Eyes, or so the saying goes, are the windows to the soul, and at International Optique they’re surely in excellent hands. Just ask anyone in Kuwait and they’ll tell you about the incredible people at International Optique – opticians to the generations since 1978. A truly family run business, you still get the same personalized treatment today as you would have when they first opened. When you walk in, you’re greeted warmly by everyone as they make sure your requirements are met swiftly. It’s that level of care that has prompted our parents to take us there, and why we continue the tradition by taking our children there. But as time passes and the faces change – there are always constants in the form of head optometrist and founder, Rolf Habig’s daughters April, Erika and Alexi, who have literally grown up in the shop. And when Dr. Habig officially retired, all eyes turn towards none other than his eldest, April, who has now taken over from her father. We sat with April to find out more about her plans moving forward.
As generations continue to make their way to International Optique, “We generally want to keep the family business feel going,” April stated. “Now that we’re expanding, we’re changing the actual look of the shop and developing the practice further. While we’ve been more on the conservative side in the past, moving forward with our new branch [opening soon], it’ll offer a totally different look!” April promises us – and we whole heartedly believe – that the quality of service and general feel of the shop is going to remain exactly the same, like a family. The most notable change International Optique is offering is on their equipment. “We’re always improving our equipment – although we’re pretty ahead of the market already, we’re now working on bringing in personalization,” April added, “which is a huge trend in optics now.” Between the readymade products and the new custom-made ones, there’s no stopping them! “This is the direction the industry is moving in!” April laughed, “We’ve just placed our orders and now we’ll start getting the personalized items soon – for both frames to spectacle lenses.”
They’re always on the lookout for the latest styles and technologies to introduce to the customers. While the high-end brands will forever exist, April and her sisters continue to bring in independent designers to join the ranks of the others. “50 percent of our collection is from independent companies – which is can be attributed to our success, because we offer something different,” she smiled. “And Kuwait being a small community, everyone wants to have something as unique as possible, especially when they’re at gatherings – they want to see something different. If everyone ends up wearing the same glasses, they don’t feel as special.” They also take into account the fashion influencers’ needs and what they look out for – “Most of them are happy to try different brands and stray from the conventional names out there,” April elaborated, “it sets them apart from everyone else.”
But how do they select the styles and designers they want to work with? They purely rely on feeling and intuition! They travel the world in search of all things new and exciting in the field, that they feel would meet the demand and fit the criteria here. “We always follow the trends – we check what’s happening [in terms of style] socially and around the media to see what we can bring in,” April explained. “We also follow optical news and learn more through our guides and suppliers to find out what’s new and happening. And we just have to go with our gut feeling, that’s the best thing!” Still, it’s the service that sets them apart from all the rest. “We’re always on top of what’s happening internationally and we don’t just settle for what we know and have. Catering to everyone and to everyone’s needs – no matter how niche they are.” Always putting themselves in their clients’ shoes, they ensure that what they bring in would make everyone happy.
“Quality control is very important,” April went on. “We make sure that everything is perfect before we send it out. If the glasses are good and they’re done to the specification that I would wear, then, and only then, do we send them out.” Continuing with the exact specifications requirements, International Optique is bringing in some incredible technologies. “We’ve also started focusing on personalization,” she explained. By getting a 3D scanner with cameras that can capture the exact measurements of your face, you can now get a pair of glasses that fit you perfectly. After making the frame selection, the glasses can be tailored to the exact size of your nose and the width of your face. Meaning that you no longer have to worry about preexisting styles out there, because you can get a similar pair that actually suits you! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the future of eyewear.
“We’ve tested the equipment and there are just a few tweaks that need to be done to the software before we revisit the machine again and finally bring it to Kuwait.” April also reassured us that, “of course, it would still take a few months, but it’ll be here.” But that’s not the only new technology they’re bringing in. They also have brand new technologies that can get a precise reading on your eyesight as a whole, not just your vision. “We don’t just test for regular vision, we also check for binocular vision,” she added. “Sometimes people have perfect vision but suffer from headaches – we provide them with glasses that could help ease the headaches. Because it’s not all about sight, it can sometimes be about comfort as well.” At the end of the day, International Optique wants to continue being the optician, first and foremost. “We try to find the perfect balance between the fashion and style aspect of the business and still provide [the customer] a great service.”
Going above and beyond to offer what people would actually need is their goal, “because it goes beyond sunglasses and optical frames.” But to April, the most important part of all this is the passion behind what they do and the service they provide. In a way, everyone in the International Optique family is there because they enjoy what they do and are passionate about it. It’s no longer just a job they do, but they’re happy to assist you find your perfect fit and make sure you walk away having found all that you need.
You can find the International Optique Flagship showroom in Salmiya’s Central Plaza on Salem Al Mubarak Street. Please call 2571 4007 or visit www.intoptic.com for more information. Follow International Optique on Instagram @IntOptique for the latest styles and service offerings.