When it comes to your eyesight, no form of interaction could ever compete with the invaluable relationship one shares with their optometrist. At International Optique, your relationship with any of their dedicated optometrists and staff members goes beyond the typical experience. A family-run business since 1978, expect to have a personal and lifelong relationship here, where your optometrists will go the extra mile to ensure that all of your visual and audiological needs are taken care of.
Founded by German optometrist, Rolf K. Habig and his Austrian colleague Ulrich Angerer in 1978 and in collaboration with Mohammed Al Bisher and Ahmed Al Mishari, what began as a small opticians shop in downtown Kuwait has evolved into a truly international company. Today, the Habig family, along with their team of expert employees, can be found doing what they love the most, helping people improve the quality of their day to day visual experiences. Sisters April, Alexi and Erika Habig are carrying on their father’s legacy, and with an awesome liege of qualified optometrists and sales assistants, they make a trip to the opticians a breeze. They work hard, they laugh, they research the best options for their customers, and most importantly, they love working together as a family.
For the Habig sisters, frequenting the family’s old shop in Salmiya was only a natural occurrence when they were kids. Erika says, “We would help out and organize files. We would try out the products and play around with fun colored contact lenses. It was fun! With time, our awareness grew, and it was a natural decision for all of us to be a part of this business. I am blessed with the opportunity of being with family, while having a career that revolves around helping people.” The Habig sisters are in tune with the technical, traditional and modern aspects of optometry. Alexi adds, “I get so much satisfaction out of making special repairs, as well as selling glasses or contact lenses to our customers. Every aspect is challenging in its own way.”
Today, the International Optique flagship store at Salmiya’s Central Plaza boasts a 1500m² practice space. Alongside the main showroom, this location includes the Kids Optical Boutique, Contact Lens and Keratoconus Center, Hearing Care Center, Low Vision Department and The Gallery. The state-of-the-art optical laboratory is located onsite, allowing fast and efficient service using advanced technology from Japan, Italy and the United States. Not only so, International Optique has 4 branches located around Kuwait. When leisurely browsing through the various departments at their flagship store in Central Plaza, you will see everyone working together. Alexi and Mr. Hussam, who has become a part of the family through his dedication to the company throughout the years, could be found fiddling around in the lab, and also expertly advising customers about which optical solutions would suit them best.
While the Habig family agrees on the notion that success in their respective field comes from quality services, product variety and pioneering techniques, April also believes that being a family business matters. “As optometrists, we are all involved in the day to day operation of the business. We do all the eye tests, as well as dispensing.”
What is also unique to us is that our staff members choose to stay with us for a long time. It’s the opposite of a stiff corporate culture. For instance, we are so happy that Mr. Hussam’s daughter, Leena, will join in the audiology department.” Alexi reiterates her sister’s notion, adding that “It is not only the services that we offer, but it is also the way that we take care of our customers.” For Mr. Hussam, he feels that their team’s strength comes from every member’s desire to take on challenges. He says, “We are able to handle challenging prescriptions and solving some of the client’s more complicated optical issues.”
For Erika, being able to help people with optical or hearing issues is key to the business’s success story. “The variety of ways in which we are able to help is incredible. From hearing aids, sports glasses and even swimming goggles, we won’t stop until we find a solution. You don’t usually find our services, and the knowledge about these products, coupled with being able to advise the clients while still offering the latest products, in one place.” A visit to the flagship store is a leisurely experience. The Kids Optical Boutique is a joy for the little ones, as it is common now for children to at least own one pair of protective glasses. April explains, “We love the space for the kids, as they get to come into their own and all of their fears around wearing optical glasses are dispelled. It’s quite a confidence booster for a child when they know they look good!”
Staying updated about their customers’ highly evolving tastes plays a huge role in their operation, and the main gallery at International Optique will leave you spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting your pair of glasses. Whether you desire boutique, niche brands from different parts of the world, or if you prefer a luxurious finish to your favorite pair of reading glasses, you are never at a loss of options. April adds, “We know our customers, and we recognize their tastes during our buying trips at various optical exhibitions. That’s a confidence booster for us, that we share such a special relationship with our customers.”
Functioning in a tech-driven era is always a challenge. For optometry visits however, a personal touch makes for a more positive experience. April explains that at the height of the digital trend, there was a boom of customers who went online. Soon enough, customers began returning to the flagship store, as people notice the difference between a digital browse versus a face-to-face experience with a professional. Lucky for you, if there is a pair of glasses that you like online, but would like it to be tailored to your needs, the experts at International Optique can order them for you, and give you that extra step of making sure that they fit to perfection.
In looking to the future, International Optique is looking to expand the hearing aid center under the supervision of Mr. Hussam, as the services that are currently available in Kuwait are not up to par with international standards. The experts at International Optique are also working on a completely new concept for optics, which will be unveiled in the near future.
The Flagship showroom for International Optique is located 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.