Damon Umscheid, Partner & Founder, Eyes 360
Entrepreneurship calls for a special drive, perseverance, passion, and a certain doggedness. Successful entrepreneurs are driven internally by a strong desire to compete against their own self-imposed standards and attain challenging goals. Instead of viewing competition as an obstacle, they see it as an opportunity and dare to go big and inspire others to dare even bigger. Having an insatiable appetite for new challenges, one such entrepreneur who has set a benchmark in the eye care space with his unwavering dedication, resilience, and perseverance is Dr. Damon Umscheid.
Since childhood, Dr. Damon had a keen interest in sports which instilled a competitive spirit within him. This further shaped him to become ambitious and considering the business as the next best way to stay competitive and continually challenged, he ventured into the entrepreneurial world. But rather than following the typical business route, he decided to plunge into the healthcare space due to his interest in the human body. And this further led to the inception of Eyes 360, a people-focused eye care and eyewear practice.
The Incredible Journey of Eyes 360
In 2019 , Eyes 360 pivoted out of frustration with industry norms associated with eye care. All too often, people seeking quality, personalized vision care are faced with complexity and high costs.., Eyes 360 strives to be the positive change by simplifying pricing and thoroughly curating their product and service offerings. Their focus is providing care they would expect for themselves or their loved ones. Eyes 360 offers a wide array of optimal eye care products and services that bring value and quality to the patients. With an intensive focus on preventive care and early diagnosis, the company is investing heavily in technology while at the same time simplifying its pricing. In today’s marketplace where personalized, in-person service is thought to be complicated and the ease of online shopping lacks compassion and human interaction, Eyes 360 is bringing the best from both of these worlds together under one roof.
“Our goal is to bridge the gap between private practice (continuing to offer personalized advanced medical care)with the convenience and simplicity of online and commercial retailers,” asserts Damon.
Offering All-Inclusive Eye Care Subscription Program
In January 2021, Eyes 360 released the first-of-its-kind monthly Eyecare subscription program called Carefree 360 (https://www.carefree360.ca/member) that is specifically designed to take the headache, confusion, and fluctuating costs of vision care out of the equation – all while serving a greater good. Under this program, its members can get any pair of glasses or contact lenses from Eyes 360, have them fully under warranty, and have continually optimized vision along with advanced medical eye care for one small monthly cost.
“We are rolling this out in limited release and will be rapidly expanding this program in Q3 and Q4 of 2021. We are the first to offer a subscription program that takes all the complexity out of eye care, yet maintains a premium level of medical care,” elaborates Damon.
Turning Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones
Under the indomitable leadership of Dr. Damon, today, Eyes 360 has come a long way since its inception. However, its journey to success was not without challenges. In 2013, the company had to shut down for 4 months due to the High River flood. But rather than sitting back and waiting for help, it rapidly re-built and used some of the financial programs as a way to expand. Similarly, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was another major challenge for the company. But it worked harder than ever before through the shutdown and re-worked their finances to come out stronger on the other side and offer new programs to provide better value to their patient base Instead of viewing obstacles as a barrier to success, Dr. Damon embraces challenges as learning opportunities that help to discover new paths to victory. “I’ve learned to look at problems as opportunities. So while there have been a number of ups and downs I believe this has only made me and our company more resilient,” opines Damon.
According to the avid business leader, every entrepreneur first needs to be a problem solver and then secondarily needs to know how to build up others around them. “Every business will face problems. The best leaders know how to evolve and turn those problems into opportunities. Then in the process, they need to build up their team around them. Nothing great can be built alone and it’s especially impossible if you want to do anything on a large scale. You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with,” affirms Damon.
Chalking the Growth Ahead
Outside the healthcare space, Dr.Damon has also co-founded a company in 2018 in the technology and energy sector and the rapidly expanding company has raised just under $10M in equity and debt financing to date with energy contracts throughout North America. Moving ahead, Dr.Damon plans to continue supporting this company as Board Chairman while working on evolving private practice Optometry. The entrepreneur believes that creating business systems and a simpler value proposition that resonates with the new way people want to purchase eyecare will lead to opportunities for consolidation within the optometry space. “Customers want convenience and simplicity. Unfortunately, if independent private clinics don’t get our act together we are going to continue to lose market share to the larger retail businesses and online competitors that don’t put patients’ medical care first,” adds Damon.
“I see our company proving out our subscription model and then growing this as quickly as possible looking to partner/merge with other private practices who believe that the experience needs to change while the medical care needs to remain at the level we would expect for our loved ones,” he concludes.