On 14th Sep 2022, we celebrate 100 days of operations.
Otago Optical officially launched on 6th June, although preparations started way before that.
We contemplated between starting as an online-only store, or one with a shop front, and eventually settled on the latter - as we felt it would be important to try on the glasses before purchasing. Having a space would also ensure that we can perform eye checks, rather than using 'partner shops', and this means better consistency and control, as reliability is paramount.
A photo taken at Smith Street, Chinatown. Our store entrance is next to the iconic pineapple from Kele Pineapple. Back then, Smith St had the remnants of the closed Chinatown Food Street. The stalls have since been removed.
"Charming" is how I'd describe the store when we first visited - wooden beams and a slanted roof, windows with a view of South Bridge Road, a road steeped in history, with an entrance that is slightly hidden for that touch of mystery and discovery.
It was a simple shop - enough for our simple business! We touched it up a little, and turned it into the little place we now call home. Little by little, we improved both the aesthetics and how we functioned - based on the feedback from our early customers.
Since opening, we have received much love from customers. The transparent, honest, and reasonable pricing that is a pillar of our business is often talked about, and while we may not be the most easily accessible (got to climb some stairs!), a good selection of curated frames awaits the brave who embark the journey up three levels.
We aren't the cheapest, nor do we offer the most expensive branded frames. We are competitive based on our value - what consumers get based on the price they pay - and this means balancing quality and price, as well as curating a good selection of trendy and evergreen designs.
This is our way of business, and our way of life. This is uniquely Otago Optical.