The Great Brands of Optics: Alain Afflelou
Talking about the Alain Afflelou brand is first of all to mention the story of a man. But above all of an entrepreneur, who has, over time, evolved his vision of the optical sector. A vision he had great from the start of his adventure. Because this eyeglass enthusiast is not the type to stop there.
After having made his brand a pillar of French optics , he does not hesitate however not to question oneself. Always to be one step ahead. As a good entrepreneur, he was able to move towards other spheres to establish himself as a jack-of-all-trades leader.
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Alain Afflelou: discreet beginnings but an already well-defined horizon
Born January 1, 1948 in Mascara, Algeria, Alain Afflelou left for France with his family following the country's independence. He settled near Bordeaux, then obtained his diploma at the institute and center of optometry of Bures-sur-Yvette, in Essonne.
He then returned to the Bordeaux region and opened, in 1972, at the age of 24, his first optical store , in Bouscat. The 1970s was precisely the decade when a business model from the United States was still in its infancy.
This model is the " franchising " system. In French, the franchise . Alain Afflelou wastes no time. In 1978 he decided to create a franchise network that bears his name.
Seven years later, the bar of 100 stores has been crossed. In 1985, he launched "frames at cost price", a commercial policy which largely solves the needs of the French. At that time, for a large part of them, pairs of glasses were still very expensive.
International openness and shifting up a gear
Building on this enriching experience, Alain Afflelou decided to open franchises in Europe. It was done in 1998 with a first store in Belgium. At that time, the businessman had already diversified his activities. In fact, he is deeply involved in another of his passions, sport, notably football and rugby.
After having sponsored AS Monaco between 1986 and 1988, he becomes president of the Girondins de Bordeaux of Zidane, Dugarry and Lizarazu.
But the most striking moment of the brand, it is certainly the Tchin-Tchin UFO . This operation, which consists of offering a second pair of glasses for only one euro more, is accompanied by a roaring advertising campaign and considerably changes the optical-eyewear sector.
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The gamble to make quality glasses and glasses accessible was successful, and the brand then established itself as one of the most innovative on the market.
In 2005, we already counted 100 franchises in Spain. In 2009, we celebrate the opening of the thousandth store in the world! And the innovations do not stop there.
Because the Afflelou brand is not just a commercial and marketing adventure. It is also the creation of an unbreakable glass , 2AI, in 1994, or a box intended for presbyopes , Forty, in 1997.
In 2011, the brand launched into the hearing aid market, with Afflelou Acousticien . At the end of the 2010s, it celebrated its 40th anniversary, and the 20th anniversary of the Tchin-Tchin program.
Today, the brand has more than 1,400 stores and international development continues, with openings planned in Kuwait and Colombia.