Independence Means Freedom and Quality for Upstate New York’s Frameology Optical


Stacy Daniel, owner, LDO, at
Frameology Optical.

When Stacy Daniel, LDO, opened Frameology Optical in December 2013, she knew she was doing something different. Located in Syracuse, a city with a population of just under 145,000 in upstate New York, opening up an independent optical office that focuses on handmade, artisan, European frames is “something people think doesn’t happen in Syracuse,” Daniel told Vision Monday. But five years later, Frameology is thriving. The staff is headed up by Daniel, who is a licensed contact lens fitter with a degree in optical dispensing from Erie Community College and a BBA in finance, as well as 25 years of work experience in private practice and the corporate world.

Frameology Optical in
Syracuse, New York
Along with her staff, which includes Amanda Twohig, licensed optician, and Gina Wright, optical assistant, Daniel focuses on bringing handcrafted, European frames to Syracuse. It’s a passion project for Daniel, who combined two of her loves—frames and retail—to create Frameology.

For Daniel, the decision to open an independent practice was twofold. Firstly, she told VM, being independent “gives you this freedom of selling the products that you want to. I think that’s number one, that’s why most of us go into this.” And the second reason? “Frame quality. I wanted that unique, different thing,” Daniel said.

Frameology stocks high quality, handmade, and sometimes hard to find brands like Theo, Mykita, Bevel, Vuarnet, and Sabine Be. A full list is available on their website, but there is one common thread among all the frame brands you can find on the shelves at Frameology: the highest quality standards. And it is those standards, Daniel said, that have changed her work life for the better. “The number one thing is quality,” said Daniel. “The quality of my work life changed because of the quality of the frames. When you sell quality frames your time isn’t taken up by repairs and adjustments—I can now focus on what to sell, and I enjoy what I do. The style and quality are equal, for what I want to offer.”

The interior of Frameology Optical.
It’s all about the details at Frameology Optical.

High quality often comes with a high price tag, something Daniel was aware of when starting her journey in a small city. Syracuse has a much smaller population than other major cities in upstate New York, so Daniel knew her risk was high. She said, “We’re a small city, a blue collar city—Syracuse didn’t have this, but I knew they were succeeding in Rochester and Buffalo.”

To make sure Frameology can succeed in a smaller market, Frameology keeps an active and well-curated social media presence, and Daniel herself does her best to collaborate with and get involved with other local small businesses. In January, she invited six other women-owned businesses in Syracuse to come into the Frameology store and hold pop-up shops. It was, Daniel said, “a huge success.”

Frameology Optical’s Instagram account.

For Frameology, it’s all about freedom and quality, and for Daniel, succeeding in small businesses is all about confidence. “There are a few rules if you ever want to start your own business. Have your business plan, know the market you want to reach—and most importantly, don’t ever feel you need somebody or something to succeed. You only need you. I don’t think you need doctors or insurance companies. You only need you,” Daniel said.