From Grandfather to Grandson
A New Generation Distribution Company
Our company Opak Lens has a great reputation and it is well-known as the widest distribution network in Turkey for opticals industry.
What underlies such description “widest distribution network for opticals industry” are a solid strategy, significant labor, long years of experience, continuous transfer of profits into investments, and enormous efforts of hardworking and committed staff of over 400 individuals.
A dream has led us today. A dream of a 10-year old boy waiting in a queue in front of a warehouse at Sirkeci for optical lenses.
The boy, whose grandfather and father were also opticians, worked for both getting experience and helping the family at the optical store during his summer holidays by fetching the optical lenses from warehouses.
A dream of a boy who imagined to fulfill his job as soon as possible to be able to go back to his friends for a competitive soccer game. My dream.
I have never forgotten my those summer days as a boy standing and waiting at the never-ending queues. I was imagining a warehouse, where each and every product can be found, and where no queues exist at all… Moreover, a place where you can order any optical product you need without having to visit the warehouse. I still remember the details of a well designed warehouse in my imaginations where you will never have to wait in a queue...
Many long years after this, I have become familiar with contact lens, when I started my professional career. The times when I worked with my father at the family’s optical store in 1993, I started to sell contact lenses.
During those days there were no laws regulating contact lens sales, therefore, the product was being marketed at doctors’ offices, optical stores, pharmacies, perfumeries etc. From that date until 2004 I managed to reach 10% share in contact lens market at our family's optical store. Finally in 2004 the Law on Opticianry 5193 came into force which stated that “optical stores were granted as the unique retail selling points for contact lenses”.
Then I realized it was time to make my childhood dreams come true, and together with my partner Turgay Coşkun we gathered our limited savings and set off the road. At the beginning there were only my wife Zeynep Harbi and us. Thereafter some other co-workers started to participate gradually. And Opak Lens has become a greater family each and every day.
Today we render services to local independent optical stores allover Turkey through 48 warehouses in 34 cities.
I believe that Opak Lens has added significant values to Turkish optical industry.
Such as fast delivery.
Such as high quality services.
Such as promoting contact lenses and improving of its market
Such as assisting in local independent optical stores for enhancing purchase power, understanding that eyecare always comes before business, highlighting opticianry as a healthcare profession, struggling against illegal online contact lens sales through internet.
Even though the Law 5193 explicitly sets forth that “contact lenses may only be marketed by opticians based on ophtalmologist prescription”, unfortunately today internet online sales continues growing. Ofcourse online e-commerce plays an important role in today’s social and economical environment. However, contact lens is a medical prosthesis which directly contacts with the cornea. In other words, contact lenses are medical products. Sales and marketing thereof are being regulated by Ministry of Health. Drugs are not sold online, so why contact lenses are? There are numerous sufferers who experienced eye discomfort based on the contact lenses they purchased online. Such online-marketed optical products may be smuggled, fake or expired products. We should remember that an eye may bring millions of dollars to a person, but millions of dollars do not bring an eye. Any person who prefers online purchase of contact lenses taking into account only the price advantage would do a bad mistake.
We, Opak Lens, are struggling against such illegal implementation. While we have been following legal and judicial procedures, we try to shorten the delivery time of the the local independent optical stores against online contact lens sales. By each warehouse and branch we launch, more and more optical stores benefit from the advantages of such a wide distribution network.
Briefly, Opak Lens manages the widest distribution facilities in the industry, which enabled fast lead times and delivery allover Turkey. As the time goes by it has started to be an exciting idea to supply other optical products through the same network. Accordingly, we launched optical lens project in 2015, which gained speed in 2016, and in 2017 the product range was finalized and became much stronger in order to facilitate opticians’ needs. Today, we are distributing a wide range of products from stock optical lenses to RX monofocals and multifocals. We also had a great step into local manufacturing of RX lenses in 2018 and we made the acquisition of Akay Optik, a well known RX Laboratory in Izmir, by signing an acquisition contract on 16 November 2018.
Akay Optik has been one of the important RX laboratories established in Turkey. Instead of having a governmental support credit and building a new facility which would have caused to create a new competitor in local lens manufacturing field, we preferred to invest into an already well established and well running factory. As Opak Lens and Akay Optik, believing in our own working power of our companies and the high quality of our products we aim to create international new markets for our brands as well.
We founded our second RX Laboratory in 2019, October 10th in Antalya. Why Antalya? Because it is a very popular touristic district where especially attracts European tourists and most of the optical stores in the district supplies products and services to the tourists. Our Antalya RX Laboratory supplies RX lenses within 12 hours. We consider this project as an interim step carrying us to our future international sales plans. However due to the global Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, the activity of this facility was temporarily suspended as tourism in the region was stagnating.
Inherited by my grandfather and dad, I totally committed myself to this profession. All directors of board and I look at the future of our country and optical industry with confidence. We possess and protect he reliance of our customers, our suppliers and our employees as our most important value. Well-aware of such value as a treasure, Opak Lens each and every day endeavors to go further and further.
Hayri Erol Harbi
Opak Lens A.Ş.
Chairman of The Board