Vision Expo West 2019 was the last Vision Expo that I attended. So it’s serendipitous that my first flight, and first days away from home and my optical shop in 595 days, is to Vision Expo West.

I have been loyally taking the pilgrimage to Vision Expo West for as long as I can remember, because I feel it offers insights into what is next in eyewear and eyecare, which is an  integral part of my development and evolution as an Optician and as an independent practice owner. Each time I attend I am reinvigorated by the experience and return with a better outlook on what comes next. Naturally after 18 months of conducting business during a pandemic I need a little change of scenery and a restorative trip to VEW is just what the doctor ordered. 

The things I have been missing most over the past 18 months are the very things that Vision Expo always delivers in spades.

Connecting with peers

You’ve probably shared (or vented) your challenges and struggles being an eyecare professional during a pandemic. Social distancing and working from home doesn’t really mesh in our line of work. But do those you confide in actually relate? You better believe that no matter your role in the optical industry you are going to find lots of people at Vision Expo West that are right there with you.

Connection event on my agenda: OWA Connection Series Luncheon Thursday September 23rd 11:30am -1:30pm
EyeStyle Influences Brunch Friday September 24th 11:00am

Learning Business Tips from the Best

Vision Expo offers the opportunity to get inspired and learn from titans of industry, and not only in eyecare. It never fails that I leave Vision Expo feeling inspired. I always return to my Optical with tangible tactics to improve my skills as an Optician and grow my business with new exciting products.

Educational events on my agenda: Eyes On The Prize: Revolutionizing How You View AR Eyewear Virtual Try On – Presented by Perfect Corp @Innovation Stage Presentation Friday, Sep 24th  9:45 AM – 10:15 AM
EYE2EYE Series: Art of the Collab @The Seen Thurs, Sep 23rd 3:45 PM-4:15 PM

Hands on Selections

Seeing so many frames in one place has enormous value, and not simply for convenience. By viewing collections one after the other in just a few days, Vision Expo is the venue in which I have been able to identify upcoming trends. The colors, materials, shapes and styles that are likely to become a mainstream staple in the next 12-24 months. How I choose glasses for the shop has changed a lot during the pandemic. I have been much more conservative with inventory, stuck with vendors I have pre-existing relationships with, done more re-orders and purchased frames sight unseen, which I didn’t previously do. I am looking forward to returning to a hands-on selection that cannot be duplicated.

Frame selection events on my agenda: Appointments with Article One, Andy Wolf, Morel, Etnia Barcelona, OGI and Masunaga (so far)

I am hyper aware that we are still operating in a pandemic and I did plenty of research prior to making my trip arrangements. What I learned about the safeguards in place both at the venue of Vision Expo West and in the state of Nevada left me feeling secure about my decision to attend. 

Nevada has a statewide mask mandate for all interior spaces. Regardless of vaccination status all attendees will be required to wear a mask.
The Vision Expo show floor is an expansive location. Equal to the size of multiple football fields. This year the layout has been adjusted and exhibitors have capacity rules in place to ensure booths don’t get overcrowded. * This year more than ever before it is important to plan ahead and make appointments
Sanitizing and cleaning will be a focus by Vision Expo and vendors to ensure that attendee’s can touch and try on frames.

There is still time to book your flights and hotel and join me at VEW! 

Vision Expo West will commence on September 22rd and runs through Saturday September 25th, both in person and Virtually through VisionExpo+ and ShopVISION.

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