Kirsty Shaw’s career to date is a great example of just how far you can go with Specsavers. Here, Kirsty talks about her career progression, starting at just 18 in the UK, to the incredible place she is now as a retail partner and business owner at Specsavers CF Masonville Place after relocating to London, Ontario.
What has inspired your journey within the optical industry?
I joined Specsavers in the UK when I was 18 years old. I saw an advert for a position at a Specsavers location and it really appealed to me. I began as an eyecare consultant and took every opportunity for learning and development that I could, including training as a dispensing optician. I loved the idea of being able to flexibly study alongside full-time work and gain a degree without the usual student debt.
What is your favourite aspect about business ownership?
I absolutely love the freedom of running the business alongside my optometrist partner, Dr. Ellen Sun, and being able to build and coach our own team. Every single day when customers tell me how much they’ve loved their experience and how fabulous the team is, I feel a tremendous sense of pride.
How has business been since opening your doors at Specsavers CF Masonville Place?
The first few weeks and months were a rollercoaster! It was incredibly hard work, with a lot of learning, but the highs were amazing. A particular highlight was our team target of achieving over 100 exams per week for the clinic in our first three months. We’ve also had success with outside prescriptions, customer feedback, and team engagement.
What are you hearing from customers at your location?
It’s the platinum service moments that we really love to hear about. For example, one lady came in on her birthday and was delighted when a member of the team presented her with some chocolates. Another thing that our customers love is our polaroid camera for our younger customers to take away a photo of the glasses they’ve chosen to show their friends and family. Small gestures can really go a long way, and we love hearing that we’ve made someone’s day.
What has been a pleasant surprise about partnering with Specsavers in Canada that you didn’t expect?
The best surprise has been the camaraderie. As a newcomer to the country, it’s hard to start fresh with no friends and extended family nearby. But, I can honestly say that I’ve made some incredible connections; a couple of other retail partners in particular who I speak to every day. The Retail support team has also been there to lend an ear if I’ve had any questions. Having that support network has made things so much easier.
Best of all, I absolutely love working with Dr. Sun – we’re definitely a perfect match in business partnership. We enjoy every day!
Did you always want to be a business owner? What inspired you to feel ready to make this change?
I was definitely inspired by the partners at my previous store in the UK who were an excellent example of how a great partnership makes a successful business. They always encouraged me to take opportunities and gave me the confidence to believe in myself.
The career development plan within Specsavers makes the journey to being a business owner achievable. The fact that I joined in an entry-level position as a teenager with no optics experience at all, and now have a degree and business of my own in Canada is testament to their commitment to providing opportunities and developing employee talent. The partnership is tried and tested worldwide. There was no doubt in my mind that it was the right choice for me and my family.
What words of encouragement do you have for someone considering joining Specsavers?
As long as you have the right attitude and work ethic, you can grow your career in ways that you didn’t know were possible. It’s a wonderful way to spend your days knowing that you’re genuinely making a difference to people’s lives. There’s a great work culture and although we work hard, we have a lot of fun too!
If you’re passionate about changing lives through better sight, let’s get in touch. Learn more about opportunities and relocation support by reaching out to our recruitment team at email@example.com.