A MOTHER and daughter who took the plunge and launched a boutique opticians during the pandemic have won national recognition.

Tracey and Georgia Rae are celebrating after their Rae & Rae Independent Opticians, in Bishopthorpe Road, York, was shortlisted in the Optician Awards.

The family-owned business is a Fashion Practice of the Year finalist, while dispensing optician Lesley Collins has achieved recognition in the Dispensing Optician of the Year category.

York Press:

From left, Lesley Collins with Georgia and Tracey Rae, of Rae & Rae Independent Opticians, in Bishopthorpe Road, York.

The annual ceremony which recognises and rewards excellence in optics, attracted a record number of entries this year.

The achievement comes less than a year since the practice officially opened last December.

Rae & Rae is fronted by Tracey and Georgia, alongside Lesley, and champions fashionable, exclusive, eco-conscious and ethical brands.

For the Fashion Practice category, judges were looking for a store that is proactive in sourcing eyewear that makes it stand out, and one that displays trend leadership.

“We’re a relatively small, boutique store so can’t stock loads of brands,” said Georgia. “All this means is each of our ranges must earn a place in our store. Alongside a couple of big names, we strive to stock smaller, independent brands, championing British eyewear and brands with strong eco-credentials and ethics.”

Rae & Rae have worked hard to secure exclusivity with several leading sustainable brands, carving out a niche in the area as a stockist of environmentally-friendly eyewear.

“Three of our newest brands – FEB31st, ECO and Hemp (none of which you will find anywhere else in York) – offer our eco-conscious patients fantastic choice.

"Via these three brands we can offer an array of sustainable material options – bio-based acetate, ocean-plastic, recycled metal, wood and hemp – allowing our patients to express their style whilst also being part of positive change for the planet,” said Georgia.

Praising Lesley's achievement, Georgia said: “It’s more than just a job, it’s something she genuinely loves. Both the team and, more importantly, our patients see that. Lesley makes choosing new glasses fun and enjoyable. It’s a privilege to watch her work, and ultimately to see the smiles on the faces of our patients at the end.

“We’re incredibly touched by the amazing feedback we have received since we opened. Getting recognition from the wider industry is the icing on the cake of what has been a fantastic first year for Rae & Rae.”

The award winners will be unveiled at a ceremony in December.