Merivale Vision Care - Joelle
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Major science nerd & total mom. Love dark chocolate, my husband’s hugs, music & working hard.
What makes Merivale Vision Care different form other optometrists and eye care centres?
Taking care of our patients eyes is our vocation. It’s not just a job for us, we want everyone who comes to MVC to know that we are here to help them see well & keep their eyes healthy. We feel lucky to have a say in how people see. We carefully select our products too. We know that great lenses & comfortable frames that look good can really improve your quality of life.
You offer a wide range of unique eyewear. How do you decide what frames and sunglasses to carry?
I started buying glasses 21 years ago for my dad’s shop in Montreal. This was lucky, it allowed me to gain product knowledge. When you work with certain materials, cut lenses & heat up frames, disassemble & reassemble lots of different products the quality differences become obvious. This is an accessory that we wear on our face, so it has to look fabulous too. We are so lucky to have so many outstanding brands that manage to make a medical device look beautiful. Independent eyewear companies like Mykita, Andy Wolf & Caroline Abram know how to do this so well, so that’s how we choose! It’s super hard so many beautiful collections out there.
When you aren't tending to the eye health and fashion needs of your clients and you have a day off what do you do for fun?
Hang out with my kids, go to restaurants with my husband, shop in Wellington Village, ski, read & see my friends & family. I am pretty boring!
What is your favourite part of living in Ottawa?
I love that it’s so fast to get everywhere! Love shopping at Vincent & Viens Avec Moi. The decadent buns from True Loaf give me joy. We have tons of friends here, 2 of my 3 kids were born here, it’s really my home now. I also have the best patients in the world & work with the best team making it impossible to live anywhere else, I would have to take like ten thousand people with me!
Has Ottawa been an important part of growing your business?
For sure, when I moved to Ottawa it was hard to gauge the pulse. I was still so Montreal about everything. Now I see the incredible community we have here. How we have managed to be both a big city & a small town. I have made friends with people who love this city. Being in healthcare here is really a privilege, our community has been so supportive & our patients refer friends & family from all over the city!
What has been the biggest challenge to date as a business owner?
The same challenges as all working adults. Work/life balance & self employment are often mutually exclusive. Life is busy, but I love it that way. Keeping my employees happy, engaged & productive is instrumental to providing excellent care so I spend a lot of time & energy on this, it is both challenging & rewarding.
Vision wear is a necessity but there are more options these days what do you see in the future of glasses and contacts?
Great question, many industry experts say glasses & contacts will no longer be in use in 20 years. Research on adaptive lens implants is moving fast (I can write a novel on this topic). The fun thing for us is that although we love prescribing beautiful glasses & sunglasses, we are doctors & we get the diagnostic medical tech too & the sky is the limit for that! Vision science is advancing fast & I truly think our workflow will be very different even in 10 years.
During the work day if you get-a few minutes away do you have a favourite place close by for coffee or lunch?
Business owners tend to work even when they aren't at work. Is there anything that keeps you up at night?
I do get excited about office renovations, equipment purchases & patient experience.
You are heavily involved in a number of different charities. Is this an important part of the Merivale Vision Care culture?
This is central to working at MVC - we have sponsored several guide dogs for the Canadian guide dogs for the blind. Our fave team building activity is cooking a meal at the shepherds of good hope. We support the Zonta club of Ottawa. They are the most incredible group of ladies that work to advance the status of women in so many meaningful ways.
What is the most important thing for someone to consider when looking for new glasses or contacts?
Find an expert you trust & collaborate with them. It’s your eyes, what can be more important?