubbub of activity when the opening time clearly states 9.30 am, a good thirty minutes from now. Immediately founder Rolf has spotted this customer
and approaches him with a smile and a determination to serve, all thoughts of the photo shoot gone as his priority of the last 40 years makes itself clear. The customer.
So, what are the plans for the immediate future, let alone the next 40 years for International Optique? Firstly, the company will be hosting the entire staff to say “thank you” for their service over the years. The Kids’ Optical Boutique is being transferred along the first floor to a more spacious location making it easier and more comfortable for families to manoeuvre around the vast number of children’s brands that are available.
This month, bespoke designer Tom Davies style collection arrives instore. His glasses are regularly worn by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora.
Later on in the year, the Central Plaza boutique hopes to introduce an industry breakthrough. 18 months ago, when we interviewed the sisters for bazaar, they mentioned 3D printing technology for a customized fit and how they were hoping to introduce that to the Kuwait market. Perfectly formed for your face, the frames are uniquely designed to fit and suit you. The only thing that hampered this project being launched was waiting for the second generation of machinery and software to ensure a better standard of aftersales care.
It is vital that International Optique be able to deliver top class aftersales care…and they tirelessly searched for a partner who could provide this. They have now found the perfect partner with the same excellent service standards to launch 3D printed frames later in 2018.
So what more can International Optique offer you, apart from expertly trained opticians, optometrists, audiometrists, technicians and sales staff in a bright, modern environment with the largest selection of top quality brands and styles, using the latest technology with a service center on site, home service offered and contact lenses delivered to your door?
For the first two weeks in May there will be a gift for each customer purchasing eyewear, while stocks last, and other exciting celebrations too! Keep your eyes focused on social media, and pop into the stores to check out the latest collections!
To find out more about the 40th anniversary celebrations follow @Intoptique on Instagram. Visit www.intoptic.com for more information about the services offered at their boutique locations in Central Plaza, Souk Sharq, Arraya Mall, Al Muthanna Complex and Yaal Mall. Visit www.kuwaitCL.com to order your contact lenses online. Photography by Caroline Ericson, @PixbyCaroline on Instagram.