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Susan Daly | 1/11/2018

“You might as well ask me to describe the essence of music, or the color of starlight.”

Did you make any New Year Resolutions? Well, I did. I do every year, and in keeping with my obsession with goals and metrics that I have professed here repeatedly, I write them down and check in to see how I’m doing every month… at least.

Many people profess not to believe in making resolutions, but at its core, a resolution is the action of solving a problem, a firm decision to do, or not do, something. So, not making a resolution, is well, a resolution.

Since resolutions then, are apparently unavoidable, even in abstention, what are some of yours?

A popular one is weight, generally striving for less of it. This comes in two forms usually: the more concrete, “I need to lose a few pounds”, and the more abstract, “I need to remove some people from my life”.

Let’s talk weight first. Everyone has a weight at which they feel great, healthy, empowered, accomplished, comfortable. Whatever terminology you use, at that specific metric you find yourself no longer thinking about your weight, and instead begin to focus on other things that may be bothering you. That, then, is your ideal weight.

A person’s weight is a personal matter, to be sure. Try bringing it up on a first date if you’re keen to enjoy two servings of pasta and both glasses of wine, as you will surely be left without a dinner companion.

Even though something is personal, and the ideal is set within our own moral code, based on experience, physical capabilities, and our own attention to detail, somehow there is still a formula to calculate the ideal weight. It is a standard called the BMI, or Body Mass Index, and it is how the National Institutes of Health define us by our weight.

How could anyone put a calculation on something so personal, something we hold so close to the chest?

Well, research! And, lots of it. The NIH has run study after study of the health of the population, the rates of disease, and the weight of the people who experience medical issues to varying degrees, from the acute to the chronic. I may not agree with them, but I can see where they’re coming from and concede they may have a point.

The second type of weight, people. There is a theory put forth by social psychologists that an individual can only really follow the life stories of 40 people. That’s where we, as social animals, start to lose the thread of continuity. We don’t speak often enough to poor number 41. We don’t know anything about their last vacation, and constantly find ourselves asking the dreaded, “how old are your kids now?! Wow, time flies!” It doesn’t, poor number 41 just didn’t’ make the cut.

There is another theory, (which I believe originates from Jim Rohn), put forth by my father regularly, a self-proclaimed comedian, so take this any way you want, that we are the average of the 5 people we associate with most often. This one may have no scientific evidence, but I find it difficult to refute.

I may not believe in the BMI, and I may know exactly how old all my Facebook friends’ kids are, and I may associate with more than 5 influencers, but these metrics exist outside of us believing in them. The BMI, the Social Ceiling, and the Influencer Cap calculations have been developed through countless studies by people much smarter than me, and found to be true, most of the time, enough of the time to consider them a standard.

Ask yourself, what is the ideal “weight” of your frame assortment? And where can you trim the fat? If the standard calculation for how many frames you carry just doesn’t seem to apply, at what number are your frame boards feeling healthy? At what point are you comfortable enough to focus somewhere else? This is as much a personal question for the practice as your ideal weight is for you as an individual. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t industry metrics to help, and guide us as a standard, or best practice.

In the age of hashtags and endless opinions, how many patients are you listening to? If you are looking for a creative course of action to determine your frame assortment, turn to your most loyal, most engaged patients. What do they buy? How much do they spend? What brands do they request? Find your top 40, listen very closely to your top 5, and resolve to find your ideal assortment.

Susan Daly
Associate Director, Optical Strategy & Development
After attending Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, Susan studied branding abroad at the University of Westminster and earned her bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising Management from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She spent the first part of her career working with large retailers before shifting her focus to eyewear, serving as the Regional Trainer for Solstice Sunglasses and Buyer for Cohen’s Fashion Optical. Susan started her own business in 2009 and sold it in 2016 to return to Connecticut and begin serving IDOC members as the Optical Management Consultant then Manager of Strategic Partnerships. Susan works closely with the industry’s largest and most influential frame manufacturers to provide value and service to the independent where they need it most.
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