If the eyes are the window to the soul, then eyewear would be the window dressing.
Paul Cho opened Risi Optique less than four years ago. The store’s name is based on the family nickname for son Rhys. Cho’s business model is based on his life experiences and his desire to offer customers unique, personalized service.
Glasses are a medical device, and as such they are to be taken seriously when it comes to the lenses, Cho said. The frames for the lenses can be fashionable and practical.
“For those who need to wear glasses, it’s a necessity that is an accessory,” Cho said. “The process is inverse to what people might think. The prescription and the lens comes first; the frame is then fitted to work with and support the lens.”
Cho said he has worn glasses most of his life, and his sister is an optometrist who lives in Austin. While working with his sister he discovered that most frames were manufactured by large companies. They could be fitted and adjusted for each customer, but when it came to style and fashion, the choices were limited.
Cho said his business helps his customers see and be seen.
“We strive to provide a relaxed and comfortable experience,” Cho said. “When a customer comes in we have comfortable sofas for them; we offer them soft drinks or water. And then we take the time to find out exactly what they’re looking for. ... The type of glasses you wear makes a statement. Most people looking for stylish frames want to express their personality.”
Cho’s background and expertise comes in with matching the prescription lens to the frame. Not all prescription lenses can be crafted to fit in certain frames. Cho can advise a customer as to what frames work for which lenses and also help suggest which frame best fits a customer’s face shape.
Risi Optique works with a select group of nine companies that manufacture frames and provide a selection of styles.
“The companies who we work with I’ve been able to find by just keeping on top of the trends,” Cho said. “These companies are very exact and unique in terms of how they craft their frames and the materials they use.”
The store’s website displays numerous pictures of celebrities wearing glasses manufactured by the companies that Cho has in his store. A customer can view the frames worn by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones or those favored by Paul Shaffer, the bandleader for the “Late Show With David Lettereman.”
“We have something for everyone,” Cho said. “For each customer, we can have three to six pairs to choose from, a variety of styling, small sizes, big sizes, frameless [or] custom-made.”
Cho said Frisco is an exciting place to live and do business.
“For me, the point of opening the store was to provide the kind of personal attention that I think is important for people who want to wear more than just a pair of glasses,” he said. “Quite a few people appreciate and demand quality.”