Optician on Wheels combines quality and convenience
Savvy business owners realize that having a great product does not necessarily guarantee success, which is why optician Maryam Bidgoli is willing to go the extra mile to serve her customers – literally.
Maryam has an eye for fashion and a love for her profession. She is also passionate about helping her clients not only see better, but look and feel great in their new frames. But offering knowledgeable, friendly service was not enough for Maryam, so she launched Optician on Wheels with the notion of providing customers in the Greater Toronto Area with a professional in-store experience within the comfort of their own homes.
“The whole idea of my company was to make the experience more convenient,” she says. “You can get glasses anywhere. You can order them online. There are a multitude of boutiques and chain stores. I wanted to take the experience to the next level. I bring the same service you get in a store into your home and customers love it. They can take their time in a place where they are naturally more comfortable. It is a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.
“My prices are competitive. I carry hundreds of high-end, designer frames that I bring with me and I have a good relationship with my suppliers, so I can provide timely service. Since launching in September, the feedback has been all positive. People are delighted with the product, the service and the convenience.”
Indeed, Forbes reports businesses can make many changes to keep customers happy but few improvements are more important than maximizing convenience.
“Human beings are designed to generally choose the more convenient option when making intuitive decisions. It’s no surprise to see this lead to a race for more speed and convenience in retail,” Antonio Perini, CEO of Milkman, told Forbes.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) states consumers are leading increasingly busy lifestyles with one-third having less free time now compared to five years ago. Because of that, consumers are more likely to deal with a company that ensures a convenient experience. And customers don’t mind paying a little more if it saves them time and effort.
Families report that time together is precious and expect retailers to offer innovative ways to provide services.
The notion of convenience is not lost on Maryam. who, after working as an optician for large chain stores, had been planning to strike on her own.
“I always wanted to be my own boss because I believe I have the passion, the knowledge and the experience to serve clients. I just love helping people find their best look,” she says. “I would constantly be making sketches of how my boutique would look. I would go into other stores and take the best ideas from each one so I could put them all together to come up with my ideal boutique.
“But then the pandemic hit and I noticed that the mobile concept really took off. So, I started to reconsider the traditional bricks and mortar concept.”
Maryam says she often shared her desire to strike out on her own with her family. One day, “my husband’s cousin said ‘Why don’t you go mobile?’”
“The idea just resonated with me and the next day I jumped on it. I came up with a name and had my business registered right away,” she says. “It’s been really fun and cool. My husband, Shawn, has been extremely supportive. He got on board which was so amazing and I am just so grateful to him. His attitude is ‘Go big.’”
Maryam says she found her passion for her profession shortly after arriving in Canada from Iran in 2007.
“My brother-in-law is also an optician and Shawn said, ‘You love fashion, you are personable and you would enjoy this field.’ So, before I began my studies I would go to my brother-in-law’s workplace and observe what he was doing. I knew then that was it for me,” she says.
The mother of a six-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter has been working diligently to get the word out on her business. She has developed a solid relationship with her suppliers and carries a large line of quality designer frames, such as Dior, Celine, Tom Ford and Gucci.
Her concept is simple. Go online, upload your prescription and book an appointment. Maryam arrives with at least 300 frames, and takes the client’s measurements.
“During your appointment I will make suggestions based on your prescription, your face shape and other considerations. I ask questions to get to know your lifestyle and the look you are after,” she explains. “I look at what they’re wearing and based on that, I will offer recommendations that fit your prescription. I will offer options and you can choose the frames you love.”
Maryam says she doesn’t believe in simply showing customers the frames online.
“People really need to try them on, not just for the look but for comfort,” she says. “They really should also see the quality of the frames they are buying.”
Maryam has received rave reviews from clients so far who mention her “great service” and the “great experience.”
“I believe it is really important to build a rapport with clients because I want them as repeat customers. I really value their opinion,” she says. “To be successful you have to be a people person, which I am. I love people.
“I want my customers to feel at ease,” Maryam adds. “The best sign that you are doing a good job is if customers keep coming back. That is my ultimate goal.”