Glasgow Small Biz Stories: Iris Blue Optical
- sharing the stories of how your favourite Glasgow businesses are persevering through lockdown -
While many seek entrepreneurship to get out of the career they are in, others want to keep doing what they are doing but in their own way, and Morven Campbell is one of them. After over 20 years working as an optometrist for other businesses Morven felt that she might do things a bit differently if she was running the business herself- and the more she thought about it the more she realized it was what she wanted to do.
She also knew who she wanted to do it with, and when she suggested the idea her colleague and friend Evelyn jumped right on board. It all happened rather quickly for the two of them: in a matter of months it went from brainstorming and planning over dinner to finding a premises and transforming it into the warm, atmospheric, one of a kind practice.
Iris Blue Optical just celebrated it’s first year in business- pandemic and all- and are excited to be opening up their doors again next week as lockdown restrictions begin to lift in Scotland.
Here is their story:
“Lockdown for us has meant closing our doors, but we found a way to still be there for our patient base. We could have closed our doors and gone dark for this time but it just didn’t feel right to me: we can’t expect a community to support us a business if we weren’t there to support them when they needed us. That was a very strong feeling to me, I really felt I needed to be there and to be around when needed. As there is a medical aspect to eye care, people need access to emergency care and so we put my phone number on our answer phone and there are notices in the window, on our website and on our social media to contact me in the case of emergency.
Some days I don’t get any calls and some days there are several. Sometimes we need to set up video chats so that I can actually look at their eyes. I’m not physically allowed to see them in person but I can refer them into the hospital if their issue needs immediate attention. This is great because we’ve been able to maintain our patient base and continue looking after the people in our community during this time.
We are going to move and change a little bit in the next couple of weeks, we will be open by the 1st July, on a locked door, one at a time, appointment only basis for issues that require immediate attention. I think we’re quite set up for that, as a small business we don’t have eight opticians and a waiting room full of people waiting to come in as many of the bigger practices do. We can look after people safely with our current setup and we’ve added lots of extra safety measures in like wearing scrubs and gloves and masks."
As a new business it’s been very challenging, I’m so thankful that our landlord has been excellent and really helpful, as have our major suppliers. We were very proactive in communicating with them all to allow us to continue and breathe in and stop for a while until things pick up.
I think the biggest challenge for us right now is how quickly business picks back up. There have been several months where people haven’t been able to access eye care, so hopefully that means we will have lots of people eager to come back but we just don’t know- that’s the difficult thing.”
As of July 1st Iris Blue Optical will be open again for emergency and essential eye care by appointment only. Get in touch with Morven & Evelyn via their website:
and make sure to follow them on social media for updates on when other services will resume:
Just a quick note: the businesses involved in my Friday features are not paid endorsements. These are some of my favourite local businesses, and I am simply supporting them in the by sharing their stories, along with awarding credit where credit is due. I believe in championing other small businesses and this will always be one of my core brand values. - Rhiannon