Jeremy & Roberta
BAINES

Jeremy and Roberta, father and daughter, two minds and two souls. What’s it like to work together?

ROBERTA: It’s tough and it’s challenging and I think anyone that works in a family business can relate! … However, at the same time, it’s rewarding! We have the opportunity to experiment, and make mistakes, but at the end of the day, we are collaborating together to build a brand and create unique products.

How was the Tavat project born (where does the name ‘Tavat’ come from?) and what inspired you? Tell us your story and your background.

JEREMY: I could see a huge opportunity in the market to build a brand of excellence with independent opticians who shared our brand values. My experience as an optician has allowed me to understand the problem from the opticians point of view. Any good optician understands it’s all about customer experience, but the challenge is to communicate this important difference to potential clients who don’t know or understand the differences between one optician and another. After years of doing production, I know how difficult it is to create something new and original and more importantly, wearable at the same time. Norm’s brilliant approach to designing brought huge technical challenges but in the process allowed us to differentiate TAVAT from our competition and in turn help our clients do the same in their community. I came up with the name when I was 16, and I loved it, as it’s not only a palindrome but all the letters have straight lines, making it both visually pleasing with a very clean cut and memorable sound.

Does each of you have a specific role or is everything the result of your team work?

ROBERTA: For the most part everything we do is a result of team work, not only amongst us but also with our talented team, and it’s a conversation. Naturally, there are some things that we focus on individually but overall, we compliment one another. My father is more involved with the design and product development; whereas, I’m more involved in the sales and marketing.

What do you honestly think about the modern eyewear market?

JEREMY: I’m told off every time I tell people what I think about the eyewear market today. There are many fine companies doing terrific jobs creating beautiful eyewear with unbelievable quality. The problem is the market has been rubbished by chains and discounters which has left the independent optician in a very difficult position. This “mass-market” has convinced a lot of the consumers that the only thing which differentiates opticians are brands, price and discounts. Independent opticians frequently have thriving businesses and their clients know and appreciate the differences, but it’s hard to communicate these values about quality, choice and value to the consumer who doesn’t know. That’s the mission of a brand, as well as an independent optician, to help educate the consumer.

See the LYF hard copy for the full interview.

John JUNIPER
Jeff SOLORIO

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