The son of a baker, Alain Afflelou was born in Algeria, then a French department, and moved to metropolitan France age 14 when his native country became independent. After graduating from the School of Optics in Paris, he enrolled at the University of Medicine in Bordeaux, to study hearing prosthetics technology.
He opened his first optical and audiology store in 1972 in Bordeaux, and soon realised the financial and aesthetic burden attached to wearing glasses, then considered too expensive, poorly reimbursed and unattractive.
In 1978, Alain Afflelou, then 30, put together a revolutionary business based on cut-price frames from all brands and on a unique price for corrective lenses and lentils. The same year, he launched his own franchise, with the opening of three Afflelou stores. The brand is now present in 13 countries, with 1,400 franchised shops.
In 2015, Alain Afflelou was voted France’s favourite entrepreneur, and was nominated the year after as one the “Top 5 entrepreneurs most acclaimed by French people” by newspaper Les Echos.