Wish They All Could Be California [Glasses] Girls

By

SAN FRANCISCO–Many of us have heard the phrase, “Rep Where You’re From,” and Alana Whitaker, known as “California Glasses Girl,” is taking that to the next level through her growing social media platforms and website aimed at helping other eyewear reps grow their businesses.

Whitaker, who has been an eyewear rep for six years, had no prior experience in the optical industry and started with a top 3 eyewear company before moving to a top 10 company and for the last year she’s been with Design Eyewear Group (DEG), an independent company.

In that time, she’s expanded on her traditional role merging her knowledge as a sales rep with her digital presence.

Her website and blog are platforms for her to elaborate on topics that she touches on from Instagram posts, and everything is connected as she uses her Instagram and LinkedIn pages to promote the website, but only when referring to specific posts.

“Most people use their blog to create social media content, but I’m using my social media to create my blog content. I actually started my social media pages to gain new business in my territory for the line I carry, Woow, but it turned into so much more,” Whitaker said.

The “California Glasses Girl” audience spans the optical community with many people engaging with her being other optical reps, optometrists and opticians as well as optical industry bloggers and influencers. Since starting her website earlier this year, the response she’s received has been “incredibly positive.”

Another aspect that helps her create fun, engaging content is that Whitaker has a lot of flexibility in how she can style and market the Woow frames that she sells. She believes that carving out this space is important because “there is nothing else out there like it.”

  

Whitaker explained, “Eyewear reps are an excellent free resource that are often underutilized by their accounts. I wanted a space to bridge the gap between eyewear reps and independent optical shops. I also wanted to share what I've learned to help eyewear reps grow their business by implementing a social media strategy, since I’ve gotten a ton of new business from Instagram. I’ve researched for hours upon hours and know what works and what doesn’t.”

She explained that while there are many practice consultants and companies dedicated to this, a rep’s perspective and knowledge is very different.

“To some people, the information on my website might seem like common sense, but so often I walk into optical shops that could easily start making a lot more money with very easy fixes. There are a lot of little things that many people don’t realize affect their bottom line such as sales analysis, inventory management and returns.”

When it comes to jumping into new endeavors, having a supportive team and trust is integral, and for Whitaker her DEG family has played a big part.

“I have a phenomenal vice president of sales and marketing, who has believed in me since he hired me and trusts me and what I’m doing,” she said. “He actually spurred me to start my rep social media pages after Vision Expo West last year when he talked to us about being different and thinking outside of the box. I feel very blessed to work for DEG and rep such a great line as well as share my knowledge with the optical industry through my website.”