Effective Optical Space Planning | Part 2- Realizing Your Vision

optical space design, eyewear displays, office remodel, optical office designPart 2 | Realizing Your Vision

In Part 1 (Laying the Groundwork and Setting Pre-Design Expectations) we discussed finding your dream team, creating a budget, and developing a realistic timeline to ensure your project is set up for success. In Part 2 we will be discussing the design process, realizing your vision for the space, and next steps.

Finding YOUR space!
Picking the right space for your business is a key component of being successful! Do your research when considering certain spaces or cities. Location is key…think about finding a space where you can bring in new clients, satisfy already established clients, and grow your business (even if that isn’t in your plans- you never know where the future may take you).

We recommend contacting local organizations in the cities you are considering, like City Hall or Chamber of Commerce. Organizations like these can provide you with answers to questions you have about the city, as well as share with you current listings of locations for rent/sale. It can also be a great opportunity to establish a relationship with key contacts at the city. We had a client who followed our advice and built a relationship with the Business Development group in their city, and through the relationship was able to avoid delays when issues arose in the permitting process for an existing space they were renovating.

Realizing YOUR Vision!
Once you have selected a space the real work begins. This is when you will begin working with your DREAM TEAM! As mentioned in Part 1 it is very important to pick a team you feel confident in! It is their job to help you develop your vision for the space.

Starting the design process with brainstorming sessions and “pinning” is very important. Scrolling through images of spaces you like and don’t like will help you realize the look and feel you want to create for your business. Create boards on websites like Pinterest with all your ideas! If you don’t have Pinterest, no worries! Do a quick google search for “Optical Space Design” and see what pops up! Once you find a few spaces you like, take screenshots and show your design team! At this point in the design process no idea is a “bad idea”, the more ideas the better as it will help you narrow down exactly what it is you are looking for.

After you have thoroughly browsed for ideas, the next step is to get picky and narrow down what you want for your space- this is the time to get serious. Think about things like theft deterrence (do you need it?), the amount of storage you would like to have, how many frames you want to display, etc. Thinking about these things ahead of time will save you time and money as you narrow down the design.

Developing YOUR Space
Optometry has changed in many ways over the last few years and perhaps the most important consideration to be given when designing a layout is the list of rooms you need to establish efficient process and business flow. Ask yourself things like… “How many exam lanes do I need?”, “Do I need to make special provisions for equipment?”, “How big of a break room does my staff need?”.
[Not sure which questions to ask? Check out our Design Survey for a few ideas!] Thinking about these things before you start the layout process will help you establish a general process flow that your design team can expand on. A well thought out professional space can eliminate the need to move later if sales volumes increase beyond initial expectations.

Once you have a general space layout, think about the dispensary (“sales”) environment you want to create. Keep in mind…a clean, neat, and well-arranged space is more conducive to sales. Do not try to overwhelm the space with too many frames. We could go on and on with advice on how to display frames, but for the sake of this post we will just include links to some of our other blog posts on the subject.
Preparing Your Space for New Frames
Follow the Leader? Trends in the Industry!
The Sales Magic of Display
Answers to you FAQS
Your New Office

Your design team should meet with you to evaluate your business needs then help you decide what the most efficient flow and design for the space will be.

Drawings, Permits, and Building
After the layout has been developed and your design direction has been solidified it is time for the project to begin “on paper”. Your design team will work with you to develop drawings of the space and you will begin to see your vision become a reality. But you aren’t done just yet…next you will need to satisfy the requirements of the municipality in which you are located and the building landlord’s conditions. Requirements often include building permits, which involve an architect’s stamp and submittal to the city. Not all projects need permits. Prior to beginning your design project, it is important to check with your landlord and/or contractor to see what all is required.

Take a deep breath and don’t forget it’s about YOU!
This all can seem a bit overwhelming…rely on your dream team- they will walk you through all the necessary steps to make sure your project is a success. As a design client it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. All this hard work will pay off in the end; you are opening a business/or remodeling an existing space and that is exciting! Don’t forget in the hustle and bustle of it all, this really is about you. Your design team is there to help you, the contractor is there to build the space for you, the owner of the business is you.
– Be involved. It is important that you are very involved from the get-go. It may seem like a lot of time and energy up front, but it will pay off in the end.
– Think about your budget. Be realistic, know your budget and stick to it! The team you work with should work within your budget to get you the look you want without compromising the budget you have set. There are many ways to make designs more cost effective.
— Get non-locking rods vs. locking rods
— Utilize panel layering– instead of a laminate panel with an added acrylic panel and frame supports just do an acrylic panel with frame supports, or perhaps just a laminate panel with frame supports.
— Color selection/materials– choosing a “standard” color or a less expensive material can help with overall costs and often the change isn’t even noticeable!
– Take your time. Taking extra time up front and not rushing through the steps can save you countless dollars once you start building. (Your New Office).
– Stay organized. You don’t want to be the reason your project gets behind schedule. Make sure you set aside time to review drawings or communications from your design team and contractor. This is a very important part of the design process to ensure the team is building the exact space you want.

Check back in for Part 3 to learn about taking the plunge and preparing your space for business!

Don’t scare away your customers!

October can be a bit “spooky”… whether it be because of Halloween, the change in weather, or the sudden realization that summer is officially over. We find ourselves being cooped up inside (especially for all of us in Seattle!), which can often lead to serious evaluation of the environment where we spend most of our time…the office!

Do you look at your space and think…that’s outdated, I should really change out that display, or why did I buy that extra line of frames? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to update your space before you scare away your customers! Ok, that’s a bit dramatic… but they will really appreciate the new look and feel of your space!

Not all changes have to be big and grandiose! Here are some small changes that can be made to liven up a space:

  • New Signage: Adding signage can point your patients in the right direction, making it easier and more convenient to shop and find exactly what they are looking for!

Signage

  • Mirrors: Mirrors are the perfect addition to any space. They help to open up the space, but also provide the perfect canvas for your customers to view your merchandise.

Mirrors

  • Feature Displays: Creating hype for new products or a specific frame line can make all the difference when trying to make the sale. So, the idea of “showcasing” with a feature display is a great way to spice things up! (Check out these great feature displays for inspiration…. Flight Boxes, Luminato, & Freestanding Displays)

Feature Display

If you feel it is time for a big overhaul you could consider making some of the bigger changes:

  • New Dispensary Design: Creating a new space for your patients to shop and your employees to work creates an exciting and refreshed environment. Need help thinking outside the box?
  • New Displays: Even just updating your frame boards can create the look of a new dispensary without having to redo everything and start from scratch! With the help of our new “Complete Systems” it is even easier to pick out a new look!
  • New Accessories: Surprisingly, new space accessories (i.e. paint, flooring, seating, lighting, etc…) can make all the difference in the overall appearance of your space. Perhaps changing the color of your walls can create just the pop you were looking for!

Changes, whether large or small, can make all the difference when it comes to the way you present your business and merchandise to your patients! And just think…now is the perfect time to make these changes as we start rolling into the busy holiday season!

 

Wanting to Create a New Space?

Thinking about redoing your optical space? Or moving to a new space? What should the design be? Answering these questions as you work towards creating a new space can be a daunting process. Perhaps the first issue to resolve is who to approach and ask for help with the design and creation of the space. As you evaluate the various individuals and teams some of the critical questions to answer are:

  • Is this a person, or persons, I can work with?
  • Can they help me through the entire process?
  • How much will it cost just to get a design?
  • What are the hidden costs?

Taking the time to choose the right team in the beginning will be the most important decision you will make and can have the most impact.

Can I Work With YOU?

As you look for someone to work with on designing your new space it is important to remember that this will be “your” space, not the designers. You want to find and establish a team that is responsive to your needs and makes you feel that you are a part of the design, not just the occupant for someone else’s creation. Some of the things to notice as you proceed with selecting someone to work with:

  • Do they offer to come see your current space and how you work?
  • Have you seen any other spaces that they have designed? Do you feel comfortable in those spaces?
  • Are they responsive to your questions?
  • Are they equipped to help you through the entire process? Design, construction, installation, beyond.

After you choose a designer the process of creating your space on paper begins. Again, this is a process that you need to be involved in, from understanding and helping to create the flow; to having an open mind when the designer might suggest a different approach to a particular issue. If the design team asks questions, or raises issues that cause you to say “I never thought of that,” then you can have a sense that the team is thinking about “your” space and process. This is also the time when colors, finishes, displays, and furnishings should be considered and selections start to get finalized.

To Construction and Beyond

The design portion of the process is only the first phase. Now you need to satisfy the requirements of the municipality in which you are located and the building or landlord’s conditions. Depending on your location and design team there will be permit, bid, and/or construction drawings needed; the selection of a general contractor, interior designer, display manufacturer; the selection of fixtures, furnishings, and equipment, sequencing, and coordination. Again, some questions for the design team:

  • Will they produce the drawings for the permit? Bid? Construction? Do they have staff qualified to produce the documents required?
  • Will they help with the selection of a general contractor?
  • Do they have resources for selection of fixtures, lighting, flooring, seating, etc.
  • Are they ready to help with the design and layout of your display, exam rooms, lab space, etc.

If the answers to any of these questions are no, then you will have to expand your team to include those people necessary to complete the requisite parts of the project.

Wasn’t That Part of the Price?

The hidden fees and costs. I have deliberately left out any discussion about cost or budget until now. For most of us this is probably the most important issue, but it seems too often it is the one that is left out of the design discussion. So, as you re-read this post ask the question “what is the cost of this?” at each phase of the process. Incorporating this question into the process from the beginning will create a transparent atmosphere and effective process. Because everyone involved has one thing in mind – the creation of an exciting space for you.

If you are at the point of looking for a design team, or thinking about it, consider the team at Ennco Display Group. We can help with your space selection and design, are equipped to deal with permit drawings and bid sets; have connections with flooring, lighting, and seating manufacturers; and we design and build displays and casework for the optical space, exam rooms, lab, and other spaces in your optical practice.

Romanticize Your Space!

 

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, our thoughts turn to romance. Flowers, cards, chocolate! Those images occupy our thoughts and most of the stores we enter. The appeal of this manufactured holiday is that buying flowers, chocolate, and cards will create more romance in our lives. Romance, however, can go beyond flowers, cards, and chocolate. The space and environment we spend our time in and where we conduct our business can also become a source of romance. I would like to use this post to explore several ideas on how you can make your space fresher, more appealing, maybe even more romantic!

9945L_Ennco

A fresh look can be the allure of a new accessory, the process of trying different things, or the tempting appeal of new spaces.

Accessories

Each of these ideas can be used to make your optical space more appealing. Adding a new accessory can bring a new focus to a particular display. The SpecRest, a new countertop display by Ennco (ennco.com), comes in several sizes, and can be used either singly or in a group for adding a fresh look to a shelf, counter, or window. Other ideas are adding a special item to group a set of frames around, rearranging your existing frames to highlight particular ones, or removing some of the frames temporarily to bring more focus to the ones that remain.

SR

Graphics

Graphics are another way to add interest to the space. How long have those posters been on the wall? Have you talked with your frame reps about new graphics? Getting new graphics and installing them in a light box on the wall, or hanging in the window can spark a new interest in your space. The people at Ennco can help you create each of these options and offer other ideas to add, change, or adjust your graphics and signage.

Windows

Windows are your eyes to the world. Whether it is rearranging your window, adding a new box or graphic, or completely redesigning the window display; the impression created can bring romance back to your space. Don’t have a lot of window space. Let the designers at Ennco help you design a series of lit Face Frame Boxes to create a window look on one or more of your walls.

Trying something new or different often seems like a huge endeavor. Like most of us, it is easy to get into an established routine that we become comfortable with and the idea of change seems very daunting. The ideas presented here can be done in a series of small steps that can result in increased interest, appeal, and even romance for your space.

I encourage you to do something this month to change your space. Change your counter, window, or wall. Use one of the ideas from this post or contact the Ennco team to help you romanticize your optical space.