Article

A Walk in the Park

Easy ways to keep kids--and their parents--happy with great frames

A Walk in the Park
Easy ways to keep kids--and their parents--happy with great frames
By Marcy Bruch

Photography by Daria Amato
Styling by Memsor Kamarake
Hair and Make-up By Joe Murray
Models: Eric Bolsch, Ismael Peter Casillas III, Regina LoBiondo, Nia Scriven for Gilla Roos
Special thanks to Van Saun County Park and Bergen County Carousel, Paramus, N.J.

Merry Go Round:
Regina rides in Nautica Kids style N9503 for Marchon. Shirt by Gap; jeans by Baby Phat

The hunt for a kid's frame that appeals to both parent and child alike can be daunting. What's more, if parents discover their child needs to wear glasses for the first time, the emotional weight of the moment can be heavy. So it's often up to the optician to lighten things up by turning the decision-making process into an adventure that's fun for everyone.

Many find that kids get excited when you offer them something in a recognizable brand--and, if the frame is in their favorite color, so much the better. Of course, since parents are paying for the frames, style, fit, and durability also come into play. Here follows how a few dispensers navigate parents and their kids toward a frame that fits the bill on every level.

LIFTING MOODS

There are a few ways Edith Livelo, owner of Live Optics in Burlingame, Calif., has found to turn the mood around when parents and their kids come in looking for glasses the first go round. "I tell them the bad news is you have to wear glasses. The good news is you get to wear something that will make you look cool."

Where The Wild Things Are:
Peter prowls in National Kids style Micky for Marcolin. Shirt by Tommy Hilfiger

With 80 percent of her frame boards comprised of kids' frames--about 400 frames from nearly 20 children's collections--Livelo directs kids towards boards that have brand names she knows a child will identify with. "Children under six get excited when they see a brand that relates to their favorite TV show or toy, while children eight and up will gravitate more toward the designer brands," she notes. Parents get excited during the decision-making process when she shows them how much more fashion-forward children's eyewear is than it was during their childhoods.

"Even in character-licensed frames, styles are more sophisticated with logos integrated subtly at the temple, creating a whimsical accent that nods toward artsy, high-end adult frames," she says. "In fact, many frames look like small versions of what parents wear, with the exception of brighter color."

ROMANCING COLOR

When dealing with first-time patients, getting the parents and their kids involved and excited about the prospects in frame fashions is key. "It's important to give children some kind of input in the choice because otherwise they won't wear their glasses," says Paul Mastrorocco, president of Brookhaven Opticians with locations in Smithtown, Patchoque, and Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.

Intrepid Exploration:
Eric tracks down fun in Converse style Hocus Pocus for Rem Eyewear. Shirt by Tommy Hilfiger

One of the best ways to do that is by asking them to pick a frame in their favorite color. Creating the right color palette for your young customers involves utilizing the homework frame manufacturers have already done in researching what these best-selling colors are and having faith that's the colors that will sell. "Frame manufacturers actually have focus groups where they ask children to pick the colors they like best. They create a color palette for a new frame collection based solely on what the majority of kids have picked," Mastrorocco explains.

Which begs the question: What are kids' favorite colors in frame styles? Here's what those dispensers interviewed said: You can never have enough children's frames in blue. "Blue is my number-one color among both sexes, with boys preferring darker navy and denim blues and girls choosing brighter and cooler hues," says Penny Lazzarine, an optician for Signature Optical in Beachwood, Ohio.

The second most popular color with girls is purple in all its many variations, from deep grape to pale lilac. Girls rank pink in all its shaded variations as number three, and tortoise at number four.

Girls' Day Out:
Relaxing in Pups style P547 for Lancer International (a division of the Kenmark Group), on Nia, left. Shirt and skirt by Rocowear. On Regina, right, Lafont Kids style Itov 161. Denim jumper by Tommy Hilfiger

Boys take a decidedly more neutral turn, with pewters and brushed silvers coming in second, and tortoise and black following behind. Ranking in the number-five position among both boys and girls is green, with boys going for the darker end of the color spectrum and girls preferring softer, pastel shades.

PLASTICS PICK UP

When it comes to what kids and their parents are selecting in frame materials, plastics have picked up over the past year. "A year ago I had about 80 percent metal and 20 percent plastic frames within my children's assortment. Now I have about 70 percent metal and 30 percent plastic," says Lazzarine who has increased her plastic stock.

In terms of best-selling frame shapes among kids, dispensers say ovals now play second fiddle to angular frames such as rectangles, angled muffin-shapes, and even softened diamond shapes. "Any frame with an angle is what sells best here," says Sherry Caron, an optician for Total Eye Care in Colleyville, Texas. "And I think these more angled shapes are generally more flattering on kids anyway."

Kings Of The Mountain:
On Eric, left, Polo Ralph Lauren style Polo-Prep 330. Shirt by Gap; pants by Tommy Hilfiger. On Peter, right, Sferoflex 2832 for Luxottica. Shirt and jeans by Tommy Hilfiger

DURABILITY AND FIT

Style, color, and shape aside, since kids will be kids and parents have to pay anywhere from $115 to $160 for junior's glasses, you can bet mom and dad want to be sure frames are going to withstand daily wear and tear.

"I cannot stress how important it is to explain to parents that spring hinges and memory metal can increase the lifespan of their child's frame," says Mastrorocco. "And don't forget to mention the frame's warranty policy, which can pretty much clinch the sale."

Even if finding a frame with the right style, shape, color, fit, and durability seems like a tall order, the good news is there's plenty of product to choose from, so both kids and their parents will find the adventure of frame buying a journey well worth taking.

 

COOL COLORS

Here follows the best-selling frame colors among kids according to those interviewed.

Favorite Colors for Boys

1. Blue, in shades of navy, denim, and darker, muted hues

2. Pewter or brushed silver

3. Tortoise with matte finish and less variations of color

4. Black softened with shine so it's not too dark

5. Green that's deeper and muted

Favorite Colors for Girls

1. Blue in brighter shades such as electric and royal blue

2. Anything in the purple family, ranging from deep grape to
periwinkle and lilac

3. Anything in the pink family, ranging from raspberry to rose

4. Tortoise, often with a shiny finish and more variations of color with color accents such
as rose

5. Greens such as mint or turquoise hues