This past August, Yasmin Boga did what has always been second nature to her – helped someone out in the community. After heroically saving three people from drowning, a man had his wallet, shirt and sunglasses stolen. Without a second thought, Yasmin replaced his glasses as a gift. “It was the least I could do,” she says.
Yasmin is owner of Envy Eyewear Boutique, established in the Beaches 11 years ago. Yasmin has always believed in giving back. And in recent years, there’s been a global component to this family business’ work.
It started with Yasmin’s father, Dr. Amirali Boga, who many remember as the ophthalmologist at Envy Eyewear Boutique. When Dr. Boga retired in 2015, he joined a missionary trip to India the next year with the Global Kindness Foundation, a Canadian-based charity that provides dental, medical, and optical services to people in need worldwide. Yasmin then traveled to Zanzibar, Tanzania in July 2017 to be part of the mission. To this day, Yasmin and her family continue to support eye care overseas through the Foundation, and she looks forward to future trips.
Most of the time, however, Yasmin is busy running her business, which continues to serve loyal customers who love the fact that they take care of their eyes as well as select their frames all at one location. She recently brought in five new collections of frames for her 2018 collection; beautiful frames from France, Italy as well as a popular line, Retrosuperfuture for sunglasses. All frames are selected by Yasmin herself, who visits optical trade shows around the world where designers showcase their products.
“Today’s frame trends include plastic frames and metal,” she tells us, “Customers love the fact that these are lightweight.” Metal varieties include titanium, carbon fibre and aluminum. Round shapes are trendy around the world, as well as large frames. Yasmin was particularly aware of the “round frame” trend when attending a New York show last March. “They’re not for everyone” she advises.
Gone are the days when people had their “one pair of glasses”
“One pair does not suffice for every occasion,” she says. Many have at least three pairs, including sunglasses and perhaps a task-specific pair. And when someone suggests that they only need one pair, Yasmin asks them, “So how many white T-shirts do you need, or pairs of blue jeans?”
Yasmin has been in the industry 21 years. She has always wanted her own business, and after studying business at university, she continued and completed the comprehensive Opticianry program at Georgian College. With much research, she found that a Beaches location on Queen Street was available. The right location and right community for her to set off on starting her own business.
A true family business, customers often see Yasmin’s husband, Moe, visiting at the store when he has a moment, helping where he can, even though he has his own business commitments. As for Yasmin, she’s enjoying the fact that after years of commuting, they both are now in the Beaches community.
“The shop is also expanding,” she says, “So come by. We’re adding a second optometrist, and just recently changed to extended hours for eye exams. It’s been a good year.”
Envy Eyewear Boutique
1944 Queen Street East, 416-699-3407