INTERVIEW: Wim Somers
How was your company founded?
Patrick Hoet and myself were both opticians and we had our own store. Patrick in Bruges and myself in Antwerp. We decided to make eyewear for our own stores because we couldn't find what we were looking for. Eyewear then was quite mainstream and we wanted something else. in 1989, we launched a first collection under the name theo which was an anagram for Hoet. These models were ground breaking. With every following collection, it became increasingly easier to reach the consumer and other opticians! Apparently we were not the only opticians looking for something different!
Why are you a great company to work for?
Although we are just a small Belgian company we operate internationally. We don't work with distributors so we are in direct contact with our points of sale. We know each other well. It's nice to have so many good friends around the world! At the office everybody speaks multiple languages so we can help our customers in the best possible way so they feel at home. We are one big family and I think nowadays that's hard to find.
What are you most passionate about your company?
About eyewear of course! And how glasses can affect one's life. It's so important to find the right eyewear to feel comfortable and confident. You need to find glasses that express your personality, not determine it. And that's where we come in. There is a theo for everybody. You just need to find the right one. And that's why we don't sell online. Your optician is the ideal person to help you in making this choice, to provide you with the best possible lenses so you can also see better (that still the main point of wearing glasses, right), and to adjust the frame so it fits you perfectly. When you, the wearer, are happy, we have achieved our goal.
How should we explain your product to our clients?
Our eyewear is happy, fun, colourful and it comes with a little twist. We don't like eye catching branding but we stand out through design. When wearing theo, be sure you'll meet many new people. Your frame will broaden your world. It will become a conversation piece.
What's one thing you'd like to share with opticians?
Don't do what everybody else is doing. Don't try to have as much brands as possible. Only sell the one's you believe in. The customer has to believe you. Stay true to yourself.