Boss in the Bay State: Lauren Downey

February 5, 2024  | 

Thank you for following along with our Boss in the Bay State series, a monthly blog post that highlights remarkable professionals throughout Massachusetts.

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Introduce yourself! Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lauren Downey. I am a 37 year old mother, wife, and business owner. I have two children, Ollie and Ada, and a wonderful husband named Ryan. We also have a pretty stellar St. Bernard named Wilson. We live in Middleboro and I grew up locally in Carver. My favorite things are traveling, musical theatre, crafting, snacks and family time. I am an optician! I started in the field after a career change in 2011. Many people confuse the term optician and optometrist. An optician is a person licensed to make and measure eyeglasses and contact lenses.

What made you want to start your own business?

I decided to start my own business after I had my second child. I had been working for the same family company for 8 years which I loved, however, I was commuting an hour each way a day, sometimes more depending on 495. I quickly realized this was not conducive to mom life. I decided to change jobs and when I realized most of the optical shops in my area carried mostly the same thing, I decided to make my own and do something different! I set out to create an optical shop that supported small business instead of feeding into the large conglomerates of our industry. This set up offers more selection, quality and value!

What do you love the most about owning a business in Massachusetts?

There are definitely pros and cons to owning a business. The things I love most about it are being the one who decides what product we are going to carry and what businesses we will and won’t work with. I also love having the primary voice when it comes to customer service which I take very seriously. Having a business in Massachusetts specifically means encountering many different people in a small area so you have to be ready with an assortment to accommodate every style.

What are your favorite small businesses to support in Massachusetts?

My favorite small businesses in my area are Pizza Pirate, Fishers Pub, Skin Esteem Spa and Modern Millie Clothing Co.

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?

The future is unpredictable. Be prepared for anything and everything. I started my business the month before COVID happened. I made it through and was blessed enough to grow but many small businesses did not. I never anticipated it and I do not think anyone else did either.

If you weren’t in your current position, what would your next dream job be?

My other dream job would be a teacher. I have considered doing both part-time. You only get one life so to have the ability to dabble in many fields is a wonderful thing. I love learning and opening my eyes to new things.

When you’re not working, what activities do you enjoy?

I love the theatre. I also like the gym, I am currently training for the Boston Marathon in April. I am a big foodie so trying restaurants is a favorite as well. Even just a relaxed evening hanging out with my kids and making cookies is a great day for me!

Thank you for sharing more about yourself! Tell us how we can get in touch with you or find you online.

You can learn more about Lauren and Spectators Eyewear via their website, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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