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Framed for a statement

Published:Thursday | March 3, 2016 | 12:00 AMJanelle Oswald
Chereese Ricketts displays her glasses.
Chereese Ricketts, who designs under the brand name LaVonne, now wears her own signature eyeglasses.
Chereese Ricketts designs are manufactured in Germany.
A selection of frames by Chereese Ricketts.


Today spectacles are the alpha accessories and the must-have frill for fashionistas - so much so trend-setters opt to wear specs for a statement rather than as a medical prescription.

"Glasses say, 'I can see you, and I am a person," states Jamaica's reigning Festival Queen, Chereese Ricketts, who is also founder of Founder of El.Es Eyewear consultancy and eye brand LaVonne, in a recent interview with The Gleaner.

Whether you want to appear sophisticated, fun-loving, youthful, conservative or style-conscious, the right eyewear can help to shape how you are perceived. What do your eyeglasses say about you?

Ricketts says, "Eyeglasses can help people see the real you, or help create the image you want. Glasses don't just alter your physical appearance, they give hints about your personality."

An individual's personality oozes from the frame, hence LaVonne's tagline, 'ordinary is overrated.'

The colour, material, and shape of your frames reveals to people a snippet of who you are.

"Eyeglasses are a pivotal image decision just like clothes, shoes or jewellery, This is why I always do the frame personality test, on new customers before selecting their perfect choice."

The young entrepreneur and member of the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship has created five frame personalities: Funky Free Spirit, Subtle Sweetheart, Elegant Egotist, Natural Nerd and Dramatic Diva.

"Once I have assessed the customer's frame personality they can purchase their perfect eyewear," she said.

Unique Selection

Offering a wide selection of unique, stylish, chic spectacles and sun glasses for all ages and genders, Ricketts' frames are sold in Mandeville, Santa Cruz and Kingston in her parents' stores at affordable prices.

She was raised by an optometrist mother who co-owns three Clearsight Ophthalmic Consultants with her father. They also run Central Optical Company Limited. She describes her parents as her 'entrepreneurial role models'.

Obviously proud of her accomplishments, the Belair High School past student and graduate of the Caribbean School of Architecture - University of Technology, has launched her eyewear brand and mobile boutique.

"I wanted to offer my customers a sense of style and show them a better selection that suited their personality. I grew tired of seeing the same old frames on everybody's face, including mine. Style is not just trend but what represents who you are," Ricketts said.

"I am all about creating solutions for funky, fashionable, trendy glasses to be sold throughout Jamaica, which is why I offer home visit services for those who can't go to any of the opticians; I appreciate how difficult it is to find the perfect eyewear."

Common mistakes

Ricketts three common mistakes people make when choosing glasses are: 'listening to other people's opinions, not having fun with their frames and selecting eyewear based on brand names.'

"I have always worn glasses and after my fourth and yet another boring torte pair, I boldly asked my parents why they had to be so dull."

She continued: "My inquisitiveness inspired my parents to challenge me to select my own frames and also select specs I felt like-minded customers would want to wear. They also invited me to my first trade show."

With that freedom, Ricketts' selections were sold from a special cabinet inside her parents' office. She became the eyewear consultant to see for personality-inspired frames.

"At age 15, my father gave me my first pair of funky eyewear and said, 'Chereese this is your birthday gift, make a business from it and send yourself to school.' Ironically I did. I was inspired to start a different business from my parents and for the past 10 years my brand and customers have not stop growing.

"The success of LaVonne allowed me to financially support myself while at university and made me into the businesswoman I am today," she told The Gleaner.

Being raised by entrepreneurial parents forced Ricketts and her siblings to think outside the box as they were never allowed to sleep around and be lazy. They had to be creative and learn how to make money.