November 03, 2020 24 min read

Welcome back for another episode of Spilling The Tee! This week, Kathleen sits down with the owner-operator of Sphere Optometry, Danielle Gordon! Danielle is currently wrapping up her first year as a new business owner and entrepreneur in Calgary. 

Kathleen & Danielle dish about Sphere Optometry's vision and mission when it comes to making a difference in their customers' eye care, plus deets on 2021 vision and eyeglass trends. Danielle shares with Kathleen what it was like being an essential service and staying open during the economic shutdown and how she utilized her community to continue to market Sphere and positively build new relationships and awareness about her new business!

Follow more from Sphere Optometry on Instagram and learn more about how you can get involved by heading to their website!

Listen to the full episode here!

Danielle Gordon:

And there's always that moment of, I don't know if I want to call it anxiety, but expectation when you tell someone what you're doing. For a while, I kept the fact that I was launching Sphere kind of under wraps. And eventually, you do have to tell people, "Hey, this is what I'm doing, or this is a new thing I'm working on." And because it's so personal, because it's your baby, you always feel a little bit anxious. What are people going to think?

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah. Are they going to judge?

Danielle Gordon:

What are they going to feel like? Are they going to judge me?

Kathleen Smiley:

Or tell me what to do?

Danielle Gordon:

[inaudible 00:00:23] think that I'm crazy? But unequivocally from all of my friends, most people who play in that space, they're instantly like, "Amazing Danielle. How can we help?"

Kathleen Smiley:

Hey everybody. Welcome back for another episode of Spilling The Tea. This is episode four and our guest this week is Danielle Gordon, owner-operator of Sphere Optometry. Sphere Optometry is a full scope optometry clinic located in the Westman Village in Mahogany. Danielle and her team are super passionate about delivering compassionate vision to their customers and building a supportive community and network around them. In episode four, Danielle and I dish on how she started her company, her first year as a new business owner, eyeglass trends for 2021, and advice for any new entrepreneur starting a business and collaborating with influencers and other community builders. So without further ado, let's dive into it.

Kathleen Smiley:

So we'll just dive right into it.

Danielle Gordon:

Amazing.

Kathleen Smiley:

Okay. So welcome. Why don't you give us a quick introduction of who you are and what you do?

Danielle Gordon:

Sounds good. So my name is Danielle and I am a optometrist here in Calgary and I own Sphere Optometry. We're a full scope, purpose-driven optometry practice here in the south end of Calgary, in southeast Calgary. And we're all about a few main things. We're all about kindness and connection, ocular and holistic wellness, and also giving back on a local and global level. And then lastly, we also harbor a deep love for independent and handcrafted eyewear. And so, we're actually here in the shop today and I'm looking around and we've curated a really fabulous collection that I'm really excited about, of independent eyewear from around the globe. So I'm excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Kathleen Smiley:

Oh my gosh. Of course. Thanks for coming on the show. There we go. That's [inaudible 00:02:01]. So you're my optometrist and you've been an optometrist for a number of years. So what made you make the jump to opening your own business?

Danielle Gordon:

Well, it's kind of a long end and circuitous journey. So I graduated, you're right, a number of years ago in 2006 from University of Waterloo. That's actually my hometown. So I met my husband who was also an optometrist before we got into optometry school. So we had a big choice to make at the end of our schooling. We were contemplating, do we stay in Ontario? Do we move out to Alberta? And at the time, the difference between optometry, what we could do in Alberta was much greater than we could do in Ontario. So we actually decided to take a leap of faith and moved to Alberta back at that time. And we ended up in Edmonton. We were there for a couple of years.

Kathleen Smiley:

Oh.

Danielle Gordon:

We're not going to get into this. Being an Ontario girl, I-

Kathleen Smiley:

I don't get this rivalry.

Danielle Gordon:

I don't get the rivalry, but we loved our time in Edmonton, but I don't know, we never really got that feeling that it could be home for us for a long time or-

Kathleen Smiley:

Because it's Edmonton I think. [crosstalk 00:03:07]. I have nothing against Edmonton. I don't know why I'm saying that.

Danielle Gordon:

And then we moved to Calgary. We actually moved to Calgary January 1st, 2009. And as we were driving across Memorial, flyover of the Memorial Bridge and the fireworks were going up over the city, so it felt like a really great welcome. I would think within a couple of months, we felt like Calgary could be home.

Danielle Gordon:

So during that time, Ryan ended up eventually buying into a practice. I had a couple of babies and during that growing period in your life, you have this little checklist stuff. What you want to happen and when, thinking life actually happens in some sort of order, which we're learning it doesn't. But once we completed our family, the discussion was, "Well, Danielle you've always had these dreams of having an ownership in a business and being able to put your creative ideas into play. What does that look like?" And we looked down a couple of avenues, we were in negotiations for a while with joining up in a group practice with my husband.

Danielle Gordon:

But when we decided to let that go, I was left with a lot of creative thoughts and ideas and things I wanted to do and really nowhere to put them. And so I ended up writing this business plan for a mock practice just to get those ideas out of my system. I said, "You know what? I'm going to put this to bed. I'm going to write this here. I'm going to file it away. I'm going to move on with my life. Maybe it's just not in the cards for me."

Danielle Gordon:

And one of the things that Ryan and I like to do is we like to check out show homes. And in particular, the southeast end of our city is growing very quickly. So there's a lot of new ones here. So we ended up driving to Mahogany, took a look at a beautiful home. And our way back, we passed by the development that is now Westman Village, where Sphere is today. And what they had advertised on their billboard, I guess the best way of putting it, is they had an Analog, coffee, a Diner Deluxe, a few other local retailers that really appealed to me. And we looked at each other and said, "If ever I was going to start a practice, this would be exactly where I want it to be, surrounded by more unique, independent, locally owned businesses."

Danielle Gordon:

And so I decided, maybe it's time to drag up that business plan. Let's dust it off, take a look, brush it up. And we ended up pitching it to the Westman Village folks and we were accepted. And here we are a year later, but it's been a wild roller coaster ride since.

Kathleen Smiley:

Top year to open a business.

Danielle Gordon:

It's been interesting. Maybe it's almost better to open up in a tough time to see what you're really made of.

Kathleen Smiley:

Get it over with. Yeah.

Danielle Gordon:

How could it be more challenging than this? But even despite those challenges though, Kathleen, it's been honestly, one of the most fun periods of my life.

Kathleen Smiley:

Oh, amazing.

Danielle Gordon:

Yes, stressful. Yes, there's uncertainty. But to be able just to be creative in this way, to develop a space that really speaks to me and represents what I love for... I care to be has been super rewarding and a ton of fun.

Kathleen Smiley:

So speaking of COVID, and you said the first year of owning your own business is already challenging, then you throw in a pandemic on top of it and you're like, "Okay, let's just go for it." So, did you have to pivot during COVID? What were some of those things that you had to pivot on?

Danielle Gordon:

Yeah. I mean, I think it's a really great question. Pivoting in our industry looks a little different because we're so service based. It's not like we could go completely online, but we did move into be able to service some of our patients on emergency eyecare means remotely and that was helpful. I think... So just to clear things up, we weren't closed down completely.

Kathleen Smiley:

That's right.

Danielle Gordon:

We were still open because we're essential service, but we really pared things down to only urgent eye care, just to keep everybody safe.

Kathleen Smiley:

The DIYs gone bad.

Danielle Gordon:

Kind of. Yeah.

Kathleen Smiley:

Someone gets nail glue in the eye or something like that and you're saving the day.

Danielle Gordon:

Oh, yeah. [inaudible 00:00:06:44]. So we had a few folks who were trying to do some DIY products at home that got a little awry. But other than that, yes, we were effectively closed. So a lot of that time was spent, and it was challenging for me because in a time of quiet, I like to be really proactive if I can, see if I can get ahead in some way or tackle some projects that have been on the back burner. But a lot of the time was really spent almost being reactionary to all of the changes that were coming through, the different government provisions that were in place. We had to just really figure out what we qualified for, what made the most sense going forward.

Danielle Gordon:

But it was also a great time to look at some of the practices we've been doing before and see how we can make them better. So we changed our online booking platform to one that was a lot easier to use. We had to think really carefully about what even frame styling and personal shopping look like on our return. So one of the things that we're really excited to introduce was a personal frame styling appointment.

Kathleen Smiley:

Oh, cool.

Danielle Gordon:

I've always wanted to play with it, but Westman Village in particular, but most optometry practices will have an element of certain walk by traffic. And so sometimes, like any retail industry, you'll have periods where you get slammed with a lot of people and other times that are quiet and it's really unpredictable in that way. But now that we really wanted to be thoughtful about how many people we have in our shop and keeping our patients and friends safe, we opted to book everything by appointment, including pickups, including frame styling. And so now we've actually created an experience where someone can come in and our time is devoted just for them to help them choose their frames.

Kathleen Smiley:

Oh, nice. Personalized, individualized.

Danielle Gordon:

Super personalized and it actually helps us to have a bit more of a prediction of how our day is going to be. And so that's actually worked really well and it hasn't really slowed us down too much at all. So, that's been great. And then otherwise, just being really thoughtful about spacing out our appointments and making sure we're keeping everybody pretty safe.

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah, absolutely. Oh my god. That's the best thing about choosing out glasses, right? You're standing there like, "This one or this one and this one or this one?" So in the topic of the essence of glasses and glassware, what are some of the top trends in terms of frames coming up for summer? Or even, I guess for the fall?

Danielle Gordon:

Here's a few that have been really popular for a while. I think having a really bold acetate frame is one that's been in the mix for a while, but now we're seeing more rounder shapes, more curved shapes.

Kathleen Smiley:

Hipster. The hipster vibe.

Danielle Gordon:

The hipster vibe. It's going strong.

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah.

Danielle Gordon:

There's lots of really interesting metals as well. One of our favorite collections is the Kaleos collection, they have some beautiful gold metals that are in play right now. Dutil's another line that we really love. If you're familiar with Dutil Denim Shop in Inglewood, it's the same kind of group.

Kathleen Smiley:

Oh, cool.

Danielle Gordon:

So they're Canadian-made, we love them. Also SALT has been a really popular line for us and their claim to fame, they have really classic shapes, beautiful translucent acetates and blushes. And then always, you can't go wrong with an oversized frame.

Kathleen Smiley:

Kind of like the one that you're wearing now?

Danielle Gordon:

Yeah. I figured, if I'm going to wear glasses, I'm going to just-

Kathleen Smiley:

[crosstalk 00:09:29].

Danielle Gordon:

Yeah, I'm going to go bold. So that's why I like to play around, but there's lots for every face shape, and I think what's so special about eyewear is you can want to be super bold, you can want to be a bit more minimal and subtle, and there's something that's on trend for everybody.

Kathleen Smiley:

Amazing. And how do you feel about color? Do you like a pop of color, like a red frame or green frame? Is that your vibe? Or your-

Danielle Gordon:

For me personally?

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah.

Danielle Gordon:

I'm trying to get there. I am such a monochromatic dresser. I need a change. But I do like when glasses can be your main accessory and there's something so fun about it because really for someone like myself who, I tend to dress quite understated, sometimes I can add a bit more flare with one of my frames that has a bit more pizazz, for lack of a better word. And obviously I might look like I really thought about it.

Kathleen Smiley:

I'm like, "It looks so put together."

Danielle Gordon:

It's really putting me together. It's like when some people are very good at wearing red lipstick. A swish of red lipstick can make a look come together. Same thing with the right eyewear, it can really just add that perfect little accent that just sets it apart.

Kathleen Smiley:

A little face accessory.

Danielle Gordon:

That's right. A little face accessory.

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah. I like that. And so you work with a lot of wonderful local influencers like Jessica Jansen, Karleen Samson, Michelle McGrattan. So how have working with different influencers in the community aided in your marketing and your marketing mix? How has that played into that?

Danielle Gordon:

Yeah. I mean how those relationships all came about is actually really special because a lot of those ladies you mentioned who've been posting about Sphere or have enjoyed investing with us, those relationships are all kind of organically born. So we're all friends from before, or I worked with them before, I've [inaudible 00:11:00] them before. And there's always a moment of, I don't know if I want to call it anxiety, but expectation when you tell someone what you're doing. For a while, I kept the fact that I was launching Sphere under wraps. And eventually, you do have to tell people, "Hey, this is what I'm doing or this is a new thing I'm working on." And because it's so personal, because it's your baby, you always feel a little bit anxious. What are people going to think?

Kathleen Smiley:

Are they going to judge me?

Danielle Gordon:

What are they going to feel like? Are they going to judge me?

Kathleen Smiley:

Or tell me what to do?

Danielle Gordon:

[crosstalk 00:11:23] think that I'm crazy? But unequivocally, from all of my friends, most people who play in that space, they're instantly like, "Amazing Danielle. How can we help? Do you want us to post about it? When can we post about it?" And so-

Kathleen Smiley:

They're on your level. They're amped. They're-

Danielle Gordon:

They've been such great supporters and I think that's just a real nod to how Calgary is very locally supportive in general. But to have a group of friends and acquaintances who were instantly supportive feels really good. Where I used to work, I was trying to dabble in the influencer space a little bit, because I was learning a bit about influencer marketing, it was all new to me. And I reached out to somebody who I didn't know before and that contract didn't really work out because they had a really high ask. "It's going to cost you this much per photo." And I'm like, "Product for free." And it just didn't really feel organic and authentic.

Danielle Gordon:

And I said, when I launch Sphere, if I'm going to dabble in that world, I really want to [inaudible 00:12:14] people who are truly my friends, who truly support the business. And to have a group of people who just jumped on board without me having to ask was so exciting. I would say that's been really helpful for us. I think to be friends with people who are also really locally supportive, who walk the walk-

Kathleen Smiley:

They get it.

Danielle Gordon:

They get it.

Kathleen Smiley:

You don't have to explain the why, the purpose. They're all in.

Danielle Gordon:

Totally. And they're trusted sources. And so for a lot of people who've come in because of them, whether they're friends with them already or follow them on social media, they get that feeling of authenticity and that's what we're all about and that's what helps it to feel really good and natural and organic.

Kathleen Smiley:

100%. And I feel like you also, from a consumer, a user perspective, it's always fun to know who's friends with who in the business, you know what I mean? And know that, yes, you are actually friends with Jessica Jansen who is such a super human, you know what I mean? And then it's like, "Oh cool. You're friends with them." Or, "Oh, they're friends with them. I was on their Instagram and I saw Sphere tagged." And you go down the rabbit hole and then all of a sudden you're like, "Wow, we really are a small city." Like six degrees of separation is really not even relevant at this point. Everybody knows somebody.

Danielle Gordon:

That's exactly it. And I would say for anybody who's been on that team of people who were posting, it's all people that I've known or that have been linked to others that I've known. Even our designers here were patients and friends of mine from before. Everything's just felt so truly supportive because of that, that it's been a joy to get this started and off the ground. Yeah.

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah. It makes it a lot easier too, and it's more fun.

Danielle Gordon:

Way more fun.

Kathleen Smiley:

Way more fun. Exactly. So I'm speaking of influencer marketing and marketing, what would you say is one of your number one tactics that you use for amplifying Sphere's message to your audience?

Danielle Gordon:

This is where I could use to learn a little bit myself. When you say what's my biggest tactic? I'm really just flying by the seat of my pants, if I'm being completely honest with you. So I do our Instagram and our social, and I don't plan it out. I know someone's going to be rolling over in their bed thinking, "What is she doing?" I don't plan it out. I don't use Hootsuite. I've tried. I really should, but I just post what I'm feeling that day. And I play with hashtags like everybody else, but I think...

Danielle Gordon:

And maybe there's better ways that I could amplify it, but I think for me where I have the most fun is collaborating with other people. I love the creativity that's born when two people from different areas completely can come together and create something really neat. And that's where I get a lot of my energy from. And whenever I've been able to do something that's supporting or working with or drawing forces with someone else that's like-minded in the community, that's always helped to bring more positive tension to what we're doing here.

Danielle Gordon:

And so I think when we talk about marketing, really all it really is is communication. It's connection. It's, how do you relate to the community around you? And when I think about it that way, it really helps me to post things that are true to us and our values and what we really stand for. And if it resonates with someone, hopefully that'll bring them through the doors and we can help them out and take care of them. So...

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah. Amazing. Well, that's one of the number one things that we do at Local Laundry is collaborate. Anyone that is like-minded or has some of our values, has that mission of supporting and building that community side of things, it's just a no brainer. You're like, "Yeah, let's hang out. Let's create content. Let's launch a new product. Or let's do a podcast together. Let's get you on a guest blog." There's so many avenues now that I'm finding, as I become more integrated and more entrenched in the business. And you're like, "Okay, let's pull you in in this direction. Let's get you to do a podcast." You create that piece of content and then that content then can be leveraged on all different forms of media, like our email list, or our social following and all that, and on our website, of course.

Kathleen Smiley:

And then you're diving into you're like, "Do I take this back into the podcast stream on iTunes, on Spotify, on SoundCloud?" And then you're like, "Oh, someone found me on this place." And you're like, "I didn't even know there were podcasts on that channel. Okay. This is amazing." And it just adds to that virility of that message, where people find that message and how they relate to it. And then that creates that really positive two-way relationship that people can make those decisions easily about coming into that brand community. Then it comes right down to like, "Hey, I'm going to call and book an appointment."

Danielle Gordon:

That's a really good way of putting it. I've noticed that about Local Laundry. I think what's so neat about Calgary, so I'm from a smaller town, like Waterloo was smaller when I was growing up and my husband's from a tiny town. Is that, yes, it's six degrees of separation for sure, but Calgary is such a big city and we're so locally supportive. And I feel like that's the energy that Local Laundry's really tapped into, that-

Kathleen Smiley:

Shameless plug.

Danielle Gordon:

... really attracted me to that brand. But it's true now. And I remember coming across your brand a number of years ago and that's why I think I find it so appealing is because it really just puts into physical form a lot of the way Calgarians scale and support their community. And so I want to applaud, [inaudible 00:17:03] applaud Local Laundry for everything they do, because really it's that kind of community building that is necessary all times, especially in a year like this. That's what's really... It's that kind of energy that's really keeping people a little bit more positive than I think they'd otherwise be.

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah. We're just the best and that's the episode. So...

Danielle Gordon:

[crosstalk 00:17:23].

Kathleen Smiley:

That's all there is to say. No. Thank you very much for saying that. I swear that was not in my show notes, but thank you. That's very, very sweet. It's a lot of [inaudible 00:17:36] and they've had this mission of building and supporting the community, everything that we possibly do, everything that we launch, everything that we create is all for that. And so, over the last four years that I've been with the company, really understanding and seeing that, how that has translated between relationships, between photographers, online, offline, it is amazing.

Kathleen Smiley:

And it is something that we can toss around the word community, collaborating, authentic, genuine, but to actually feel those meanings and have someone that I didn't probe to say that, say that to me is really, that is really, really wonderful. So speaking of all that, what is the best advice that you've ever been given?

Danielle Gordon:

That's a great question. And I can't say that I could ever put my finger on the source, but I feel really lucky that I've been surrounded by a lot of really supportive people, in particular really supportive women who are in the small business community. And for a lot of us, stepping out into the unknown is a little scary and putting yourself out there is really daunting. I think if you told me that I'd be starting a practice at this point in my life by myself, I certainly would have thought you were crazy [inaudible 00:18:46] I find myself.

Danielle Gordon:

And it's been so great to be surrounded by people who just say, "You know what? I'm doing big things too. And I'm doing it in the face of being nervous. I'm doing it in the face of fear, the unknown." You don't have to feel completely comfortable to do it. And then you get that kind of support when you do launch to try something new.

Danielle Gordon:

So I would say that probably the best advice is, if there's something you want to do, even if you're feeling a little bit nervous about it and you're not feeling completely certain about the outcome, you may as well go for it. We get one crack at this life, there's no sense in holding back. And I think what this pandemic period has probably taught a lot of us, or maybe reminded us about is the uncertainty that's inherent to life. We don't know what's coming around the corner. This is just an example of it. So you may as well go for those big dreams, go for those ideas. And what's the worst thing that can happen?

Kathleen Smiley:

Right. Right.

Danielle Gordon:

Give it a go.

Kathleen Smiley:

Give it a go.

Danielle Gordon:

Give it a go.

Kathleen Smiley:

That's amazing. I love that. And so now just circling back, would you say navigating through the pandemic has been the biggest challenge that you've faced so far?

Danielle Gordon:

I would say I'd put that right up there. Yeah.

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah. That's top three.

Danielle Gordon:

That one's getting up there. I think for me, launching Sphere and heading it by myself has been a huge growth [inaudible 00:00:19:54]. There was nothing that really... So, I mean, you go through optometry school and you learn all about physics and biology and healthcare and how to be a good clinician. We had a class, I think, for about half an hour a week for one semester on everything business. That was from how to read a contract, to how to hire people. And it was so brief. So really this has been just a massive learning curve for me.

Danielle Gordon:

And I think the pandemic, I guess... Sorry. [inaudible 00:20:21] you said it was going to happen, and it happened to me. I am so sorry.

Kathleen Smiley:

No. No.

Danielle Gordon:

I am so sorry.

Kathleen Smiley:

No. My god. Don't say sorry. What would you say is one of the biggest challenges you've faced so far as a brand?

Danielle Gordon:

Okay. Yeah. I mean, the pandemic is a big one. I think, quite frankly, if this had been happening to me in isolation, my head would be popping off. But to know that every business in Calgary, every family in the world is going through the exact same thing is pretty-

Kathleen Smiley:

That's a crazy thing, right? Yes.

Danielle Gordon:

Yes. It's insane.

Kathleen Smiley:

Knowing that you're not alone, right? It's not like you can escape this. Every single piece of the entire world is going through this.

Danielle Gordon:

Completely. Yes. Some businesses are busier than ever, some are slowing down, big businesses aren't immune to this. It's just really incredibly [inaudible 00:21:14] time. I think really the biggest challenge is probably what it's always been, how do I create value? How do I create an experience that people really love? How do we keep everybody safe? How do I create a wonderful team? I think there were the same challenges before the pandemic, just now it looks a little bit different.

Kathleen Smiley:

A little different. That's what we thought too. When we first, pandemic hit and then we were like, "Okay, a lot of people probably aren't going to be spending the same amounts of money that they are, but they were transitioning to purchasing things online." And then we thought, "Okay, how can we meet customers where they're at right now? Whether they're suffering a huge loss, whether they're really thriving in this atmosphere, whether they're just uncertain? How can we provide value, like you said?" And then meet people where they're at right now? Which I think you guys are doing a fantastic job, personalizing, taking one-on-one meetings, limiting the amount of people that can even be in the space. But you're meeting people where they're at.

Kathleen Smiley:

People always want individualization. They always want to feel like they're the number one priority. And then taking that approach, I feel like is a really good way to find that light when you're like, "What the freak are we going to do now?"

Danielle Gordon:

No, a little bit. And I think retail experiences can be fraught with emotion. Everybody talks about buying a bathing suit, how awful that can be. And the reasons why.

Kathleen Smiley:

It is awful.

Danielle Gordon:

And how do you make that experience less painful for people? And interestingly, I can't remember the source of this information, but apparently buying eyewear and eye care experiences are nerve wracking for people. They're worried about their vision. They're worried about eye disease. They worry about investing in eyewear. And in creating Sphere and thinking about even the design of the space, I really wanted to create a place that felt like you could feel at home. You could just feel peace and calm and just feel like you're-

Kathleen Smiley:

It is very calm in here, not that I'm looking around.

Danielle Gordon:

Quite frankly, this is how I want my house to look, so being at work is actually kind of nice because my house does not look like this. I kind of feel like I'm living my interior decorating dream.

Kathleen Smiley:

How would you describe the... Is it like Scandinavian sorts of like tones?

Danielle Gordon:

Thank you for saying that. That's what I really wanted. Yes. I love Scandinavian design, just really easy on the eyes, peaceful, largely monochromatic. It's a great backdrop foe eyewear, et cetera. And then I also really want to set the stage for a really calming experience. And I think, at any point in time, people are looking for that. They're looking to have someone who knows them by name, who really wants to take care of them, remembers things about them, who takes into account the lifestyle and making decisions or recommendations about their eyewear or eye care devices.

Danielle Gordon:

But now, especially at a time of social isolation, and I think we can't minimize how much, much as there's blessings in this pandemic and opportunities to be taken, to slow down and be reflective, for a lot of people, it's really anxiety producing. They've lost social connection and so to bring people back into the fold, we hope to keep being motivated to provide that really high touch experience.

Kathleen Smiley:

Yeah. Yeah. Love that. Love that. Well, I won't take up too much more of your time, so I will just ask you a couple more questions. So what kind of new exciting adventures do you have coming up for the rest of this year?

Danielle Gordon:

Well you know what? A lot of those new and exciting ventures involve hopefully hosting events and collaborating in that way. So that does not look nearly the same, but we're trying to figure out ways to provide a bit of excitement online through social. [inaudible 00:24:30] pay attention to our feed for little opportunities. We may have some in-store promotions or sales coming up in the fall. We have our eye on a few more eyewear lines we'd love to bring in. So when those launch, we'll be sure to announce it on our social. And yeah, a couple of things in the works that I'm working to flesh on right now, but pay attention, those should be coming up soon.

Kathleen Smiley:

Amazing. And the last thing I wanted to ask was about your Fit to Read reprogram.

Danielle Gordon:

Yeah. That's a real passion project. That launched a few years ago and what I really wanted to do was to find a way to connect books with kids. And I love Calgary Reads. I love what they do. I love their mandate. And so, now that program's turned into a way to collect books on behalf of Calgary Reads and donate it to them.

Kathleen Smiley:

Oh, fantastic.

Danielle Gordon:

So every fall we run a book drive and, well, we'll collect books all year round, but really have a big push in the fall to collect books for kids. And so this past year through the help of some amazing patients and friends, we collected over 3,000 books to donate to Calgary Reads, which was huge and great and it felt so good to do. And now that I don't know if book collection looks the same post-pandemic, those have been in people's homes, I don't know if those are safe to collect anymore in the same way, but certainly we'll look to financially support the Fit to Read project and Calgary Reads, in particular, going forward because I really do feel like there's so much importance that we need to drive for education. It opens so many doors and where does that start? It starts with reading. And if we can create a community full of joyful readers, I think that really does change the fabric of our community and hopefully, the Fit to Read project helps to play a little role in that way.

Kathleen Smiley:

Fantastic. I love that. The last thing is how can our listeners and community continue to support you and Sphere Optometry?

Danielle Gordon:

Sure. I mean, definitely follow along with what we do. We're on social @sphereyyc on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Reach out to us on those platforms. We're always happy to engage. Certainly if you're looking for an eye exam or an eyeglass refresh, absolutely. Or if you're wanting to collaborate in some shape or form, let us know. We're always up for new ideas and fun things.

Kathleen Smiley:

Perfect. That's amazing. Well, that is everything. Is there any final thoughts or anything you want to leave everybody with?

Danielle Gordon:

You, I just want to say thank you for having me on. This has been a ton of fun. This is my first real podcast. So I'm excited to be here and keep up the good work on behalf of Local Laundry. This has been a great experience and thanks for coming to our space.

Kathleen Smiley:

Of course. I'm happy to be here, I'm happy to have you on the show.

Danielle Gordon:

Thank you.

Kathleen Smiley:

Well, that has been Spilling the Tea podcast, we have officially split the tea with Danielle and we will see everybody in our next episode.

Kathleen Smiley:

Spilling the Tea podcast is brought to you by Local Laundry. Made for creators, influencers, marketers, and entrepreneurs, each episode, we spill the tea on new marketing tips and tricks while laundering insights from guests and hanging local laundry, insider secrets out to dry. Wash up on your marketing, creating, and influencing know how and stay tuned for new episodes and weekly chitter chatter.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR STORY REACH OUT TO US AT INFO@LOCALLAUNDRY.CA.
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