“What matters to me is the quality of the exchange”

The Cross the Weekly : Why do you wake up in the morning?

Hugo Cabon: On arriving at the store, in the early hours of the day, I am especially pleased to see the sun. After working for a few years at a mall, I realized how lucky I am to be in a bright spot. I would say that the second reason that wakes me up in the morning is the work environment. Customers are often regular, they are very attentive and know we are supporting them. Initially, the selling side didn’t interest me at all, but I learned to appreciate it over time. I love talking to strangers and connecting with people I see again after a year. Unlike the big optical chains, where each sale is timed, here, in an independent store like this, at least we take the time. These are all things that have made my profession a passion.

How do the French look in your store?

CH: Overall, I think people are doing well. They complain but it is like always, I have always seen people complain. Even with the health crisis, we still have a small segment of the population that has taken a major hit less in recent months. We think they have more difficulties financially, and a kind of gap has arisen.

Since “100% health” (Reformation over Macron’s five-year tenure with the aim of covering all certain health equipment, editor’s note)We receive customers from all walks of life. And after the health crisis, Parisians, who left the capital to settle in the countryside, but customers visiting large chains also searched the store, as we continued to distribute glasses during confinement.

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What is your assessment for the last five years?

CH: The health crisis has had an unexpected impact on the optical sector. Due to imprisonment, French had to work on separate screens between his company, his computer and his telephone. So they came back to the store with new requests, like progressive, anti-blue light or depth-of-field lenses.

We have also seen an acceleration of myopia that develops when we spend too much time indoors. This is especially the case for students. I also saw people coming in who bought a house in the country and therefore needed a pair of sunglasses! The economic balance sheet is rather positive. Compared to other chains, the store performed very well, we saw no loss of turnover.

Have an anecdote flagged you down lately?

CH: I remember a customer who needed a very strong improvement. She had glasses “under the bottle”, which had very thick lenses and wanted to replace them. We struggled to find a frame he really liked and matched his vision. Lastly, I just finished her pair and she’s about to get her new frame soon, where the lenses barely pop out. I can’t wait to see her reaction when she finds out that it’s possible to have the glasses she likes. It may not be much, but that’s what makes me happy: seeing customers happier after they leave than at their arrival.

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What is important to you in your work?

CH: I would say focus on quality over quantity. This covers all dimensions: from store quality to timeshare quality. Whether they are old or new customers, we receive them, we serve them coffee, we make them sit on the couch, we laugh with them, we try to make the atmosphere comfortable. I have always been like this, I give priority to the quality of the exchange and the quality of the products that we offer. The idea is that the customer is satisfied. If she’s happy with a 100% healthy range of glasses instead of a 700€ frame, that sounds great to me.

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What action do you expect from the new president?

CH: I wish Social Security would better take charge of glasses reimbursement. At the moment, its share is so small that it is mainly mutual who determine their terms. I regret the fact that they have this power, when we know that one of the main concerns of the French is purchasing power. If Sécu reimbursed more optics, the French average basket would improve.

More generally, I think we should pay more taxes. I may be the only optician to say this, but I believe it is the best thing to do to achieve a good redistribution of wealth in the population.

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Glasses are a family affair for 29-year-old Hugo Cabone. His grandmother was an optician, and it was his aunt, an eyewear store manager, who persuaded him to become an optician-eyewear maker. After studying at Rennes, he sold and repaired frames to major optical chains, mainly in Brittany and then in the United Kingdom.

He finally decides to follow his partner, relocated to the Paris area, and settles in Guanacourt. After submitting a few resumes, an independent store, JRC Opticians hired him in July 2020.

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