In January 2016, Chantal started her education to become an optician at Specsavers Zaandam, the Netherlands. During her training, she found a lot of similarities between optics and her previous jobs, such as being customer-oriented and having personal interaction all day. Also, her new working environment suited her: “When I first heard that Specsavers is a family company, that didn’t matter to me that much. But later on, I noticed that the whole company vibe is about family. Specsavers is a huge organisation, but feels small: it’s easy-going and personal contact is never far away. If you need anything, there are so many people you can talk to. For example, all stores can call their regional manager, there are people at the support office you can reach out to, such as HR, and my team feels like family: you create a bond while working together.”
Chantal kept on studying: she also got trained as a contact lens specialist and found out more about the partnership. But first, it was time for a new move. In January 2020, she went back to live in the north of the country again, where she had accepted a job at the Groningen city mall Paddepoel. The optical industry fits her like a glove: “As an optician, you have to be caring and listen well to your customers, because you function as a filter, so to speak. You have to be able to select certain elements from a long story that a customer tells you. The combination of this customer contact and the commercial aspects of this profession appeal to me. I’m very proud of what I’m doing here. Specsavers may be a large company, but service comes first. We’re definitely not doing assembly-line work!”
She loves the space she gets to leave her mark: “Naturally, there’s a planning, but at Specsavers, you can follow your own pace. In my case, I perform eye examinations relatively quick, which gives me more time for the anamnesis, which I find the most interesting part of my job. What’s great here is that everyone can organise their own work. Determine how you like to handle things, talk to your store manager – things don’t have to be done in a certain way, you can develop your own approach.”
Recently, an opportunity arose in Groningen that seamlessly connects with Chantal’s drive: because of the store partner’s retirement, there was room for a new entrepreneur. Chantal: “I’m thrilled with this new career move! Specsavers Paddepoel is a great store with a great team; I can see myself as an entrepreneur here.” She has just completed the ‘Partner in Development’ training programme and will start as an optical partner soon. Already now, she’s closely aligned with her colleague, also a partner but with a background in retail. She’s looking forward to performing her new role: “It brings along so many opportunities. How do we handle things? What could we approach differently? I love speaking to customers and building a team.”
The Specsavers partnership is an excellent way for Chantal to have her own business, because there’s a big safety net, and she can be physically present in the store. “As an entrepreneur, you have to take care of every single thing yourself, such as the business administration. That’s not my cup of tea. I’m not the type of person that wants to sit behind a desk all day and work on a computer. It’s wonderful to rely on the support of, for example, the finance department. Because of the support Specsavers offers me, there’s more time to focus on my profession.”
Are you interested in becoming an entrepreneur at Specsavers in our partnership too? Read more about our possibilities.