PBN BUSINESS WOMEN AWARDS 2020 INDUSTRY LEADER, SMALL BUSINESS: Lynne Diamante | OPTX Rhode Island
IF ANYONE COULD represent three blocks of 100 world-class stores clustered in the heart of Beverly Hills within a three-story, red-brick building in Johnston, it is OPTX Rhode Island’s CEO.
Having been around the glitz of red carpets and runways all her life, Lynne Diamante wanted to serve up celebrity-style shopping in Rhode Island. A 24,000-square-foot building on Hartford Avenue focused on premiere eye care, including Rhode Island’s only custom bladeless laser cataract surgery and a first-floor gallery of seemingly endless luxury specs and shades, accomplishes that.
Tiffany, Chanel, Dior, Burberry, Dolce & Gabanna and the exclusive blueLOVE label Diamante created and launched in 2013 are among the more than 1,000 frames that OPTX carries.
“We were always aiming for that quintessential, world-famous Rodeo Drive experience,” Diamante said.
A past beauty queen, U.S. Supreme Court-credentialed barrister, Bravo Network “Game of Crowns” reality TV star and more, Diamante calls OPTX Rhode Island, which employs 20-30 people, her crowning professional achievement. Giving birth to and raising her daughter, Giulia, takes top honors, she said.
Instead of building the business from the ground up, she reached for the stars to establish a national presence for OPTX Rhode Island, then brought it home.
“For us, the pyramid was upside down,” Diamante said.
It all began as what her husband and OPTX co-founder and president, Giulio Diamante, described as a fixer-upper – a dinner date arranged by their fathers.
Within a minute, Giulio Diamante knew he wanted to marry her; he did in 1998. That same year, they launched their advanced high-tech ophthalmology practice in an 800-square-foot office on Rhode Island Hospital’s campus.
By 2002, the two were eyeing a 1,700-square-foot site, more than double the size of their original office. Moving into their new home in an Atwood Avenue medical building allowed them to carry prescription and nonprescription frames and fill patients’ orders there.
Wanting to represent celebrity clients but with few prospects in Rhode Island, Diamante stepped back from practicing general law to raise Giulia and research OPTX’s next steps.
They included an even larger boutique, built from scratch, with crisp navy blue awnings and a manicured lawn outside and luxurious carpets, glittering mirrors, sleek glass shelves and comfortable sofas inside.
In 2010, years of research in stores and cities worldwide culminated in the opening of OPTX Rhode Island, at 1277 Hartford Ave., occupying two floors of the three-floor building.
‘[Lynne’s] creativity is second to none.’
Giulio Diamante, OPTX Rhode Island co-founder and president
Coronated Mrs. Rhode Island United States that year, Diamante tapped into her Rolodex of contacts dating to her 1991 reign as Miss Rhode Island USA and secured exclusive sunglasses sponsorships for OPTX at the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, from 2011 to 2015.
She rubbed shoulders, snapped photos and networked with the glitterati – including Donald Trump, then-part pageant owner. She was there when homegrown Miss Rhode Island USA Olivia Culpo won Miss USA, then Miss Universe, in 2012. When pageant hosts announced the OPTX semifinalist before a live television audience of 17 million in 2013, Diamante was thrilled.
Rock stars. Super models. Sports stars. Celebrity icons. Diamante has styled many A-list clients and will hop on a plane to hand-deliver glasses in time for red-carpet appearances and other occasions.
In June 2016, the Diamantes gave custom Cartier and Gucci glasses to Tony Bennett as invited guests for his early 90th birthday celebration when he received the Entertainment Icon Award at the Friars Club in New York.
Diamante continues to oversee website development, marketing campaigns, photo shoots, in-house design for OPTX-only eyeglasses and sunglasses, and event-planning and fund-raising for causes she loves – including St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“[Lynne’s] creativity is second to none,” Giulio Diamante said. “I see people trying to emulate her all the time.”
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