Meet The Eye Doctor

Dr. Michelle Calder O.D. Optometrist & Owner of Urban Optiques

A Message from Dr. Michelle Calder

Thanks for considering Urban Optiques for your vision care and eyewear needs.

Rather than give you a another stuffy, canned bio of myself, I thought I would take a few minutes to share my personal story with you. It's probably the best way for you to understand our core values at Urban Optiques and why I believe we offer something distinctly different from any other vision care provider.

If you're really interested in all of that "official" stuff around my academic credentials and licenses, you can find it here. Otherwise, take a few minutes to read my story below. I hope it will give you a better sense of what Urban Optiques is all about.

My Story: From Engineer to Optometrist?

First, a little bit about myself.

This may surprise some people, but optometry was actually not my first career.

For nearly seven years, I worked as packaging engineer in the automotive industry. Yes, you heard that right.

It was a fast-paced job that taught me real-world lessons about working with a diverse and demanding group of people. I enjoyed the challenge, but at the end of the day, something was missing. I wanted a career where I could help people and hopefully run my own business and succeed or fail based on my own decisions.

I had always had an interest in becoming an eye doctor and in 2003, I decided to make it happen.

So I left my engineering job, and went back to school to become an optometrist.

My friends and family were supportive, but they also thought I was a little bit crazy.

Making a dramatic career change mid-stream -- especially one that required an additional six years of higher education -- did seem unconventional and risky.

But for me, to not try this this seemed much riskier.

Given the current state of the automotive industry, the decision now seems particularly fateful.

Why I Started Urban Optiques

From day one, I knew that I would never be happy working as an optometrist in a corporate chain.

That was the type of place I was trying to get away from, not return to. So my intention was always to own an independent optometry practice.

This decision was only reinforced as I did my optometry rotations and experienced first-hand how far behind the health care industry is when it comes to technology, patient and client service and general common-sense.

My colleagues who worked in chain vision centers and big hospitals shared their experiences with patient quotas, broken equipment and corporate policies that sacrificed thorough and personal vision care for profits or volume.

It became very clear that if I wanted to uphold my personal clinical values and set an example for how the healthcare industry should treat patients, I was going to have to do it on my own.

I knew I would never achieve the level of change I was looking for under the thumb of a corporate office or hospital administrator.

So when I had the opportunity to purchase Urban Optiques, I was thrilled.

Dr. Diegel and I both shared a belief that as people experienced the impersonal, cattle-call approach of chain and discount vision centers first hand, there would be a flight back to quality vision care from independent, locally-owned optometrists -- especially practices that placed a premium on providing personalized vision care, exceptional patient service and outstanding eyewear product.

Dr. Diegel had already created an environment that matched my aesthetic and I fell in love with the eclectic, relaxed and fashionable atmosphere of Urban Optiks.

Mission: Transform The Healthcare Experience

When we say that we are relentless focused on changing how people view vision care, we are serious.

Health care and optometry is at least 10 years behind other industries in adopting technology and changing its processes and mind-set around patient care.

So when I look for best practices to apply to Urban Optiques, I have usually have to draw inspiration from outside of health care and turn to service or technology oriented industries like hotels, department stores, and dot com companies.

These industries understand how technology is transforming customer expectations, and they place a high-value on cultivating exceptional experiences that earn loyalty and word-of-mouth. When you visit Urban Optiques, you'll see their influence all around you.

An Optometry Office I Would Want to Go To

At Urban Optiques, I've tried to create the vision care experience that I would personally expect and demand for myself, my friends and my family.

Running a full-scope optometry practice is a 24/7 job, so I understand first hand how challenging it can be to juggle a career or get the kids to soccer practice with all of the other little things that suck up our time and energy.

Our goal is to make visiting the eye doctor or picking out frames something you can actually enjoy, versus being a chore. Achieving that level of patient service and experience is an ongoing mission for us, and one that we can always get better at.

When you visit Urban Optiques you'll notice that we obsess over little things like how people are greeted when they enter the store; or the complimentary espresso, tea and gourmet doggie treats or the music we play in the eyewear display area.

Every one of these things may seem small on their own, but combined, we think it sets us apart from not only the chains, but also most independent optometrists.

Who Urban Optiques Is For ... And Isn't For

While I'd like to think Urban Optiques is for everyone, I realize it won't be.

If price alone is your differentiator, we won't be a good fit for you.

We are, however, very competitive in our professional fees and product pricing, and considering the little perks we provide and extra time and attention we spend on our patients and clients, we believe we are one of the best overall values in Metro-Detroit.

But we are not a discount vision clinic and we don't do lenses in about an hour.

Our clients are fine with that, because vision correction should not be a race to the next appointment.

We value your time and want to get things right the first time, whenever possible. That's why our return rate on prescription lenses is so low.

If getting the lowest price is what you are looking for, Wal-Mart, Costco or Sam's Club would probably be a better fit for you.

On the other hand, if you value personal attention and are looking for the highest quality vision care and great designer eyewear in an atmosphere that turns the traditional health care experience on it's head, Urban Optiques will be perfect for you.

We Love What We Do & So Will You

While we love our Badgley Mischkas and Prada, we're never snooty about it.

All of us at Urban Optiques are passionate about what we do, love great eyewear (and are on a constant crusade to elevate it to fashion-and-wardrobe accessory level) and truly get excited when we gain a new, loyal client or send someone out the door in an amazing pair of frames or sunglasses.

Maybe we'll even transform the health care industry in the process.

Help Us Always Be Better: How To Contact Me

If you ever have any questions about Urban Optiques, please don't hesitate to email or call me.

We love patient and client feedback -- positive or negative.

It's how we get better.

Also, check out The Visionista Blog where I wax poetic on everything from vision health, to great eyewear and fashion.

Thanks again for considering Urban Optiques and we can't wait to help you see ... and be seen.


Warmest Regards,

Dr. Michelle Calder, O.D.

Schedule an Eye Exam with Dr. Michelle

About Urban Optiques

Urban Optiques provides vision care, eye exams & exclusive designer eyewear to Northville, Plymouth, Novi, Livonia, Ann Arbor, Farmington, West Bloomfield, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Birmingham, & Metro-Detroit.

Contact Us

Northville Square Mall
133 W. Main St. - Suite 243
Northville, MI - 48167

Tel: 248.347.9090 Fax: 248.773.7528