Tareq Moustafa

Member Article

Seen Opticians educating on great eyewear

Manchester’s Seen Opticians has been helping the people of Manchester to find their perfect eyewear since 2005. The shop that specialises in high-end superior and original frames and sunglasses has been ticking away under the radar for 11 years and has just launched a new website that allows shoppers to purchase these independent designer frames online.

Owned by Chorlton resident Tareq Moustafa, the store is based in St Ann’s Arcade, employs two full-time and three part-time staff and has an annual turnover of £700,000. As well as some very unique and exclusive brands, Seen were the first stockist of eyewear designer brand Garrett Leight in the UK, considered the hottest eyewear brand in the world right now.

Tareq was inspired to set up Seen after returning from Australia where he worked as an optician. “From day one I wanted Seen to be different, to focus on customer service and sell products from independent brands from across the world,” he explains. “It’s always been my goal to educate the people of Manchester that they don’t have to settle just for the eyewear from big brands. At first it was tough, people were attuned to buying clothing or footwear made by independents, but not frames. But gradually they began to find us. After the recession hit, people started to value the things they were buying—there was more appreciation for quality, design and individual style. That was really good for us, as Seen clearly stands for these qualities.”

Over a decade later and business is booming Tareq and his team have developed a unique knack of helping customers choose the right eyewear. He’s helped reprogramme shoppers’ brains in the way they buy glasses. “In Scandinavia, France, and Germany eyewear is a big fashion accessory. It’s used to express your individual character. In these countries buying new glasses is a like a family day out – it’s something really important. In the UK, many shoppers buy a pair of glasses in a rushed and unconsidered manner, so we encourage them to take their time. I think people still perceive eyewear, as a bit of a commodity – they need them so they just buy whatever they’re shown. That’s most peoples’ experience of going to an optician; to them it’s like filling your car with petrol. But thankfully things are changing and that’s down to a number of independent stores selling good glasses and offering great customer service.”

As well as helping Manchester find the right eyewear, Seen is committed to helping shoppers realise that glasses are another way of expressing their personality. “The number of people who come into the store and their lives change for the better because they’ve found a nice pair of glasses is amazing. Maybe they meet a guy or girl or just start to feel really good about themselves. Glasses can make a big difference to a persons’ confidence.

They can become your trademark, not just an ugly inconvenience that helps you see better. Aside from that our great service and fab frames, I think the store looks pretty cool too, so that attracts folks to pop in,“ he grins.

Tareq has handcrafted a small-dedicated team that he’s extremely proud of.

“I’ve made sure that they know how to make people feel comfortable and how to put people at ease. Erika Nagy is a particularly popular member of staff. She’s a really stylish girl, which wasn’t portrayed in her old job, where she had to wear a uniform and her hair in a certain way. Then all of a sudden she comes into an environment where she’s actively encouraged to show her personality more; she’s flourished and now has a fan base of clients that love to see her for their new eyewear styling. Style and individuality is at the heart of what Seen is about.”

Seen’s new website launched in April 2016, offering a wide range of frames from Garrett Leight. They’ll be adding more high-end eyewear over the coming weeks, including from German designer Mykita, known internationally for its hand-assembled prescription frames and sunglasses.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Scribble .

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