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Thread: Meet the Montreal optician on a radical mission to make glasses affordable ..........

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    Redhot Jumper Meet the Montreal optician on a radical mission to make glasses affordable ..........

    CBC Radio THE SUNDAY EDITION


    Meet the Montreal optician on a radical mission to make glasses affordable for everyone

    CBC Radio · July 19, 2017

    Phillippe Rochette worked at upscale eyeglasses shops in downtown Montreal, but he hated sweet-talking customers into paying more for glasses than they could afford. (Le Bonhomme à lunettes/Facebook )

    PhilippeRochette is a Montrealoptician on a radical mission.
    While a pair of glasses in astylish shop can easily cost you more than $1,000, Rochette sells his for$100 or $200.
    But for customers who cannotafford that much, he will sell prescription glasses — frame and lenses — for$20. Or give them away for free.
    Sunday Edition producerDavid Gutnick's documentary is called "Two Sticks and Two Circles."

    Crisis of conscience

    When Philippe Rochette graduated from optician school, he had no trouble finding a job in an upscale shop in downtown Montreal.
    Frames branded Ray-ban, Oliver Peoples, Prada, Luxor, Chanel, Prada, Armani and Versace were his bread and butter. He was making more money than he'd ever imagined, but something didn't feel right.

    Rochette's politics lean to the left, and he was sweet-talking people into spending piles of money on bits of wire and plastic and a couple of screws.

    Eventually, he hit a wall and quit his job. He couldn't live with himself.

    He loved the job. He just hated the industry.
    So Rochette decided to re-invent it. He founded a company called Le Bonhomme à lunettes — "the glasses guy."
    Glasses are not a luxury. Seeing clearly is a necessity. My mission is to make glasses affordable to everyone. How do I do that? It's actually pretty simple. When you buy glasses from me, here's what you are NOT paying for: head office space, a huge ad on a billboard along the highway or a 'prestigious' name on the frame. You don't pay for those things simply because I don't have any of them. I trust word-of-mouth and the dynamism and loyalty of community organizers.- Philippe Rochette , The Bonhomme's Manifesto
    In the homemade video on Rochette's website, he's dressed up in a loose white smock, a crazy grey wig and a giant moustache.

    "Our prescription lenses are the same as those sold in all the shops, at less than half the price," Rochette says.


    Continue reading at:
    https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayed...yone-1.4005488
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Redhot Jumper Quality affordable glasses for all.......................................

    QUALITY
    AFFORDABLE GLASSES
    FOR ALL




    e Bonhomme à lunettes, aka Philippe Rochette, is a nomadic optician working with community organizations in the Greater Montreal area and Montéregie with a great choice of affordable glasses with all the options, for men, women and kids. Honesty, simplicity and solidarity are the keys to understanding our philosophy. Possibility of $20 glasses for welfare recipients. (see how it works)*

    WHAT SHOULD
    I DO?


    Think of the optician as the pharmacist for glasses. Come see us with your optometrist’s prescription (any will do). With your health card, the exam is free for everybody under 18 and over 65 as well as the vast majority of welfare recipients. The article 40 of their professionnal code forces them to give you the prescription on the spot. You are not even supposed to ask for it. If you do not fit these criteria, it’s usually around 50$ and it is covered by your work insurance. To recap : 1- Eye exam from the optometrist; 2- come see with your prescription (and your welfare form if applicable); 3- choose your glasses; 4- fast delivery with a solid warranty.*Important : We only accept cash as payment.

    14 OPTICIANS
    IN 54 ORGANIZATIONS


    We are now 14 opticians on the road and 54 community organizations devoted to serving you in the Greater Montreal area, Laval, Ouataouais, Laurentians, Lanaudière and Monteregie. Schedule may change weekly, look carefully.



    See all of it:
    http://www.bonhommealunettes.org/english/#home
    Last edited by Chris Ryser; 11-08-2018 at 12:47 AM.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    "I said that if you come to our place, you do not need to pay for my condo in Florida because I don't have one," says Rochette. "You don't need to pay for flashy decorations, 'cause my office is in my apartment."

    >>>I bet his overhead is less than those downtown retail spaces.

    "Philippe Rochette is a Montreal optician on a radical mission.

    While a pair of glasses in a stylish shop can easily cost you more than $1,000, Rochette sells his for $100 or $200."


    >>>Radical? How far behind the times is Montreal? But I see that article is from July 2017. He probably has that condo in Florida by now. Good for him!

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    Redhot Jumper >>>Radical? How far behind the times is Montreal? ....................

    Quote Originally Posted by pknsbeans View Post

    >>>I bet his overhead is less than those downtown retail spaces.

    "Philippe Rochette is a Montreal optician on a radical mission.

    >>>Radical? How far behind the times is Montreal? But I see that article is from July 2017. He probably has that condo in Florida by now. Good for him!

    ...................and he buy*s his frames directly in China which everybody else could do, so why is Montreal behind times ?


    ..........and here is the link of his source

    https://www.alibaba.com/trade/search...yeglass+frames
    Chris Ryser
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    Blue Jumper Now that the cat is out of the bag, due to internet advertising on well known........

    Quote Originally Posted by [COLOR=#3E3E3E
    Philippe Rochette[/COLOR]]

    Glasses are not a luxury. Seeing clearly is a necessity. My mission is to make glasses affordable to everyone. How do I do that? It's actually pretty simple. When you buy glasses from me, here's what you are NOT paying for: head office space, a huge ad on a billboard along the highway or a 'prestigious' name on the frame.

    What he does not say is ..............................

    ............that he also does not purchase from regular frame wholesalers and importers, that now charge multiple gross profits, compared some 25 years ago, for many reasons.

    Now that the cat is out of the bag, due to internet advertising on well known daily newspapers, from Europe to America were the ads pop up on the right side of the stories, one of Asia largest websites Alibaba.com, is advertising from tea to cars and among everything else, hundreds of frame manufacturers with pictures, and full descriptions of optical frames with minimum quantities and pricing from the hundreds to one single frame and every detail possible.

    The internet address is at the bottom of above post and gets right into optical frames and their details.
    Chris Ryser
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    I don't know how to link to a different thread, so please excuse me, Chris.

    Me, almost exactly a year ago, from your thread "How the Warby Parker started ...................................................."

    : "(Alibaba frame + stock uncut + sizeable markup - ANY customer service) < WP price.

    They are admitting that $45 was enough to make money, but not enough to grow business at whatever rate they'd like. By knowing how much factory direct materials are, doesn't WP has a much higher rate of markup than most independents?

    The lesson I take from WP and frame companies that sell online for barely my cost is to OWN a line of house brand frames. They may not have a horse and carriage, a playing card suit, or an obnoxious vowel on them, but it brings back "value" to the customer."

    Ordering direct from Chinese manufacturers is not new. But, now so can the consumer. So that puts him out, along with the rest of us schmucks, apparently.

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    Redhot Jumper their website pops up on just about anywhere ......................

    Quote Originally Posted by pknsbeans View Post

    Ordering direct from Chinese manufacturers is not new. But, now so can the consumer. So that puts him out, along with the rest of us schmucks, apparently.

    You just said it .........................

    However they must have spent some money because their website pops up on just about anywhere you have some advertising space, on a high ranking website.

    It is the consumer that now, will know what the real value is on frames and lenses at the manufacturers level.

    That puts the optical retail pricing into the limelight for starters.

    Online optical s............and all the talk about them making no money, at the prices they sell without any services rendered.

    In my opinion it is another shot at the conventional retailer that will hurt.
    Last edited by Chris Ryser; 11-11-2018 at 03:56 AM.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Redhot Jumper he lesson I take from WP ...........................

    Quote Originally Posted by pknsbeans View Post

    They are admitting that $45 was enough to make money, but not enough to grow business at whatever rate they'd like. By knowing how much factory direct materials are, doesn't WP has a much higher rate of markup than most independents?

    The lesson I take from WP and frame companies that sell online for barely my cost is to OWN a line of house brand frames. They may not have a horse and carriage, a playing card suit, or an obnoxious vowel on them, but it brings back "value" to the customer."

    Ordering direct from Chinese manufacturers is not new. But, now so can the consumer. So that puts him out, along with the rest of us schmucks, apparently.

    If WP makes $45 per frame and sells 1,000 pairs a day and is equipped to supply them, that equals $ 45,000 x 30 = $ 1,350,000 per month of gross profit.

    Any brand name can be put on frames by the manufacturer, probably for a few cents more, and some more time for the delivery.

    To register a brand name is no big deal, and no major cost. Talk to a patent lawyer.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Ghost in the OptiMachine OptiBoard Silver Supporter Quince's Avatar
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    Interesting article. He is doing something for the community that is well needed. My confusion is this: with what money is he buying bulk frames? He must have made a literal fortune to be just giving away glasses. Kudos to him, but I'd like to know his retirement plans.

    The other thing I wasn't thrilled to see was that he had no regard for why certain things cost more. Sure SOME companies are just in it to make money, but he has to understand that some items cost more because of more than a brand name. He didn't address at all that there are grades of quality. Just because he sold only Lux product doesn't mean that that is the industry standard. I can see why the opticians' association would be upset.

    So all in all, he's doing a good thing, but not helping to fix the industry at all.
    Have I told you today how much I hate poly?

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    Blue Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by Quince View Post

    Interesting article. He is doing something for the community that is well needed. My confusion is this: with what money is he buying bulk frames? He must have made a literal fortune to be just giving away glasses. Kudos to him, but I'd like to know his retirement plans.

    So all in all, he's doing a good thing, but not helping to fix the industry at all.


    Qince, …………Phillip Rochette most probably buys his frames through the Alibaba Organisation website out of China, at manufacturer pricing and not at a regular local import wholesaler who has his own markups.

    He has found a new way of making money in an industry that does not accept
    that there are major changes being made to it’s members, and that their system is being attacked by major forces.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Even if he is getting frames for dirt cheap, it still costs money and to buy in bulk means a cost upfront. If he is barely covering cost when people do pay, how is he affording to give away so many pairs?

    Again, I commend what he is doing, but anyone who plans on living past tomorrow is usually looking at obtaining some sort of profit to live off of. It is also possible that this is not his main source of income and therefore more of a hobby. That would make more sense though the article did not state this.
    Have I told you today how much I hate poly?

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    Stupid.

    How many more articles that tout "cheaper" are we going to endure?

    If you want cheaper, great. Go get cheaper.

    It's not like there's some magic out there. This gentleman is doing the same old "low overhead" song and dance, and the media pick it up.

    You can't work for free. No expert is going to give away services.

    Again, if you want cheap, get cheap.

    Is this such a big deal?

    I can get cheap everything: hot dogs, flip flops, tires, pencils, candy bars, televisions, hotel rooms. Whatever. There's always cheap.

    NEWSFLASH: Cheap does not equal good in many/most circumstances. Only when you don't want to spend any money.

    Somehow this is spun into a morality play of a socialist's wet dream. BORING. UNORIGINAL. FALSE.

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    Redhot Jumper drk..................you just made the wildest statement ..........................

    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post

    Stupid.

    How many more articles that tout "cheaper" are we going to endure?

    If you want cheaper, great. Go get cheaper.

    It's not like there's some magic out there. This gentleman is doing the same old "low overhead" song and dance, and the media pick it up.

    NEWSFLASH: Cheap does not equal good in many/most circumstances. Only when you don't want to spend any money.

    Somehow this is spun into a morality play of a socialist's wet dream. BORING. UNORIGINAL. FALSE.

    drk..................you just made the wildest statement on Optiboard since its inception, without using your habitual thought over,and witty way.

    This gentleman optician is purchasing and using the same quality and style frames as you do in your optometrist practice, and probably uses a similar profit multiplier as you do, .......

    ............with the difference that he circumvents the costly circle of optical frame distributors, that charge at a much higher mark-up than 25 years ago, out of some well known reasons and purchases his frames directly from the manufacturers at the factory level, and therefore buy's them at fraction of the cost you are having for the same or similar products.

    He the sells them at a standard gross profit multiplier which converts into much lower retail sales prices.

    …….however he has to sell a lot more in order to make the same income as you do, so it is a lot more hard work.
    Chris Ryser
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post

    This gentleman optician is purchasing and using the same quality and style frames as you do in your optometrist practice, and probably uses a similar profit multiplier as you do, .......
    Seriously, what planet are you living on? Or maybe your just stuck in the 1960s.

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    Redhot Jumper Actually I post under my real name, ..............................

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwill212 View Post

    Seriously, what planet are you living on? Or maybe your just stuck in the 1960s.

    Actually I post under my real name, here on OptiBoard because I can usually back up, on what I post for the last 16 years.

    Also I would not insult others, of being backwards and living in another century without giving any details.
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    Master OptiBoarder rbaker's Avatar
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    As far as I know there ain't no stinkin law up there in Montreal that controls what you must charge for goods or services. So this starry eyed eyeglass merchant has a weird pricing strategy and plan to save the world from creeping myopia. His neglect of profit in this business plan is probably OK as Quebec probably has social welfare programs that will feed him, pay his rent and educate his children while he engages in his social experiment. He may also be living with his parents.

    Dollars to donuts he won't be around next year so don't get your skivvies in a knot.

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    Redhot Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    Actually I post under my real name, here on OptiBoard because I can usually back up, on what I post for the last 16 years.

    Also I would not insult others, of being backwards and living in another century without giving any details.
    I can't fathom, nor do I care, what your name has to do with anything.

    Your post history is all the details anyone needs to assume you are out of the loop in the optical world.

    - You think everyone should wear FTs instead of progressives, which you think are all the same just rebranded with different names and have over inflated costs.

    - You have been preaching that the sky is falling the optical world for years now, probably decades. If the sky has been falling for that long, maybe it is just gradual change that happens in every business since the beginning of time? If there is a magic moment where the optical trade takes a 180 turn and we are all out of a job, I assume you will jump up and down saying you told us so for years. But you sound like someone predicting the end of the world every year, then just changing the date until next year when it doesn't happen. So unless you predicted a definitive date of the end of the optical world your prognostication doesn't hold much weight in my eyes.

    - Best I can tell from your posts, you think everyone buys frames on consignment from a 3rd party distributor, and you think every frame comes out of the same factory in China.

    - As far as insult go, I would say insinuating Drk, or anyone else here, that they are buying the cheapest available products and overcharging for them instead of giving them away as the subject of your story is downright disparaging. Comparing Drk and a person who admittedly was sweet-talking people into overspending on inferior Luxottica products is pretty insulting.

    Better add a jumping fire man and some more smileys to make sure you can see the post.

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    Blue Jumper

    Quote Originally Posted by rbaker View Post

    His neglect of profit in this business plan is probably OK as Quebec probably has social welfare programs that will feed him, pay his rent and educate his children while he engages in his social experiment. He may also be living with his parents.

    Dollars to donuts he won't be around next year so don't get your skivvies in a knot.


    While a pair of glasses in a stylish shop can easily cost you more than $1,000,

    Rochette sells his for$100 or $200.

    But for customers who cannot afford that much,
    he will sell prescription glasses — frame and lenses — for$20. Or give them away for free.



    Dick my friend..........................

    He purchases the frames and lenses through the Alibaba site (see my other posts on the subject) directly from the manufacturers in China, and does not do business with local import/wholesalers. His cost is a fraction of the ones of a BM store.

    Check his website and see some more.................................
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Let's say you're right, Chris.

    Do you remember when Johns posted a story on when he imported a literal boat-load of frames from China, and he had to go to the west coast, and prepare each and every frame for some customs issue, and spend hours doing it?

    Just sayin' that cutting out the frame distributor is not an easy task. There's lots of risk, and lots of work.

    In other words, "middle men" don't work for free, but they do, indeed work.

    I know I pay top dollar for the ability for someone to shop the world-wide markets, import the stylish frames, catalogue them, bring them to my office to see, give me advice on what's selling, take some back for warranties and exchanges, provide sales materials, etc. But MOST opticals have too much to do instead of being their own frame importers.

    This guy is very, very probably selling himself short and working for below minimum wage. Like you said, he would need a lot of volume for such economies of scale to work to his advantage.

    Tell me how he's doing in five years.

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    Redhot Jumper ..............have seen the post

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwill212 View Post

    Better add a jumping fire man and some more smileys to make sure you can see the post.


    ..............have seen the post and filed it in my lowest office drawer,
    Chris Ryser
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    Blue Jumper I will get back to answer your post ......................

    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post

    Let's say you're right, Chris.

    Thank you for posting, I just about got killed a few minutes ago-by one of your admirers.

    I will get back to answer your post, probably in the very early morning hours, after a good nights sleep.
    Chris Ryser
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  22. #22
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I admire my admirers.

    It's just some marketing gimmick this Montreal guy does.

    Is it worthy of praise? No.

    Is it worthy of press? Hardly.

    Is it worthy of Optiboard discussion? Maybe.

    Is it worthy of emulation? Doubtful.


    How many "socially-responsible", "ecologically-responsible" business ventures do we see? A jillion. They're all out to make a living, and good for them. If the "virtue signalling" works to make them an extra buck, more power to their marketing department.

    But give me a break already.

  23. #23
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    Blue Jumper Let's say you're right, Chris...................................

    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post

    Let's say you're right, Chris.

    Do you remember when Johns posted a story on when he imported a literal boat-load of frames from China, and he had to go to the west coast, and prepare each and every frame for some customs issue, and spend hours doing it?

    Just saying' that cutting out the frame distributor is not an easy task. There's lots of risk, and lots of work.

    In other words, "middle men" don't work for free, but they do, indeed work.

    I know I pay top dollar for the ability for someone to shop the world-wide markets, import the stylish frames, catalogue them, bring them to my office to see, give me advice on what's selling, take some back for warranties and exchanges, provide sales materials, etc. But MOST opticals have too much to do instead of being their own frame importers.

    This guy is very, very probably selling himself short and working for below minimum wage. Like you said, he would need a lot of volume for such economies of scale to work to his advantage.

    Tell me how he's doing in five years.


    Do you remember when Johns posted a story on when he imported a literal boat-load of frames from China, and he had to go to the west coast, and prepare each and every frame for some customs issue, and spend hours doing it?

    DRK ……………The johns problem was then, years ago when purchasing from China was the newest and latest fad.

    …………Many manufacturers were unexperienced and did not properly mark their products as required for the destination countries.

    This has all changed since then, and even optical Rx work is done overseas and is delivered by courier in a few days.

    I was owner of a frame distributing company, from 1962 to 1982 representing two European brand name producers. During that period, we had a stock office in toronto, and one in Calgary, with a total of 7 salesreps on the road.
    We worked with a total gross profit of 42% after landed cost . Brand name products, made in France, and Germany.

    These days, I see frame distributors charge 200% to 300% gross of their landed cost, out of many valid reasons:
    “they have to give warranties, consignments, accept returns for any reason, and take back older stock.”

    This has all evolved over the last 30 years from a straight full out system of purchasing, with a simple factory quality warranty.

    *The guy is not selling himself short and working below minimum wage*


    Rochette keeps his overhead low. He doesn't advertise, doesn't pay an accountant and buys his no-brand Chinese-made frames in bulk. His office is hidden away on the fourth floor of an industrial building.
    Instead of waiting for customers to walk in the door, the opticians set up at tables in community centres, food banks and shelters all around Montreal.
    Philippe grew up working class. These are his people.
    Le Bonhomme à lunettes donates $10 from every pair of glasses sold to community groups. So far, he has donated more than $300,000.

    See all at:
    https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayed...yone-1.4005488
    He also has 14 more opticians that travel the Quebec province on a regular basis to outlaying areas that have no optical retail services.


    14 OPTICIANS
    IN 54 ORGANIZATIONS


    We are now 14 opticians on the road and 54 community organizations devoted to serving you in the Greater Montreal area, Laval, Ouataouais, Laurentians, Lanaudière and Monteregie. Schedule may change weekly, look carefully.
    To get back to this post, that has a few positive admirers, with a lot more that believe that he will be gone to the poor house in no time as makes no money as the conventional opticians believe.




    But MOST optical s have too much to do instead of being their own frame importers.

    These days the FEDEX or UPS brings your orders from overseas right to your office, cleared of all custom duties and all other charges, and shipped from anywhere in the world.


    I know I pay top dollar for the ability for someone to shop the world-wide markets, import the stylish frames, catalogue them, bring them to my office to see, give me advice on what's selling, take some back for warranties and exchanges, provide sales materials, etc.
    The top Dollar you are paying is an artifcial increase of your cost, so that somebody else is financially responsible, for everything that could go wrong with your sales, or quality supplied to you patients, and which you also charge the patients as your cost.

    On top of that you are adding your own gross profit at your own usual rate, which brings the end product to an extremely high artificial value.

    With all the fuss on the Alibaba.com website, that only started a few days ago, and the public will be catching on sooner or later and will be able to convert Alibaba US $ pricing to their own convenience.

    Also check online optical pricing, and find out that they are actually making money based on direct factory pricing to anybody.

    The Rochette website:

    http://www.bonhommealunettes.org/english



    Direct Alibaba links:

    Frames:
    https://www.alibaba.com/trade/search...es&isPremium=y


    Lenses:
    https://www.alibaba.com/trade/search...value=171-1153
    Last edited by Chris Ryser; 11-14-2018 at 04:13 AM.
    Chris Ryser
    ________________________________________
    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

  24. #24
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    I appreciate the post. There's lots of truth in it, as far as how I (and probably most ODs and certainly OMDs) practice...I need to pay a premium to "outsource" (if you will) certain services that I can't do in-house, because I'm far too involved in dozens of other equally critical functions.

    And don't forget, for better or worse, most of us have fixed fee schedules...fixed by the VCPs that we are contracted with. And little discretion, in all practicality, regarding lens manufacturers and customizations (like index or coatings). We're already doing high volume/low margin, like the hero of this story. It's just that he wraps himself in a flag of philanthropy, which is dog crap.

    If I were truly independent, I would certainly be free of "approved/non-approved" frames and lenses and labs and I would probably do something on the wholesale side, in order to keep my retail low. But that's not my world. :)

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