INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll (Episode 14): Tamra Asmuth of One Hip Chic
Our guest is Tamra Asmuth, owner of One Hip Chic in Rochester, NY, and the first place winner of INVISION’s 2020 America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest. Tamra shares her own professional history prior to opening One Hip Chic, including schooling for computer programing when she got a job at Sterling Optical, and goes on to explain how she fell in love with the optical industry and after an apprenticeship got her license as an ophthalmic dispenser. “I loved the thought of totally changing a person’s look through their eyewear,” she says, “And I am still a fan of a good makeover. I loved helping people to see their best.” Around 4:00 minutes, she describes how the idea for On Hip Chic came about. “I think that nearly everyone who works for someone else has their own ideas about how they’d run the business. So, I guess that’s where it started for me… I’d imagine the product I’d sell, the décor, the vibe of my shop. How I’d treat customers and I guess eventually I just realized that things don’t just happen on their own; which is a good life lesson. You have to make them happen. Dreaming is where it starts but execution is really imperative.” She goes on to explain what One Hip Chic Optical is (5:30 mins) and at 6:10 she describes her life – and subsequently her business’s – motto: Nothing Ordinary. Seven minutes in Tamra discusses her product mix and selection, as well as her average ticket price and average sale. Then the two go on to discuss location, location, location and how One Hip Chic fits into the Rochester community (9:00 mins), but that she has customers in nearly every state, and how she communicates authentically for her business within her artistic community. Tamra shares she is a really big fan of a business plan and her #1 piece of advice for others is have a business plan. Hers took her 9 months and she explains everything that went into it (11:30 mins) “My business plan for the first five years was my bible.” Half way through the episode, she explains when she follows her gut versus when she relies on her numbers. Then the two discuss what really sets her optical shop apart… the business her optical boutique shares space with. “Since the beginning of One Hip Chic I have treated my business as retail and eyeglasses as function art. So, a few years ago I felt like I really wanted to expand my brand. I wanted to grow into another market and I had the idea that the other market would also be a functional accessory that was a piece of art. So I thought of shoes.” She describes how she went about expanding her business and how she researched the business to open her “sister store” Sole by One Hip Chic. Then the two discuss the renovation of the new space One Hip Chic moved to in 2017 and how that affected her and the business (18:00 min). Next the two discuss One Hip Chic’s deeply committed staff … Tamra’s adult children. “I love my staff, literally.” They address the current global health environment and how it’s affected the business (21:00 mins). Tamra describes some of the changes she has made — including a clever sidewalk A-frame sign — and how thankfully, her business is still faring well and the nimbleness of being a solo entrepreneur. The two finish with Tamra’s words of advice, her reliance on “calculated risk,” when to take that leap of faith, and what she might have done different… it’s a fun one (26:20 )!
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