5 Questions: Ryon Odneal

Ryon Odneal (Photo by A. Rooney)

By Alison Rooney

Ryon Odneal, 25, is the manager of Luxe Optique in Beacon. A wedding and fashion photographer, he commutes from Warwick.

How did you end up working in Beacon?
Laurie Riehle owned an eyewear store in Warwick for 30 years. She sold it and planned to retire but decided to open a store here. I was a former lab technician for her and Julia Martell was the receptionist, and she hired us both to work in Beacon. She liked the city because it was arts-oriented, boundaries-pushing, diverse — and it didn’t have an optical store.

Why is a piece of glass and some bent metal so expensive?
The cost of lenses reflects the level of technology in a prescription. Each lens is built individually, with grinding and surfacing. It’s important to get it right to avoid distortion, especially with progressive lenses.

People see a $300 frame from certain designers and know it’s the same as a $70 generic made in China. We’re aware of which “designer names” have been bought out. Our frames are made from titanium, stainless or precious metals, rather than molded plastic.

How do you match an eyewear style to a person?
I say to people, “Give me one adjective, besides ‘attractive,’ that reflects how you would like to be perceived.”

How do you navigate all the insurance plans?
We aren’t part of an insurance network. If we were, the insurers would have control over our inventory and the lab we use. So we give customers who have insurance a discount and free eye exam, and we submit the claim for them.

Are specs the new shoes?
For some people, every time they walk in here, they get a new pair. Three pairs a year isn’t unusual. It’s more important than anything you’re wearing, especially your shoes! There’s nothing more prominent than your face.

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