Skip to the content

Rae & Rae Opticians does things Unconventional

December 2023 marked three years since mother-daughter duo Tracey and Georgia Rae launched Rae & Rae Opticians – now a national award-winning business – located in York’s famed indie quarter, “Bishy” Road.

Since opening their doors in 2020, Rae & Rae have built their boutique practice into an eyewear destination, with people coming from all over the north of England to get their glasses fix. They have carefully curated an envious collection of independent, quirky eyewear, striving to stock smaller, lesser-known brands while championing British eyewear and manufacturers with strong eco credentials.

But such a collection deserves a fitting home, so the duo decided it was time for a practice glow up, an opportunity to take Rae & Rae to the next level and really differentiate themselves from high street and other local independent practices in the area, and create a truly special retail environment that aligns with their brand’s – and their own – identities; fun, quirky, and unconventional.

Unenthused by traditional industry shopfitters, Rae & Rae decided to look for inspiration beyond the optical world. It wasn’t long before they came across the impressive portfolio of fellow York-based design and build practice, Unconventional Design. Formed by husband-and-wife duo Clare and James Palmer in 2017, Unconventional Design is a team of local craftsmen and artisans with extensive knowledge and experience in design, creative joinery, building and artistry, all united by a love for – you guessed it – the unconventional.

Having created designs for local businesses, councils, community projects and people’s homes, this was Unconventional Design’s first foray into the optical world. They approached it with their trademark creative, hands on, design-thinking approach. The result; a beautiful blend of pragmatism and theatre. Elegantly curved bespoke cabinetry offers much needed additional storage space. A protruding frame display showcases guest eyewear brands while providing privacy for dispenses. A rejig of the testing space allows for simultaneous audiology and eyecare clinics. Feature vinyl walls in Rae & Rae’s eye-catching brand colours – designed and printed by two further local businesses, Colin Boyter Design and Press Green – make for a truly unique and one-of-a-kind setting for your eyecare experience.

“We are always striving to differentiate ourselves from everyone else out there, whether that’s with our exceptional service, our collection of exclusive eyewear and now – thanks to Unconventional Design – our beautifully bespoke practice. James and his team have turned our ideas and sketches into reality, and we can’t thanks them enough,” commented Georgia Rae.

“It’s always great to work with other local, independent businesses to help them realise their unconventional visions. We pride ourselves on delivering projects that both we and our clients are proud of, and are delighted with the outcome and the initial feedback for this project,” said Unconventional Design’s James Palmer.  

Closed for two weeks prior to Christmas while the refit took shape, Rae & Rae re-opened its doors in between Christmas and New Year. Having already received wholly positive feedback, the team cannot wait to show off the innovative new look to all returning and new patients.

Drop by for a chat, a coffee (perhaps a glass of bubbly if it’s Friday), check out our gorgeous new interior and talk all things eyecare and eyewear.

You can follow the two businesses on Instagram @raeandraeopticians and @unconventionaldesignyork.

Rae & Rae is a family-owned, independent opticians located at 33 Bishopthorpe Road, York. They offer private, NHS and children’s eye exams, designer and independent eyewear, prescription and non-prescription sunglasses, contact lens fits, subscriptions and aftercare, and hear care clinics. Call 01904 611553, email or visit for more information.