Finding Your Niche in New York With Brooklyn’s Indie Sunny Eye Shop


Saniya Shoaib, O.D., is the founder and owner of Sunny Eye Shop, located in Brooklyn, New York. Image courtesy of Sunny Eye Shop.
NEW YORK—New York is one of those cities where they say only the strong survive. And while that kind of thinking might be a little dramatic, it does have some hints of truth. After all, New York is busy all the time—there’s places to go, people to see, and exorbitant rent to pay. It can be hard to make it in New York—but for Sunny Eye Shop, an independent practice located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, there’s no better place to be.

Saniya Shoaib, O.D., or Sunny to her friends, graduated from NECO before spending years working at East Hampton Optical and Cosmopolitan Eyecare inside Lenscrafters. When Dr. Shoaib decided to open her own, independent practice in 2015, it was a leap of faith. “I've worked really hard to get to where I am. My family didn't have much growing up,” Dr. Shoaib told VM. “I actually am the first doctor in the family, male or female, which also made the process that much more difficult. I didn't have anyone to consult on applications or studying, nonetheless setting up a business. I'm really proud to have accomplished so much.”

In spite of the daunting idea of getting started all on her own, Dr. Shoaib knew she wanted to go the independent route. She told VM, “For sure, independent was the only way to go for me. It's something I feel very passionate about and feel like it aligns with being able to give patients a more personalized service.”

Sunny Eye Shop is in Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s northernmost neighborhood, where Dr. Shoaib lives and works. Image courtesy of Sunny Eye Shop.


Sunny Eye Shop is stocked with handmade and independent eyewear brands. Image courtesy of Sunny Eye Shop.

For Dr. Shoaib and the rest of her team, personalized service is what separates independent practices from the pack. It allows them to form relationships with their patients, and helps them achieve the goal they state on their practice website: “to ensure that every patient leaves with something truly special.”

“We strive to give everyone amazing service,” Dr. Shoaib explained, “Plus we have a wonderful team. Everyone at the office is super friendly and knowledgeable.” It’s this style of second-to-none-service, alongside a curated selection of eyewear which includes brands like Mykita, Eyevan, Blake Kuwahara, ProDesign Denmark, and more, that makes Sunny Eye Shop a special destination in a city packed with choice.


“I really care about quality and doing business with vendors that respect independent offices,” Dr. Shoaib told VM. Image courtesy of Sunny Eye Shop. 

Dr. Shoaib works alongside optician Zuleika Barrios. Image courtesy of Sunny Eye Shop

Happy patients show off their new glasses on the Sunny Eye Shop Instagram page. Image courtesy of Sunny Eye Shop. 

Sunny Eye Shop is located in one of the busiest cities in the world, but Dr. Shoaib always makes sure to take time with her patients. Image courtesy of Sunny Eye Shop.
Making it in New York is all about finding your niche--and Sunny Eye Shop has found the perfect place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s northernmost neighborhood, where Dr. Shoaib both lives and works. “Greenpoint is definitely a special place,” Dr. Shoaib said. “It is actually a neighborhood where you can get to know your neighbors and be able to say hi to them on the streets, which I absolutely love. New York is such a huge place where it's easy to get lost in the crowd. Being able to have relationships and know people is beautiful.”

Forming those personal relationships makes up the backbone of Sunny Eye Shop—something that’s visible both in Dr. Shoaib’s dedication to her work, her decision to stock brands “that respect independent offices,” and on the shop’s Instagram page, which features snaps of smiling patients who’ve found their perfect frames. When you establish a loyal, satisfied network like Sunny Eye Shop has, it doesn’t matter that you’re in one of the busiest cities on Earth—it’s your independence that sets you apart.