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BUYER’S FORUM

A New Mexico State of Mind

BUYER’S FORUM

A New Mexico State of Mind

Santa Fe’s Ojo Optique embraces eyewear’s independent side

An eyewear display at Ojo Optique speaks to its Santa Fe location

Santa Fe is a place that plays by its own rules. The city is a beautiful adobe blend of history (founded in 1610, it’s the oldest capital in the United States) and art (from traditional Southwest style to the avant garde). Its people also play by their own rules—hippie types, outdoor adventurers, and retirees are all drawn to the relaxed attitude and artistic vibe that defines the area.

That’s the spirit that Ojo Optique taps into—one of true independence and complete imagination. In fact, “truly independent” is their motto, with a focus on handcrafted and small-batch production eyewear and sunwear. It’s all a labor of love for owners and brothers Adam and Jed Hoffberg who, along with Christopher Cain, opened the shop in 2013. They added another location in Albuquerque last year that embodies the same independent creed.

The brother act is far from neophyte when it comes to optical. Adam Hoffberg began his career as an optician in 1996 at Santa Fe’s Caroline Strange Opticians, which later became Optical Shop of Aspen (OSA). He worked at OSA for 15 years on both the retail and wholesale sides.

Jed Hoffberg has been an optician since 1999 and also worked for OSA, as well as Oliver Peoples’ flagship store on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Cain brings a wealth of business acumen to the table, including banking, advertising, and sales. He left a successful career in real estate when he partnered with Adam and Jed to open Ojo Optique.

Here, Adam Hoffberg delves into how the three go about selecting frames for their unique clientele and why Santa Fe is such an alluring city.

Natural materials play a large role in presenting the eyewear

Christopher Cain, left, and Adam Hoffberg

What’s your go-to strategy for curating a one-of-a-kind frame assortment?

First and foremost, we carry only independent brands. We look for interesting, unusual, and fresh eyewear designs.

Santa Fe is filled with fashion and culture—how does the city’s artistic vibe influence the eyewear collections you feature?

It’s such an artistic community. People here tend to like more interesting eyewear choices over the average black or tortoise. We go with a lot of color—yellow, red, or turquoise. We buy for our client; that’s the secret of our success. We try to purchase what the clientele in the area (whether it’s Santa Fe or Albuquerque) is going to respond to. It’s eyewear we feel passionate about. We don’t buy eyewear we like, but what our customer likes.

What are some of the über-cool trends happening in frames right now?

Big and acetate has been in for quite some time, and we’re still seeing some of that direction. However, things are starting to move back toward metal and moderately sized frames that are more Rx friendly.

There are a lot of new and exotic materials being used and new techniques such as 3D printing. [We are seeing] everything from smoked cork over stainless steel to titanium being 3D printed.

Which eyewear brands are your bestsellers?

Some of our bestselling lines include Anne et Valentin, l.a.Eyeworks, Theo, Barton Perreira, Caroline Abram, Salt, and Mykita.

How do you show off the frame collections in your boutiques?

We like to display the eyewear artistically. We only use natural materials to display frames. We’ll place frames on thick slices of tree trunk or twisted grapevine. We use twine balls that look like tumble weeds and river rocks.

Best business tip for new product buyers?

Don’t buy what everyone else is selling. Have a point of view. Buy different product. There are so many great lines out there.

—Jackie Micucci

Visiting Santa Fe?

Read our web exclusive, featuring Adam Hoffberg’s insider tips for things to see and places to experience.
VISIT eyecarebusiness.com/webexclusives.