Fast Woman
Bollé has teamed up with one fast woman. Fast-pitch softball star Jennie Finch has signed a one-year sponsorship agreement with Bollé to exclusively wear the brand’s eyewear. A member of the 2004 USA Softball team, Finch will be incorporated into the company’s advertising and promotions.

Finch, who will be seen on the world’s stage when she competes in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece this summer will wear Bollé styles that are a perfect fit for softball players at any level. Offered in eight frame styles, the sunglasses come equipped with Competivision, a patented lens that mutes all colors in the spectrum except optic yellow, allowing the yellow-colored softball to stand out.

Finch began playing softball when she was just eight years old and has climbed the ranks to become recognized as one of the best women’s softball players in recent history. At the University of Arizona she holds the NCAA record for 60 consecutive wins and was 32-0 when she and her team won the NCAA Women’s College World Series in 2001. Finch is also a three-time first-team All American and her jersey was retired last year by the University of Arizona.

Her athletic accomplishments led to her selection as the star pitcher of the USA Softball Women’s National Team. But her appeal transcends the softball field. Finch was recently named one of the “hottest female athletes” by ESPN Viewers’ Poll and she is the first-ever female co-host of Fox’s “This Week
in Baseball.” —Jackie Micucci
Custom Cruise
Tom Cruise wants to be just like the astronauts. No, he’s not the new poster boy for Tang. Cruise has fallen hard for the Silhouette eyewear styles made for the NASA astronauts and is now the proud owner of his own customized pair.

Back in October, Silhouette caught the superstar’s curiosity after he heard about the light weight, screw less and hinge less frames it makes for the astronauts. So the actor’s office contacted Silhouette about a personal fitting for his upcoming film “Collateral.” (Cruise plays a contract killer who takes a cab driver hostage to make his rounds from hit to hit.)

During the fitting Cruise expressed
a desire for a custom piece made by
combining Silhouette’s Titan Minimal Art Collection with Minimal X lenses. Cruise got his wish fulfilled when multiple pairs were crafted at the Silhouette labs expressly for the Oscar winning actor.
With the filming of “Collateral” wrapped—it opens in theaters in August—Cruise has taken to wearing the frames in his personal life. He has been spotted sporting the eyewear on the red carpet at the Independent Spirit Awards (pictured) and on the pages of People while location scouting for his next film “Mission Impossible III.” Guess you’d call that a mission accomplished.      —JM

Glasses at Glass
Celebrities and socialites came out to fete the Alain Mikli brand recently at a party held at the hot new Manhattan nightclub Glass. Fashionista Carson Kressley of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” plays it cool in Mikli M0214 (inset left). Chris Beckman from MTV’s “The Real World: Chicago” gives Mikli’s Michelle Davidson a big hug (inset right). Even the “superheroes” were decked out in Mikli. Here the Phantom in Mikli M0341 and Catwoman in M0340. —JM

It was a day off for the betterment of the community. CIBA Vision associates joined employees from parent company Novartis in taking a day off from work to volunteer their time and energy to better their communities as part of the company’s eighth annual Community Partnership Day (CPD). This year in the Atlanta area, employees helped out at such places and organizations as local elementary schools, the YMCA, Sheltering Arms, the Center for the Visually Impaired, Duluth Parks & Recreation, the Chattahoochee Nature Center, elder care facilities, the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter and animal shelters.

“Community Partnership Day is always a very enriching experience for our associates,” notes Antoine Tirard, global head of human resources. “It’s great to see everyone take time out of their busy schedules to make a difference in the community.” —JM
Rock ‘n 18 holes. Ray-Ban was a sponsor of VH1’s “Fairway to Heaven” golf fundraiser in Palm Beach,  Fla. benefiting VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, a non-profit group that restores music education in America’s public schools. Sporting the Luxottica brand: golf fanatic 1. Alice Cooper in Ray-Ban style RB 3213 and 2. Brett Michaels of Poison in RB 3186… In order. 3. Angie Harmon of TV’s long-running hit “Law & Order” wears Silhouette’s Titan Minimal Art frosted shield in papaya, color 6103, during Los Angeles’ Fashion Week… Walk on by. WWE champion wrestler turned actor 4. The Rock (a.k.a Dwayne Johnson) in Dior homme 0007/s from Sàfilo in his latest movie “Walking Tall.” The Rock, who appeared in “The Scorpion King” and is set to appear in “Spy Hunter” in 2005, loved the Dior style so much he sported them during “The Walking Tall” press tour… The Donald. Real estate mogul and the newest reality TV star 5. Donald Trump of NBC’s “The Apprentice” wears Flexon style 607 from Marchon… Get funky. Singer 6. Anastacia belts out a tune in her titanium Christian Roth frames style CR14229 OR from CXD/Charmant Exclusive Division during a recent live performance… Mystical. Wondering what shades 7. Laurence Fishburne was wearing in the Academy Award nominated best film “Mystic River”? The actor sports his custom MOMO design 7500 from Neostyle throughout the movie… Shake that thing. Reggae/R&B artist 8. Sean Paul in Revolution Eyewear’s Sun Res 804 in cocoa… Sitting pretty. 9. Natasha Wagner, daughter of actors Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, wears Beausoleil style 18… Visiting hours. Actor 10. Kyle MacLachlan recently paid a visit to the folks at Edward Beiner Lunettes. A customer at the Miami store, the “Sex and the City” star wears Edward Beiner 512 in gun metal… The right Duff. 11. Hilary and 12. Hailey Duff have the right stuff in their Oliver Peoples Athena frames… At the movies. 13. Brad Pitt wears the Diesel 55 DSL Cabretti/s from Sàfilo on the set of his new movie, which is currently in production, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” co-starring Angelina Jolie… Future hall of famer. Singer 14. Lenny Kravitz wears Christian Roth style CR14205 from CXD/Charmant Exclusive Division at his arrival to the 19th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. —JM

Connect With KNECT
Looking to keep the excitement of the KNECT Eyewear collection glowing from its debut at Expo East A&A Optical hosted a special launch party for 1st Eye Care members and associates in Dallas/Fort Worth. Genuine Texas barbecue was the fare for the evening, but KNECT eyewear stole the spotlight with its unique color story and patented interchangeable temple system. “The ease of use and broad array of colors are exciting in such a moderately priced product,” says launch attendee Eric Ball, OD. All agreed including our pictured party players Pam Bishop, K. Nesbitt and Deb Black of 1st Eye Care joined by A&A’s Robert Liener and Steven Reynolds. Anyone looking for more info on KNECT should connect at
www.sceatsknect.com, which also links to the A&A web site. —James J. Spina


Practice Makes Perfect — Eyefinity is debuting Practice Trends, a new online survey-based service designed to allow ECPs to make business comparisons with other U.S. practices. Participants can anonymously take up to five annual surveys about a variety of industry categories, including finance and operations, staff management, marketing, customer care and product management. One annual survey will offer a financial baseline of data elements that impact an office’s profitability. Each Practice Trends survey will be created and reviewed by an advisory panel of ECPs. Spectera will also prominently incorporate the Check Yearly materials into its United Optical stores and will have company-owned Crown Optical Laboratories include a Check Yearly eyeglass-case insert card with each prescription filled by the lab. Detailed reports will be generated so participants can compare business operations with other practices. Eyefinity customers can preview and register for the new service—which costs $189 annually—via the eLearn area at www.eyefinity.com.  —JJS

promo primer

Summer’s Cool — Lancer International, a division of the Kenmark Group, is bracing for a premium summer. Customers can now earn free gifts with every purchase of frames from Hush Puppies Eyewear, Timex Optical Eyewear, Thalia Eyewear, Celine Dion Eyes, Wolverine Eyewear for Men and CWBliss.

Each gift item in the premium program is free with a minimum purchase requirement. Gifts include a Hush Puppies beach towel, rolling Cooler, tote bag, golf balls and polo shirts. Watches, clocks and radios are available from Timex. There are also Kenmark logoed tumblers and pen sets. Check it all out while cruising the new web site offering convenient online ordering at www.kenmarkoptical.com.

Hana Made — Get ready for a precious treasure hunt of excitement as the Sans Pareil Hana Collection delivers an extensive array of point-of-purchase marketing materials built on the design concept of the collection. Keynotes include luscious pearlescent hues, soft satins, iridescent shells, delicate rice paper and shimmering beads that make for eye-catching consumer connections.

There is an elegant jeweler’s dispensing mat, luxurious jewelry display case, natural sea shell with pearlescent beads, easels and signature plaque, frosted acrylic cube frame display, a unique silver abalone display shell, a classic jewelry pouch, consumer brochure and beautiful semi-precious natural stone jewelry. All pieces are intended to reinforce both the name and essence of Hana.

The natural seashell and glistening pearlescent beads provide an accent to the Hana display. Place it on its back and let the shell hold the pearl beads. Let a pair of frames rest on the beads or flip it over and showcase the frames on its iridescent back. Use the beads as accents around the shell to add interest. The silver abalone display shell takes the display to the next level. Hana also offers a stunning selection of semi-precious stone jewelry that can be incorporated into the optical display. Optical retailers can purchase these pieces of jewelry for in-store display or offer it to their customers. Sans Pareil president Steve Lipawsky notes, “The Hana Collection is in a class by itself. Our exciting new design concept and unique approach to this point-of-purchase program truly brings eyewear into the fashion accessories market and elevates it to the level of fine jewelry.” Call (800) 521-9475.  —JJS
The Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) recently presented its Presidential Medal of Honor to William G. Allyn at his home in Naples, Fla. The Presidential Medal of Honor is bestowed upon those individuals who demonstrate excellence in making a contribution to education and patient care activities related to optometry and vision care.

Allyn is the son of the founder of Welch Allyn, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of frontline medical products. He became president of Welch Allyn in 1947 and served in that capacity until 1971 when he became chairman until 1977. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he received his optometry degree from the University of Rochester in 1934.

Allyn played a pivotal role in developing Welch Allyn’s ocular equipment and through his leadership, the company has remained a leading manufacturer of the ophthalmoscope, a medical device that examines the interior part of the eye. Even at 96, he can be seen walking the halls of Welch Allyn’s headquarters in Skaneateles Falls, N.Y. during the summer months. —JM

lens marketing

Partnershiping — Essilor Lenses has expanded its branding program with Satis Vacuum of America, Inc., enabling Satis lab customers to now license RF Endura as well as Reflection Free NP technology directly from Essilor. RF Endura combines AR performance with an in-lab applied back-side hard coat for improved scratch resistance and durability.

In an effort to provide laboratories with the best resources for growing their AR business, Satis has assigned the rights to the Endura brand name to Essilor. By licensing the RF Endura brand, laboratories will have access to all Essilor Reflection Free brands and product enhancements, including a new hydrophobic topcoat soon to be introduced for RF Endura lenses.

Sail Item — Diane Nielsen, OD, of Meriden, Conn. won a Hobie catamaran and trailer by participating in Essilor’s Vision Paradise Raffle during International Vision Expo East. 

20/20 Notes 20 — Twenty years ago, Optima opened its doors determined to fill a void in the optical industry. Founder Nick Niejelow had a vision to use technology to revolutionize eyewear for the millions of people wearing thick, heavy eyeglasses. While working with frames and plastic lenses, he came to realize that plastics held the key to radical improvements in lenses, and so his mission began. In just a few years, in a joint partnership with Asahi the fruits of Optima’s R&D efforts were realized with the introduction of the first 1.60 finished lenses. The lenses called HyperIndex 1.60 set a new standard with their 1.3mm center thickness.

A year later Optima introduced a scratch-resistant coating for its 1.60 lens. Soon to follow was the first 1.60 flat top bifocal. In 1990 the company introduced the first factory-applied hyrdrophobic AR coating to the finished lens and the first finished minus aspheric design on a 1.60. This was followed by the HyperIndex 1.66 with a 1.0 center thickness in 1992.

Optima is now developing an AR coating that promises equal impact. The company will soon be doubling its polycarbonate lens manufacturing capabilities a new plant in the near future.

Partnershiping Too — SOLA and Transitions Optical, Inc. have announced, “All You Need is One” as a national promotion featuring SOLAOne progressives and Transitions lenses. “All You Need is One” runs through December 31. ECPs receive a game ticket with every pair of SOLAOne progressive lenses, either with Transitions or clear, ordered. Every ticket is worth cash and provides a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000.

Four AR Anew — The AR Council has added four new members: Diversified Ophthalmics, Cincinnati; Lens-Coat, North Little Rock, Ark.; the Pentax division of Seiko Optical Products of America, Hopkins, Minn.; and Signet Armorlite, San Marcos, Calif.

Specialty Landing — Polaroid Eyewear has entered into a licensing agreement with Specialty Lens Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Essilor of America, for Polaroid branded Rx lenses for the Americas. The agreement offers Specialty Lens the use of the Polaroid brand to expand its product offerings and support its advanced polarized lens technology.

Market research surveys conducted throughout the U.S. confirm that general Polaroid brand awareness ranges from 86 percent to as high as 95 percent among consumers, according to Polaroid. —Andrew Karp

Future Eyes
With an eye to the future, 19 graduating students from New York’s Fashion Insti-tute of Technology (F.I.T.) took on the task of creating eyewear designs. The EyeStyle Vision Awards, first introduced last year by the Vision Council of America (VCA) at Vision Expo East, was created to encourage the future of eyewear design in America.

This year’s winner is Javiar Zamora who took home the top prize of $2,500 for his innovative creations. Two runners up were also selected: Mana Matsuzaki and Hui-Ying Gina Chen. The students were judged on their use of materials, creativity, marketability, innovation, presentation and professionalism.

VCA members can check out the students’ designs (57 in total) on the VCA web site at
www.visionsite.org. —JM

Indispensable Dispensing Tool
Notice that your rimless biz is heating up? Looking to expand that limitless rimless horizon? Well, here’s a priceless sales tool that you might want to store along with our May issue of 20/20, which delivered all the goods on the latest rimless frame styles. We’re hyping “Fearless Rimless—A Guide to Rimless Glasses” by Breitfeld & Schliekert. This 24-page full-color guide provides opticians with step-by-step instructions, handy working tips and suggested tools for rimless applications. In clear and concise language (and equally impressive photography and graphics) this guide delivers every facet of the rimless phenomenon.

“At Breitfeld & Schliekert we know rimless and we also know that more and more consumers are demanding rimless frames. Because of this, we wanted to give our customers a tool they can use to help them become experts with rimless applications,” says Thomas Pfleging, vice president, Breitfeld & Schliekert. ECPs can order a guide by calling (888) 429-5779 or visiting
www.sight-tools.com; but hurry since supplies are limited. —JJS