Brett Waugh, managing director of Eyewear Direct

Setting up a new brand is tough but basing it on a totally new business model takes it to another level. Chris Bennett finds out more about Ashton Riley

‘Most opticians I talk to would offer their own brand of eyewear if they could,’ says Brett Waugh managing director of Eyewear Direct. After 17 years in the optical business that is exactly what he decided to do.

Ashton Riley takes its title from the first two names of Waugh’s young son. The decision, Waugh admits, was because as a brand name Brett Waugh is ‘a bit rubbish’. While choosing his son’s name is a little bit personal he says it reminds him where it all started.

As well as a new brand Waugh has also based Ashton Riley on a novel business model which he hopes will appeal to independent opticians. He says independents are quite often used by frame companies to build a brand but they never get the rewards for their hard work. The idea behind Ashton Riley is not only to offer the brand exclusively to independents but to incentivise them for buying the products. Waugh also wants to create a brand its customers feel attached to by taking feedback from them to create the brand’s character.

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