I didn’t give it much thought when I arrived at 20/20 years ago but as we get close, it’s hard not to connect with the fact that in just a few months, the whole year is going to borrow our brand name for 365 days.
So that synchronicity makes for an exciting time here at 20/20. We’re in the planning stages of numerous initiatives playing on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (… and I must note the little devil in me can’t wait for our fellow publishing contemporaries to start exclaiming how exciting 2020 is going to be!) but the gist here is this year rolls out for all of our readers in a time at once exciting, challenging and ripe with acknowledged opportunities, as well as hurdles just waiting to be reversed into opportunities.
Some of the challenges are now shockingly old hat but still ready for fresh solutions. Something on that order is the challenge of online retailing as it plays out for the dedicated brick-and-mortar opti-shop. Right up there with the digital-daze is the evolving health insurance and managed care domain offering sometimes mixed messages on the well-being of patients in search of solutions delivering the best there is on offer for great vision care.
Another potentially scary step moving into this new year is how the whole erratic tariff scenario will impact vendors, retailers AND consumers.
And one solution to the pricing and sourcing equation fascinating me intensely is the growing stance of manufacturers honestly embracing any and all levels of making eyewear products in America. Trust me when I state you are going to be seeing some remarkable USA-built initiatives VERY soon, and the handful of players here already (State/Europa, Randolph, Lowercase, Modo, Anthem, Dom Vetro, Thema, ArtCraft and Hilco just noting a few) is also growing and being greeted by an encouraging retail environment.
Whew! Big, hefty stuff on board for 20/20 to cover in 2020. But for me it all wraps up in the little details so here’s one that knocked me for a loop. The ever inventive and truly creative Tom Kramer came in to show us some of his new releases with Teka Eyewear debuting at Expo West. In the mix were a number of new frames from Teka’s Huveli collection with a replaceable hinge unit that hand inserts simply into the metal hinge chassis right on the temple. I played with taking the spring unit in and out endlessly as Tom clearly walked me through the simple process. Go see for yourself if you are at Expo. Tell Tom James sent you. And tell him he’s a true artist and a star. And… he will always shine as such throughout 2020, 20/20 and… beyond. Love. My. Gig.
• James J. Spina