Featuring Michael Holmes & Kay McFarlane

Fresh off our win for People's Choice Award, our own Michael Holmes and Kay McFarlane were featured in RetailNews this week. See what they had to say below!

<BR/> Profile<BR/> Michael Holmes<BR/> Co-owner with Kay McFarlane<BR/> Michael Holmes Premium Eyewear<BR/> Newmarket and city, Auckland
When one of the country’s top bosses drove over his glasses just before an important event – where he needed his glasses – Michael Holmes Premium Eyewear were able to get him fixed in less than an hour. It was service of this type that underpinned the business taking out the People’s Choice Award at the recent ANZ Newmarket Business Excellence Awards.

1.       What business are you in?Making people feel fabulous in their new glasses.
2.       How is business?We have been through steady growth over the past three years.  The first half of this year has been amazing.  We added another optometrist earlier this year and have another starting in October.
3.       What are the big changes going on in your sector at the moment?The influx of multi-national chains.  Previously, the independent optometrist serving their local community was the norm.  As an independent New Zealand-owned business, it is challenging but important to be creative and offer a unique experience different from the chains.
4.       What’s working well for you at the moment?Having a point of difference.  Our frames are all designed and handmade by independent eyewear designers, leading the way in frame design.
5.       What are your challenges?When it comes to new glasses, there is no “one size fits all.”  We sometimes have some stressful deadlines, like recently when one of the country’s top CEOs dropped and then drove over his glasses on his way to a press conference.  Not being able to read without his glasses, we had to get something sorted in less than an hour, while the press conference was delayed.
6.       What is the smartest thing you’ve ever done for your business?Remaining proudly independent.
7.       Who has been your biggest supporter?My business partner Kay (who also happens to be my wife).  She used to be a lawyer and is good at all the stuff I’m not.
8.       Who has inspired you?The independent eyewear designers we work with.  Their passion makes it possible for us to offer a very unique optical retail experience.
9.       Where do you get your best advice?I belong to an online international forum of independent eyewear businesses.  This group is full of the most talented eyewear business owners and optometrists from around the world.  We can ask questions at any time and there is always someone outstanding to offer advice or their opinion.
10.   What’s a good piece of advice for other retailers?Develop a point of difference and a brand you’re proud of. Then be true to that brand …always.
11.   What’s next?We currently have two stores, one in Teed St, Newmarket and one in High St, Auckland.   There are plans underway to introduce our concept to two other New Zealand cities.  As we are a unique hybrid of medical care and retail, the difficulty for us is to establish systems for four optical outlets without  compromising our high standards of customer eye care or the uniqueness of the retail experience we aim to provide.
12.   Why do you get out of bed in the morning?I am lucky to meet the most interesting people every day.  Most of my clients have successful businesses or interesting jobs and it is a genuine pleasure getting to know them. I also work with a fun team who keep things running smoothly front of house.  We have our stresses but for the most, I can honestly say a day in my shoes is a pretty enjoyable experience.