In this exclusive Q&A, we learn more about My Eyelab from Mike Wootton, the company’s VP of franchise development.
Franchise Chatter (FC): For those unfamiliar, what is My Eyelab?
Mike Wootton (MW): My Eyelab is a retail optical franchise offering. We are a fully integrated optical business that includes eye exams and retail sales of glasses, sunglasses, contact lenses and accessories for the optical customer. We offer a proprietary telehealth software system to our franchisees to allow them to give eye exams in their locations without needing a doctor on site.
FC: Tell us about your professional background. What led you to become VP of Franchise Development for My Eyelab?
MW: I have been in franchise development for over 15 years and my experience is mainly in restaurant development. I have worked with some of the most iconic brands in the industry including Dairy Queen and Domino’s Pizza. I handled all aspects of new store development including franchise sales, real estate and construction management for both brands regionally in the Southeast US.
My Eyelab has an amazing potential to explode, and I am really happy to be here running our development department. The telehealth component really spoke to me as an avenue that will be attractive to investors trying to see what business opportunities will be viable in our current economic environment.
FC: Why is My Eyelab relevant to today’s consumers?
MW: We offer a value proposition that is unlike any of our competitors’. Our integrated production and distribution system allows our franchisees to offer a great pair of glasses to the patient at a value point that is very competitive. Add to that the telehealth component that enhances our cutting edge process and you have a winning concept that is poised to become a tremendous success.
FC: Why did the brand decide to start franchising?
MW: Really two fold. The telehealth process is the jumping off point. It allows an investor without a background in optical to scale a business in the industry. Second, we saw an opportunity to expand our footprint quicker than our corporate growth would allow. We see a brand that can grow together with both franchise and corporate units expanding our reach. Our value model works everywhere, and we want customers to have access to our system.
FC: Why is My Eyelab relevant for potential franchisees?
MW: Eyecare is recession-proof. This business is set up for a great run. It has a tremendous value proposition, and we have access to cutting edge telehealth software. If I was looking for an opportunity right now to replace income or diversify a franchise portfolio with a unique business model, I would call My Eyelab. The brand checks a lot of the big boxes.
FC: What kind of support does My Eyelab provide franchisees?
MW: My team is in constant contact with new franchisees throughout the development process. We help with real estate site selection, design, permitting and construction management. Once that process is complete, we turn you over to our franchise operations department for training and ongoing support. We have invested in making sure the franchisees are supported during their journey.
The cool thing about our company is that we operate over 140 corporate stores, so we have a huge infrastructure of assistance ready to support our franchise owners. We seem like an emerging brand, but we have been here a long time running stores ourselves.
FC: Who is an ideal franchisee for My Eyelab?
MW: We have franchisees from every walk of life. First time business owners, restaurant owners, folks from the cell phone industry, you name it. I would say the one common thread between our successful franchisees is that they all love to sell. We have figured out the clinical piece, but our great franchisees have a passion for selling and putting customers first, and helping them find a great solution to their optical needs.
FC: How many locations does My Eyelab currently operate?
MW: Between our franchise system and our corporate stores, we are currently operating 84 My Eyelab locations. The split is roughly 60%/40% corporate to franchise units.
FC: Tell us about the company’s expansion plans.
MW: We are looking to expand and we have a lot of greenspace. I would like to see us operating 100 franchise units by the end of next year. Our current operators continue to grow – a great sign for the health of our system.
FC: What is the investment for potential franchisees?
MW: I am currently seeing the average franchise sale to be about 3.5 units. We see the opportunity to scale this business quickly. If you have ever purchased a pair of glasses, intrinsically you can understand there is margin in our business. We have a really cool webinar available for potential buyers that can dig into the typical development costs and give investors some initial insight into the potential for running a My Eyelab. It will be worth the effort to hear more from us.
FC: How can someone learn more about the franchise opportunity for My Eyelab?
MW: First step is to go check out our website. Visit https://myeyelabfranchise.com/ as a first step. We have a ton of great information there. Feel free to contact me as well at email@example.com – I would love to hear from you.