Interview with: Twinkle Patel, Optometrist Mum of two, Director of Walbank Opticians Eyecare & Eyewear Specialist, and Bollywood Addict.
Tell us about your career background in Optometry: why you set out to work in optics, when you began your training and what you enjoy the most
I looked at Optics as there are many eye conditions and spectacles wearers in the family. The curiosity to learn more and my strengths in science is where my journey in Optics began. I started training in 2000 in an Optometry Batchelors degree, followed by the pre-registration training in practice. I honestly enjoy the joy and happiness that people feel after I have given them their desired results; whether that is better vision, an exceptional eye examination or a fabulous pair of glasses they will love!
Tell us a little bit about your practice Walbank Opticians such as your services and what you specialise in?
Walbank Opticians has been trading since the 1980’s and it has a loyal patient base and we specialise in dry eye treatment and post cataract assessments. I became Director in 2019 and it has gone from strength to strength. We are recently proud to also call ourselves Eyewear Stylists, with us offering styling consultations.
What motivated you to enrol your team on the Eyewear Stylist Practice Programme?
We loved the idea of a more thought out, yet a fun process in choosing eyewear. We have previously seen patients who have not been happy with the look of their glasses. And so, we thought, there has got to be a better way to ensure clients choose the right eyewear for them and the Styling Programme shows us exactly how to do that.
What skills have you and your team learnt from the programme to assist you with dispensing eyewear more effectively?
Listening skills are extremely important; and this means ‘actively listening’. What does the client want? What problems have they had before? What makes them happy? It is also understanding the client’s personality and talking to them on their level. For example, the way you speak to a ‘classic’ personality will be totally different to a ‘dramatic’ personality. The art of effective communication is vital and I feel we have massively improved on this.
How has this impacted your business and your team?
The business has gone from strength to strength. We have been doing eyewear styling consultations for 6 months. The average dispense value has increased, number of multiple pairs has increased and the team feel so much more satisfied after a styling consultation.
How has this impacted your clients?
The clients are loving this new experience. They feel on top of the world after leaving our practice. We feel it is because they have picked their own eyewear that they love with our guidance, which is extremely empowering. Whereas previously they were picking eyewear that they don’t necessarily love.
What do you value most about being part of the Eyewear styling Academy Community? How does the extra support and help like Monthly Zoom Live sessions help you and your team?
There is lots of help and guidance available with Eva and even other members of the Eyewear Styling Academy. Occasionally, there will be something we won’t be sure of or more of an unusual styling consultation and Eva, or someone in the group, will always have the answer. For us, its just that peace of mind, like minded Optical professionals are always there.
What’s next for Walbank Opticians?
The next step is to really improve on our multiple pair dispenses (although we have already!). I want to take it to the next level.
And finally, because we are champions of everything unique and personal about our clients – a little bit about you:
What style personality /personalities are you?
I am a creative/dramatic style personality; however, I used to dress more ‘classic’. Personally, I think I was a ‘closet creative’ who finally came out of her shell 2 years ago!
What is your colouring?
I suit brighter, cooler and deeper colours. My favourite are reds, hot pinks, and royal blues.
What is your personal favourite accessory to wear right now and why?
I think glasses are my overall favourite accessory, and this will be forever. However, I am finding a new found love with more creative shoes.
What eyewear says ‘Twinkle Patel’?
Cat eye styles, definitely!
Apart from Eyewear Styling, what do you love to do in your spare time?
Absolutely love spending time with my family and helping others. They both give me so much joy. However, I must not forget what activity makes me on top of the world; that is Bollywood dancing!
A few of Walbank Optician’s client testimonials since joining the programme: