Kirk & Kirk, the new company of Jason and Karen Kirk, has developed the first private label collection for Eye Like, an interesting “club” of trendy, independent opticians in France who have been working together more or less informally for 15 years.
The basic and contemporary collection, which was launched a few weeks ago at participating stores, is the first to carry the Eye Like label. It is made in France and consists of eight styles in six colors designed for men and women of 15 and up. They carry an entry level price of €180 a pair. If the line sells well, new collections are due to be launched in November and next February or March under a two-year partnership agreement between the French club and Kirk & Kirk.
Eye Like has a deal with Essilor that allows its members to purchase lenses at a special price, but it is not a buying or franchising group. Each optician makes his or her own selection of designer brands that they want to carry, but they have a committee that puts out a purchasing guide for the members, recommending the hottest labels based on the collections that have sold the most or on their personal observations. Rab Canada has been one of their recent choices, for example.
The members of the club then invite representatives of the chosen brands and Essilor to their meetings to hold sales clinics. More than 40 employees of the participating retailers are expected to attend a national meeting of the group in Paris next month. The meeting takes places twice a year and features also experts in fashion and marketing. The members organize also regional meetings.
Eye Like started off in 2000 as a forum to exchange information and ideas among a few opticians who had just come out of school. It started to do some marketing under their common label in 2007. The present members of the club come from different backgrounds and include experienced opticians whose age ranges from 27 to 60. They are said to share a passion for creativity and the work they do.
The number of participants and the level of collaboration have increased over the years. The members of the club are expected to increase from 29 at present to 40 by the end of next year. The location of their stores is listed on their website, eye-like.fr.