Hairdresser Toni & Guy opens optical practice
The group, which has 187 franchised salons in the UK and a similar number overseas, opened its first optical practice in Preston last week.
Toni Mascolo, one of the four brothers who has developed the brand over the past 40 years, is chairman of the new company, 'Toni & Guy Opticians', alongside optometrist directors Paul Hobson and Phil Kynaston, who are practising at the Lancashire pilot.
A second outlet is planned in Manchester and pending their success the brand could launch a full-scale franchising operation across the country.
Hobson, who worked for Specsavers for 10 years, told optician that the practice, which only takes private patients, is aiming at the style end of the market.
'Vision Express's angle is the hour-service,' he told optician, 'Specsavers' is value for money, we're going for fashion.'
The Preston practice, developed from an empty shell by the Style Design Company, is on Fishergate, close to the city's other optical practices and a Toni & Guy hairdressers.
Currently run by four full-time and two part-time staff, it has flat-screen televisions playing Toni & Guy's own TV channel and a lounge area where patients can read fashion magazines and drink coffee.
Designer frames include Miss Sixty, Gucci and Prada. Each patient is offered a consultation to help make the right frame choice for complexion, hairstyle, lifestyle and facial shape and size.
Sunglasses account for a large proportion of the eyewear in stock, and contact lenses, including coloured lenses, are also available.
'We saw this link with facial fashion,' said Hobson. 'Hairdressing classically could have been described just as the process of shortening someone's hair but it's much bigger than that, they've moved into the fashion arena. The Toni & Guy name is useful, because it is more associated with fashion, rather than just medical appliances or devices to correct ametropia.'