Clapham Optical was started by my grandfather, Raymond, born out of frustrations he felt while working for another business. He had been working part-time for a local practice where he felt the owners had lost their way a little, where they no longer seemed fully committed to the business and the client experience was suffering as a result. So he started out on his own, with a desire to offer the local community something better.

50 years later Clapham Optical remains an independent company, going up against large corporations that dominate the industry. But I’m not daunted by this, as I truly believe our independence creates distinct benefits for our clients.

1. Client Focused

I believe we are more focused on our client’s individual needs than any large company ever can be. Large companies are more focused on high volume and financial targets, and while financial considerations are important - every pair of glasses we sell allows us to invest in the latest equipment, new stock, qualified and experienced team members and our client experience - they are not our main focus. Our personal approach to your eye care means we can fulfil all of your needs and delight you with fantastic eyewear and a great experience. If we do this, the financial side takes care of itself.

2. Unique Eyewear

You have probably noticed that most opticians stock the same, generic styles and ‘designer’ brands. Everything looks the same, the quality isn’t great and it’s hard to find anything that excites you. The reality is that most designer brands are made by just a handful of companies, taking mass-produced, generic styles and sticking on different logos (Prada, Ray-Ban, Chanel, Versace, Oakley, Ralph Lauren, Armani, D&G and Polo - all made by the same company!). A few years ago I realised that there had to be a better way, so we ditched the big brands and now work with niche, independent brands from around the world. The result is higher quality, greater variety and unique styles that you won’t find in many places.

3. Complete Accountability

Being independent means that everything that happens at Clapham Optical, ultimately, is my responsibility. The products we sell, the prices we charge, the look and feel of the practice are all decisions taken by me. Unlike large companies we are not tied to a head office and weighed down by internal pressure (I spent a year working for one of the big chains and was frustrated by targets to sell certain items that were more profitable or to shift excess stock - that’s not putting clients first). This makes us agile and adaptable, if something doesn’t work, it gets changed. If we take on a new range of frames that turn out to be below par, we get rid of them. It also means that if there is anything you aren’t completely satisfied with, you can get in touch with me personally (my email address is [email protected]).

Would life be easier being part of a big, franchised company? I’m sure it would, but it would mean turning my back on my heritage and no longer putting our clients needs first, two things I am unwilling to do. So here’s to the next 50 years of independence, long may it continue.


Owner, Optician & Stylist