Wendy Buchanan’s tips for styling clients, selling more glasses


By David Goldberg


You can’t have a conversation about influential women in eyewear without discussing Wendy Buchanan.

She’s a registered optician, image consultant, educator and creator of the highly praised Be Spectacular eyewear styling system.

Clinics and dispensaries across the country seek out Buchanan’s expertise so she can train staff to style clients and sell more glasses.

On average, eye care professionals sell only one pair of frames to 90 per cent of their customers, but what if there was a strategy that could double multi-pair sales in just a few monthsThat’s where Buchanan comes in. 

Twenty-five years ago, selling multiple pairs of glasses to one patient seemed an outrageous proposition, but the industry has undergone a dramatic transformation.

“When I started my business, I was just thankful if I sold one pair of glasses so I could pay my rent,” reminisces Buchanan.

“But once I started getting strategic and using my system, my multi-pair sales started to grow. I tell clients that I have 40 pairs of glasses and suddenly buying three pairs doesn’t seem like a lot.”

So how does it all work?

Buchanan explains that each client is a blank slate and it’s not a simple matter of showing your customers “what’s trending.”

“Many people don’t care about what’s trendy. They want you to show them something completely different. That’s why it’s really important to know the rules of balance and proportion, but also have the confidence to communicate why you’re breaking those rules specifically for that person.”

Buchanan looks at the style of clothing, the colours the client is wearing, the fabrics and how that ties into what that person does for a living because there’s typically a correlation between how one dresses and the roles they’re in, which she finds fascinating.

One of the secrets to selling multiple pairs of frames is having an extensive and exclusive inventory. In Buchanan’s experience, most optometrists don’t want to invest in really nice products because it costs so much.

“If you can teach their team how to sell it, how to style it, now it’s a great investment,” says Buchanan.

“One of the things my clients always say is, ‘Oh my God, I go to my optometrist and I can’t find anything…but there’s nothing really cool and nobody to help me.’ They walk out their door and then they call me and they spend $5,000.”

Buchanan’s system helps optometrists make back those bucks invested in a stylish inventory.

“That’s where I’m having fun is really seeing these optometry teams blossom. After a session with me, they’re excited about what they do. I’m infusing energy into some of these clinics, which is a lot of fun. It’s bringing the fashion element and then giving them the confidence to really style and sell the fashion eyewear too.”

Buchanan’s system is all about giving clinic staff the confidence to move someone out of black or tortoiseshell frames into some colour.

“People are hesitant to invest in color, yet we dress within a certain range of colors. So when you can show them you have that knowledge, some colour theory knowledge, you can be confident in telling them what’s going to work well.”

Buchanan says the influence of social media has changed the game because now glasses are a serious fashion statement and eye care professionals have to adjust with the times if they want to keep making money on frames.

“If people are going to spend money and invest in eyewear, they want to work with someone credible.”