Elegant Eyes™ is a family owned and operated optical center with a rich history that dates back to 1987. The family business began with James and Doris Slaughter of Slaughter’s Opticians in about 1960. In 1987, Denise, opened the flagship Elegant Eyes store on Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. In approximately 1992 Elegant Eyes presented its second location in East Orange, New Jersey and it stayed opened until 1999. In 2003, Denise and her children Utenzi, Cabral and Jameel re-launched the East Orange location based on pure demand by their loyal clientele. The Legacy of Vision continues with the spring 2010 Grand Opening of the Plainfield Elegant Eyes Eyeglass Store.
Elegant Eyes is the largest minority owned full service optical center in New Jersey.“We are dedicated to providing exceptional service and the greatest selection of quality eyewear to customers, while building and nurturing long lasting relationships with customers and with the community.”
“Every customer is like our only customer.” Denise Slaughter
A “daughter of vision,” Denise Slaughter has led the growth and expansion of Elegant Eyes since its inception in December 1987. A graduate of Essex County College and a licensed Optician, Ms. Slaughter’s entry into the field of ophthalmic dispensing began as child, assisting her parents in their eyeglass store after school. Denise came up during a time when working was not an option for every one in the family, and this is how she raised her children. As business blossomed in her parents business, Slaughters Opticians, she received special permission to complete her final year of high school at night. This allowed Denise to work in the family optical store full-time during the day. This exposure to the daily operations of an optical center was the ideal foundation for her success at Elegant Eyes and ultimately solidifying the growth of the Elegant Eyes optical chain.
A recipient of the Grace Reformed Church, “Business Woman of the Year” award, East Orange YWCA, “Adult Achiever,” award and longtime supporter of the NAACP and other various organizations, Ms. Slaughter is dedicated to improving the quality of life in Newark, East Orange and abroad.
Utenzi Miller-Johnson, is the driving force behind the daily operations of the Elegant Eyes optical centers. Utenzi has been in the optical field since she was very young. A 1996 graduate of Essex County College’s ophthalmic dispensing program, Utenzi’s primary goal when assisting customers is to “listen to what they want and help them find the right “look”, the right look can be an amazing self-esteem builder.” Utenzi’s additional goal is to ensure the well being of their vision and the overall health of their eyes
A third generation in the optical business, Utenzi often points out that while she has always been involved with the family business, she was required to complete her optical apprenticeship outside of the business. That experience of business operations beyond Elegant Eyes gave Utenzi the broad based business experience needed to successfully manage the challenges of being an African-American female business owner in a male dominated industry.Utenzi is a member of the Opticians Association of New Jersey, National Association of Female Entrepreneurs and the NAACP.
Cabral Miller is the Marketing Maestro for the Elegant Eyes optical chain. In addition to his involvement with the store’s day to day operations, he leads the marketing and brand development of the business. Cabral grew up working in the family business, but it was during his studies at Rutger’s University that he discovered that his true calling was in the optical industry. His innovation and affinity for technology helped the company to successfully capitalize on the benefits of web initiatives and social media. In order to better serve the business he is currently enrolled in the Ophthalmic Technology program at Essex County College.
Cabral effectively integrates past trends with the present through his choices in eyewear collections and keen sense of style. He recognizes that eyewear today is not just a medical aid but a fashion accessory. He has a loyal set of customers ranging in ages from teens to senior citizens. Many of them will only allow Cabral to select their eyewear. A perfectionist of sorts, he takes tremendous pride in helping customers find a look that complements their face, lifestyle and personality. “I want folks to look good, feel great and continue to allow me to serve them”
An active member of the community, Cabral is a supporter of the NAACP, the East Orange Rotary Club and St. Phillip’s Academy. Cabral is a firm believer in living the best life possible and paying it forward. His long term goal is to ensure that Elegant Eyes develops and maintains strategic alliances with the community by adopting families, donating eye exams and underwriting the costs of eyewear for the less fortunate. “I feel I live my best life when I am helping others”.