Daniel Scott – The Eyewear Stylist
Eyewear Stylist, Daniel Scott is not your average optician, he offers a stylist’s eye to the process of selecting glasses; and from his studio in MediaCity’s Arrive building, he delivers a completely new optical experience to clients.
Daniel used to be an international pop star touring with his band Daniel and the Scandals, before he decided to retrain to be a qualified optician and after cutting his teeth working in a high end opticians in Manchester and around the UK, decided there was more to this business than eye tests and lens making.
Born into a family of opticians, Daniel identified a gap in the traditional ophthalmic dispensary model to offer a much needed service that helps glasses-wearers find the perfect pair of specs to suit their colour palette, their face shape, their individual style and of course their eyesight needs.
“After our final tour of the UK my band broke up, I came home and my parents needed help in their opticians in Hereford, so I moved back to help them out in the lab. They offered to help me train to become a qualified optician so that I could go self-employed and work as a locum wherever I might be doing a gig. I didn’t overly enjoy the technical aspects of the training, but I did like the creative side, which involved researching and selecting frames. I focused on this side of my parent’s business and started to travel abroad to various trade shows to find new lenses and frames to stock in their opticians.”
This experience really exposed Daniel to the possibilities of eyewear styling and he decided to train to become a personal stylist in London.
“I could really see from the customer’s point of view, visiting the optician, going for an eye test followed by a hasty look around the shelves to choose a frame, it’s all a bit embarrassing, and then having to ask whoever is standing nearby ‘do these suit me’ is really not the best way to select your glasses – something that you wear on your face every day,”
“It’s a confidence thing. For those of us who wear glasses, they are part of our identity and our style. They are in the middle of our face for goodness sake! I could see that the current offering in opticians was just not enough, so I decided to put my optical experience of lens and frames styles together with my personal stylist training to become an eyewear stylist.
Daniel has also become an expert on the latest materials, trends and technology in optical products and travels around the world, which means he can create bespoke lens and frame options according to the wearers needs.
“Off the shelf glasses are great, there are so many available and I offer a wide range of options in this respect, I also create one-off bespoke glasses for clients who want something unique, or even a collectors’ edition. For example, I am wearing a super limited edition frame made from Prince’s original purple coloured Purple Rain album. These even come with a certificate of authenticity and will go up in value over time, like rare sneakers do.
“I’m also designing some bespoke glasses for a bride to replace her everyday glasses with something special for her big day.
Daniel’s point of difference is to provide more tailored choice than a typical optician on the high street and that has also shaped his decisions about the services he offers to clients.
Daniel charges £75 for an hour-long consultation, redeemable against the final purchase. This includes complimentary drinks such as locally sourced Seven Brothers beers or a glass of Prosecco, a colour consultation and a thorough investigation into what kind of frames and lenses suit based on the wearer’s personality, face shape and preferences.
“What’s nice about the consultation model means that clients don’t feel obliged to buy their eyewear or sunwear from me if we’ve not found the right pair. I also offer private home visits for convenience, in fact this is how I started my business before I moved to the studio. Then a few clients wanted to come to me so I decided to create an experience in my own space. For that reason a high street shop front wasn’t for me, neither was a faceless office in the town centre.
“I was drawn to MediaCity’s waterfront location and the greenery. I live in Chorlton so it had to be easy for me to get to as well as my clients. The studio I’m in at Arrive is perfect, it provides a really cool environment in which my clients might bump into a famous presenter in the lift, we are amidst media royalty!”
“What I love about MediaCity is there’s a real community spirit about the place. There are lots of independent businesses like mine that support each other and we work on projects together. I can see my business grow in a place like this, there is room and support, and I really can’t wait for that to happen.
Daniel has big plans ahead including launching a new membership scheme and developing his own range of sustainable eyewear.
When he’s not busy working in the business he’s fundraising for the charity, Coffee 4 Craig which provides home cooked meals, hot showers and a barber for Manchester’s street homeless along with crisis intervention and housing for people who are falling between the gaps in the system.
He does much of this through networking, it is his superpower, his ability to engage people in his story and that of his charity project is inspiring. His advice for anyone setting up a business is about spending time on the planning:
“Taking the time to develop your business plan is the key. The costs and time involved in doing anything is always more than you think and although the idea of going self-employed is for greater freedom, that definitely doesn’t happen straight away, so be aware that the effort required is immense in the early stages.”
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“For us, it was a no brainer to commit to MediaCity. Its high-profile occupiers such as the BBC and ITV combined with its friendly vibe and sense of community as well as its restaurant and bar scene means our clients and colleagues from the South love to convene here.”