Jaime Herman Says Key Focus is Customer Care
By Matt Smith
In constructing one of his better-known sonnets, William Shakespeare wrote, “The eyes are the of the soul.” While it’s obvious the playwright was simply waxing poetic, and not referencing the importance of eye care, the adage still holds relevance in terms of the latter subject–and many present-day eye care professionals can attest to the truth of Shakespeare’s statement. Just ask Jaime Herman, founding manager of Eye Designs of Armonk, who has been in the optical business for the last 30 years.
The Westchester resident, who found himself attracted to the industry “because [of] all the different aspects to it”–from medical to science to fashion–initially began his career as a partner in an eye care shop in New Hyde Park, Long Island, where he worked for 12 years. After a brief two-year stint at another shop in Florida, he found his way to Armonk, where he has managed Eye Designs since August of 1999.
“We bring in eyewear from around the world that show the latest fashion styles and best quality,” he says, when asked what he thinks makes his business the most successful. “Whether it be digital progressive lenses, computer lenses, [or] anti-reflective coatings, we use the latest technology in prescription lenses.” Additionally, optometrist Dr. Janet Woo is on hand at the store for eye exams and contact lens fittings. The shop also has an extensive collection of children’s frames.
And as for eyewear specific to your “summer adventure?” They’ve got you covered there as well! “When I think of the summer, I think of the beach,” he says. “And [in terms of eyewear] that means…a great pair of cool sunglasses with polarized lenses.” Eager to help vacationers–especially men–“look and feel cool” while catching rays this summer, Eye Designs offers a wide selection of sunglasses from such high-end designers as Salt, Oliver Peoples, Mykita, and Maui Jim.
But despite their fabulous offerings, which have no doubt contributed to their longevity in the area, Herman notes that the success of Eye Designs lies mainly in its customer care. “[That’s] really our number one goal,” he comments. “Everything else is secondary.”
And he’s not kidding. A strong proponent of the motto, “See and be seen,” emphasizing the customer’s comfortability level in addition to how they appear, he takes pride in ensuring his customers “look good and leave happy.” Because, after all–and this one really relays the relevance of Shakespeare’s quote to the eye care business–he views eyewear “as a portrait of someone’s personality.”
“[For] the people who need to wear glasses, they’re such a big part of [these] people [and who they are] personally,” he says. “If someone’s wearing glasses, it’s basically the first thing you see when you’re looking at them. It’s a huge statement…a very personal thing, and a big reflection on the individual.”
In managing Eye Designs for as long as he has, Herman certainly recognizes the significance of this reflection, and the impact it has not only on the customers, but the business itself. “When somebody puts on an absolutely perfect pair of glasses in the store–[meaning] they can see clearly and the style looks fabulous–when they walk out the door and people see them in that eyewear [and] say, ‘Wow! Look how great those glasses look!,’ then the next question might be, ‘Where did you get those glasses?’” he says. “So, it’s important to me that our customers look great, not only for themselves, but because [in purchasing our products] they become our own representatives, in a way.”
As proud as he is of the success of his booming business, however, there is still one (well, two) facets he prides above all the rest: his daughters, Alex and Joelle. And while he’s certainly proud of them no matter what they choose to do, with his strong commitment to Eye Designs, it doesn’t hurt that Alex (25)–for the time being–is assisting him in the shop. (She’s been a member of the Armonk team since 2013).
“It’s exciting and to have her here,” he says. “I’m proud as her dad to see how she interacts with everyone she encounters in the practice and the industry. She brings a youthful energy to the practice [and] the patients seem to love her.” Meanwhile, his youngest, Joelle (18), recently celebrated her graduation from Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy, and will be headed off to college in the Fall.
So, all in all, there’s a lot to be proud of–and Herman’s not taking any of it for granted. So much so that, despite a three-decade career in the business (and Alex presumably set to take over at some future point), he doesn’t see himself leaving anytime soon. Not that we’re complaining, but why not? It’s simply because he can’t “envision” himself in any other career. And why should he have to? He’s got all he needs right here in Armonk! “And it’s a clean business,” he adds, with a laugh. “I’m not operating on broken limbs.” He pauses, then smiles, before reiterating once again: “It’s clean, professional, and always interesting…and that’s true even after 30 years.”
Eye Designs Armonk is located at 575 Main Street in Armonk. For more info, visit www.eyedesignsofwestchester.com.
Matt Smith is a freelance writer based in Chappaqua. For more information, visit www.mattsmiththeatre.com.