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A vision of business success for musical duo

An entrepreneurial duo, inspired by a love of music, have hit the high note after developing a unique range of glasses and spectacle lenses dedicated to prolonging musical careers.

Thanks to funding from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF), Sheryl Doe’s and Stephen Tighe’s optical ambition was brought into focus when they opened Allegro Optical in Meltham, near Huddersfield.

Stephen said: “Eyesight changes with age and everyday tasks can become difficult. As a musician I began to struggle focusing on the music in front of me and the conductor, who is several metres away. It can become very challenging for musicians and sometimes ends their careers.”

A start-up loan from BEF, a social enterprise offering funding and business advice, helped fit the shop with the advanced equipment needed and contributed to website development ahead of the store’s opening in March.

Stephen 62, a trombonist and conductor, met Sheryl 52, a cornet and cello playing optician, as she treated his eye condition in 2013. Together they took the opportunity to create and develop specialist glasses to allow Stephen’s passion for music to continue.

Business Enterprise Fund start-up client Allegro Optical

Sheryl said: “The technology behind our innovation is a closely guarded secret. It involves complex mathematical formulae and every case we see is unique.

“Thanks to support from BEF, we now have the technology onsite to deal with customers from a distance. Word of mouth has travelled widely in the last few months - we’re even heading to Switzerland to run dispensing clinics soon. Hot on the heels of the Whit Friday contests we are now also planning to visit Norway, Switzerland and Belgium. A charity balloon released during opening day was also appropriately picked up by a musician in Vienna!”

BEF Investment Manager, Julie Micklethwaite, said: “We love supporting innovative and exciting start-up businesses. Sheryl and Stephen could clearly see a business within their idea, all they needed was the finance to get things started.

“Allegro Optical’s offering has immediately gained traction all over the world, with a high volume of footfall. In the first two months, the shop has more than 120 customers and has already served over 25 musicians.

I’m really excited about this business because of its potential for growth and innovative offering. We helped get Stephen and Sheryl started and will be here to support them as they progress.”

Sheryl added: “Music is a way of life and it’s a joy to see how we can help bring it back to people who think they’ve lost it forever.”

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