Life in Spectacles Issue #3


To our newsletter! There are many of you out there who we only see once every few years. That isn’t enough for us and this is our way of informing you of what is happening within the practice and in our day to day lives, and maybe giving you some light entertainment in the process.


When we wrote our first newsletter last year, we had planned on writing one every two to three months. Unfortunately, due to us having a really busy time over the end of last year and the global situation at the beginning of this year, this newsletter has taken us a little longer to write and get to you. Some of you have even been into the shop to ask when the next newsletter will be ready as you miss reading it. Well here it is.

Firstly, I hope all of you have kept yourselves and you family safe over the past few months. It has been a tough and challenging time for us all, but the team here stayed in regular contact, constantly discussing guidelines and solutions both from the government and our regulatory bodies. After hours of discussions and sourcing the appropriate P.P.E, we are now back in the practice pretty much full time.

We’ve had to re-open with a high level of personal protective equipment and are making every endeavour to keep the shop as sterile an environment as we can. As you can imagine, with the nature of our work it is very difficult for us to remain distanced from our customers. Due to this we’ll be wearing gloves, an apron and a mask, sometimes with a face shield where needed if you come in to see us. We’ll also ask you to wear a face covering and gloves while in the practice. You can wear your own, but if you don’t have any, we’ll provide them for you.

Because of the new measures in place we’ve also had to reduce our capacity for appointments. Although we are allowed to now see patients for routine appointments, we are trying to prioritise those who are experiencing problems with their vision or wanting to purchase a new pair of spectacles for whatever reason. If you are wanting a routine only sight test please still feel free to call us and we can discuss available appointment opportunities.

Along with the P.P.E we’ve purchased, we’ve also purchased extra sanitising equipment. Please rest assured that every frame has been sanitised before you have tried it on. Also, we’re wiping all surfaces and seating down with alcohol wipes between each customer we see. Although some people may find this a little overkill, we want to make sure we are doing all we can to keep you all safe.

Finally, to ensure we can keep the environment as clean as possible we are operating on an appointment only system and as so are keeping the door locked to prevent the shop from being crowded. If you like to book an appointment to see us please call us on 01226 296 770. Please do not attend the practice to book an appointment as we may not be able to book you one at that time if we have another customer in the shop.



Quite often people who have come into our shop for the first time tell us that they are surprised by how passionate about our frames we are. When you think about it, we have a lot to be excited over as we are working with some of the best products in the world. Since the last newsletter, I’ve again been on the hunt for the latest eyewear styles, this time to France.

Every year Paris hosts one of the largest trade shows in the world, SILMO. After my taste of Milan’s eyewear show I knew what to expect, and I was truly on a mission this time. The brief was to find niche eyewear from the best independent manufacturers the world has to offer. I was looking for names that were not readily available to all, but also frames that would make you feel great when you next call in and try on something new.

Silmo, Paris, 2019

This sounds like an easy task, but when you are faced with 920 manufacturers, with a lot of those making multiple ranges it is anything but. I found flamboyant but not wearable styles, wearable styles but poor-quality products, and poor-quality that weren’t either flamboyant or wearable.

Eventually I stumbled across a little-known range called Rapp. As soon as I saw them, I knew these were what I had travelled all this way for. They are a small handmade range from Toronto, Canada. With no sales agents you can only view and purchase the range from three trade shows in the year, New York, Las Vegas, and Paris. This makes them one of the most exclusive products on the market with only 4 UK stockists (and we’ve just become number five).

Bold plastic with thick cut titanium sides, each frame is a real statement. I usually carefully consider the frames I stock for weeks or even months. This was, however, love at first sight and I placed an order for 25 frames there and then. “Great!” said they said, “We’ll be in touch when we have them ready for you.” This is the downside to dealing with small manufacturers producing handmade products in a world of instant gratification, but as the say, good things come to those who wait.

Elton John wearing Rapp on the front cover of Rolling Stone magazine


I also found a company called Spectacles for Humans from Italy who also have a range called Barbone. Their style is an ultra-cool, very bold plastic frame with simple colours. Blacks, tortoise shell, clear and a shade of green possibly best described as jade. All their frames are handmade with traditional pinned hinges (the way we feel acetate frames should be made). Their shapes are simple clean lines but look exquisite when tried on.




Dan also travelled to Munich in January, in temperatures as low as -9, just to try and secure one new collection for the practice, Theo. We believe it to be one of the best frame ranges ever created, full of wonderful design and amazing colours.

Munich hosts an annual trade show called Opti, which turned out to be the last show held before the pandemic. Unfortunately, Dan had a very specific aim for the weekend and didn’t get to see any of the city apart from the show and the hotel at the airport. He did however manage to lay the groundwork for us to be able to stock these magnificent frames.

In March the representative from Theo drove from Antwerp in Belgium all the way to Barnsley to meet us one Wednesday evening. He then proceeded to interview us for 45 minutes as to why he should let us stock his frames. At the end he said that he had been very surprised by us and he couldn’t wait for us to show off his collections. We couldn’t wait either.

Around 3 days before we were forced to close a large package arrived. We opened it to find the most delightful frames you could imagine, even better than we had remembered. The only problem was that we didn’t have the time to show anybody before we had to close.

Theo Outline

These are definitely some of the boldest and brightest frames to be brought to Barnsley. They are frames that are made to be noticed and admired from near or far. As the rep told us “We don’t just put glasses on faces, we put smiles on faces.” Despite being eye-catching, they are unbelievably wearable and comfy to go with it, the sign of great design work.

Since returning to the shop our customers have loved the Theo frames. People are finding it hard to just try one pair on, they need to try on another, then another. It becomes something of an addiction.

Theo Mille



One thing I have learnt in my 30 years in optics is that technology never stops moving forwards. The new technology also never fails amaze me, and I strive to keep ahead of the game when it comes to making accurate glasses. Around 6 years ago we installed two VisuReal towers. I’m sure most of you would have had the pleasure of having your photograph taken on it a one time or another. We’d sit you down with a big plastic attachment on our frames and ask you to look at a red light while we take a photo or two.

Well, the next generation is now here. Our smart mirror has arrived and been installed, and all you have to do is look into it. No clunky or clumsy attachment allowing your frames to sit where they would naturally as we take more measurements more accurately. It really is an industry leading technology.

Smart Mirror



We would like to say a huge thank to all of our customers. It is your continued support and recommendations to friends and family that enable our business to continue to thrive.  We would also like to welcome all the new customers who have joined us over the last few months. Getting to know new customers is always great fun and we look forward to your next visit. And a big thank you for all the great reviews on Facebook and google in the modern world this really does make a difference.

Please feel free to share this copy of Life in Spectacles with your friends and family.

Take care and see you all soon,

Philip Potter


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