Optical Hardware is a small specialist optics company. We design our products for function not fashion, our aim is to provide a comprehensive range of optical products which offer value for money to the user. We are product led, Phil, our product manager is a keen astronomer and physics graduate. Our MD, Chris, is an engineer by qualification/training (and looks after the paperwork!).
We are enthusiasts and we love working with optics yet when we established Optical Hardware in 2005 we knew it would only be sucessful if it was run on strong business principles. It helps, but a business is not sucessful just because you enjoy it!
We had to consider the various methods of getting our product to the market. Selling directly to consumers was one option and we fully understand those companies who deploy this business model. The internet provides a very cost effective method of selling though it not always an appropriate vehicle to fully demonstrate an optical product. Some of our products are quite technical in nature and require hands on demonstartion and explanation. Operating a number of outlets was beyond our means as a new company so we made the decision to sell through independent retailers.
This decision proved to be a good one, in 4 years we have grown to supply more than 200 outlets in the UK and Eire. While it is not possible to fully police every outlet, we aim to select our dealers from those who share our values and enthusiasm for optical products.
Our website has grown to become a very useful resourse of optical knowledge, and we are often asked by consumers why we do not add a "buy it now" section to our site. We have no intention of ever doing this as we feel this would be counterproductive. For our dealers to support us, we must support them so we direct all enquiries to them. Many now carry a comprehensive range of our products and are able to supply most products immediately from their stock.
Many of you ask if working through a third party dealer and not buying directly from us increases the cost. Although adding in the profit for the dealer,you would think this to be the case, in fact it is not true. We give our dealers a generous working profit because we accept that they need this to run their outlets but If we were to supply directly our increased overheads in operating and marketing directly would be similar and there would be no cost saving to the consumer. Furthermore we strongly believe that specialist independent businesses are a vital component in retailing. We have watched large organisiations dominate retail for many years and do not belive it is in the long term interest of consumers. We will continue to support genuine independent businesses wherever we can.