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without question, we are currently enduring tough economic times, and it is in such times that innovative entrepreneurs look to ways to disrupt their competition and change the status quo. there is one man who believes that his industry is resting on its laurels too comfortably, keeping large part of our population, particularly those in the lower income bracket, from obtaining the best possible eyewear, which is a vital contributor to visual health.
this disrupter is an entrepreneur and champion "for better eye care for all". Leon van Vuuren, founder/CEO of a local company Optique, firmly believes that for too long, too many people have not had access to the quality, comprehensive eye care for several reasons.
our firm belief is that affordable eye care should always be a basic human right — Leon van Vuuren
Leon calls himself an ‘optompreneur’, an indication of the philosophy and aim of his brand Optique is reflected in their slogan ‘eye care. simplified.’ it is with a straightforward approach that Leon’s company ensures that all South Africans have access to adequate eye care, which is one of this business’s primary aims. "it is also our approach’’ says Leon, ‘’no hidden costs, no sales gimmicks, no surprises, what you see (through) is what you get!"
Leon uses the Old Khaki model as the type of brand they aspire to emulate, one that is proudly South African and not tied to international brands but offers excellent quality and service. "from the outset, we set out to be disruptors," says Leon, "as I want people to trust the Optique brand, which is why we have formulated long-standing relationships with each of our patients. No one has to suffer without eye care and eyewear, and we have proven that to them."
what does it take to disrupt an industry?
apart from their simplified approach, Optique firstly doesn’t sell high-cost famous branded eyewear, but what they use instead is tried and tested top-notch quality, so there are cost savings. they also drive additional cost savings and affordability initiatives, like interest-free payments over six months, and several other options.
secondly, their famous R99 eye test is only about 20% of the actual cost of the test. still, Optique subsidises the rest as just one of their contributions to ongoing social conscious initiatives. "we freely give our expertise, time and facilities – and it doesn’t stop there either’’ continues Leon, "We are currently on a drive to have a representative in each community to communicate to service workers such as nurses, supermarket cashiers, teachers, etc. about Optique's affordability offering for all.’’
so how do disrupters survive?
"the reality is that we can and do offer all this and still run a successful, rapidly expanding business’’ concludes Leon, ‘’this is because our growing client base appreciates that we are as transparent as the eyewear we supply, and we have a clear vision to ensure that eye care is accessible to the entire population. it’s a vision that drives everything we do and is coupled with the firm belief that affordable eye care should always be a basic human right.’’
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