Abundant flower markets; poetic windmills; superb Old Master paintings in marvelous museums; bicycles everywhere and delicious cheeses are just a few of the items that contribute to the iconic history and allure of The Netherlands. Amsterdam is a vibrant city that pulses with excitement in art, music – the famed Concertgebouw is world-renowned – and great shopping. For distinctive eyewear, the charming Suzy Glam Boutique is an oasis for the individualistic frame creations by Susanne Klemm, and select independent creators. Susanne and her partner, Etienne Frederiks, chose an ideal location for the boutique, close to Amsterdam’s beloved museums, in an area with beautiful residences. Formerly, a sports specialist shop, Susanne and Etienne revamped the premises with classic style and streamlined efficiency. Opened in 2014, the design duo – both opticians and entrepreneurs – reflect on their business.
This year celebrates the 7th anniversary since the Suzy Glam boutique opened in Amsterdam. What are the most significant changes in consumer personal priorities during this period?
“In our store, we see that more and more people want something really special. In this period there are so many new stores opening up, and they all sell the same retro styles. People want something stylish, which does not take over their personality, but what sets them apart from the crowd. It’s a niche market, but when you stick to your own principles and design philosophy, we saw that there’s a growing group that shares these ideas.”
Are you still showcasing various designers from time to time – as you did with Tarian and Paulino? If these events are on hold now due to the global pandemic crisis, do you plan to continue when restrictions are lifted?
“We did this with great pleasure and it was nice to give new brands a podium to the Dutch market, and we made many new friends in the optical business this way. Because of the fact that our time is limited and we want do to everything ourselves, we decided not to focus on these events anymore. But when a really interesting designer comes along, we just might change our mind for the occasion.”
The past year with the pandemic has been very problematic and painfully strenuous. What suggestions would you propose for optical boutiques to move forward with positivity, confidence, and clarity?
“We would suggest taking a good look at your collection in the first place. Only buy the collections that fit your personality and style; collections that are designed as a personal expression of the designer, and not as an expression of a marketing department. The market will change into big players for the mass market, and boutiques for the niche market. Independent local opticians can only be in the niche market, and then everything has to be right. You will have to know the background about the brands you sell because your clients want something special. As a small business, we buy from small brands. It just fits better.”