Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Triangle area, Raleigh-Durham, NC. I spent time in Orlando, came back to North Carolina for college and for optometry school I went to Pennsylvania School of Optometry in Philadelphia. I was pretty much up and down the east coast. My father was a project manager for a construction company, and my mother is into leasing luxury apartments in the Triangle area.
Do millennials see optometry differently than their older colleagues?
Absolutely. You can see the profession changing appearance-wise—there are definitely more women in the profession as well as more minorities. When my older colleagues graduated, there was no social media, so its presence has changed the game. It is truly a night-and-day difference from social media to contact lenses to even eyewear design. You’re seeing a little bit of everything change and evolve in a better direction.
What something your colleagues don’t know about you?
A lot of folks do not know that my mother is from Liberia—I’m part Liberian and American. Another fun fact is that I was born in Detroit, MI. I don’t know anything about it because I was raised in the Triangle area of North Carolina. I’m truly a Southern guy.
Why luxury eyewear sunglasses, and why rely solely on social media to sell them?
I’m a man of luxury—I like nice things, that’s why I work so hard. And I love quality. I started blogging about eyewear years ago, and it evolved from what was in my office to independent designers who we didn’t sell. I’m talking about independent eyewear designers such as RVS Eyewear, Jeremy Tarian, and Oliver Goldsmith. I’m talking about eyewear that people hand make; there are limited editions not everyone has access to. Millennials spend a lot of time on social media, so that’s the best way to dialogue with them. I’ll post a picture of a product that I potentially want to have on my store. If folks like the picture and I get direct messaging saying, “I want to buy this product” from X number of folks, then I know it’s something I need to do.