Intro by Natalie Jacobs, interview conducted by Reis Paluso
I first came across wood sunglasses at a boutique on the Venice Beach boardwalk last year. Their beauty is undeniable. Wood is such a durable material, which means you can do pretty much anything in these glasses. Also, all wood grains are different, so pretty much every pair is unique. WOOED is a new company trying to get their handcrafted glasses out to the masses and since we think the product is so cool, we got in touch to see how they’re Making It work.
It seems as though design and travel were both major drivers in starting Wooed. Can you tell us a little bit more about how those played a part in getting going?
Our sunglasses are designed for people who love adventure, travel and nature. We want our wooden sunglasses to not only allow you to incorporate nature into your daily life, but also bring you closer to nature. Our sunglasses, being made of reclaimed wood, all have a story to tell, and we design the glasses so as to best showcase and reveal the wood’s history and beauty.
In addition, we make sure that our sunglasses had the best specifications so that they can be used for your many adventures and travels. We fit our WOOED sunglasses with 100% UVA/B polarized lens to fully protect your eyes. In addition, stainless steel spring mounted optical hinges are used to ensure our frames fit you perfectly and comfortably. They are also designed to be durable, waterproof and our bamboo surf collection even floats on water, making our sunglasses extremely popular with surfers!
Figuring out the process to make the sunglasses seems like it may have been a big part initially figuring out the business. How long did it take your team to nail it down to something you were happy with?
I don’t think we can say we’re particularly happy with what we have now. While we are proud of our sunglasses, I don’t believe they can’t still be improved! We’re always working with our suppliers to improve our frames and also working with artists and designers to come up with more new and innovative designs.
How much of the process is actually hands on?
Our sunglasses are 100% handmade and we partner up with many different designers and craftsmen to design and create our sunglasses. It’s usually almost always about trial and error if a particular design will work well and sell well.
Why wood sunglasses? What makes Wooed different from some of the other brands making wood shades as well?
We really love wood as a material. Wood has life. It’s so different when something is made of wood. For example, a pair of retro sunglasses made from wood has in it the essence of time. Using plastic is just not the same.
With regards to what makes WOOED different, for one, we truly believe in the quality of our wooden sunglasses. Many of our customers have testified for the quality of design and fit, and that’s something we’re really proud of. In the long run, we would like to differentiate our team as one that is running a socially conscious and sustainable business model.
For entrepreneurs out there are interested in creating things with wood, what are some important things you have learned when working with wood
Every piece of wood is really different – that’s the beauty of it. Especially with the reclaimed wood we’re using for our sunglasses, we’re trying to breathe new life into wood that already carries with it its own little life-story. We’ll have to learn how to select the part of wood that will look best as a frame, then figure out which is the best method to cut and polish the wood.
It seems like a lot of young brands are using things such as Kickstarter and other online communities to build up a following. What types of things have you guys been involved with?
As a young brand, getting featured and publicity is very important for us and so we are actively looking for partnerships online. We are especially looking at getting involved with communities that resonate with our cause and mission, so for example we’re currently trying to partner up with Roozt.com which stocks products from social entrepreneurs.
How has being involved in providing a charitable donations/participation in non-profits helped shaped your brand?
I would think we still have some way to grow in this aspect. Most people know of WOOED as one that produces quality wooden sunglasses that are eco-friendly, not as a company that actively contributes to non-profit organizations. However, it is definitely in the works to reach out to more non-profit organizations and draw a closer link between our sunglasses and these organizations.
Any plans for other products besides sunglasses?
We definitely don’t want to restrict our product range and we have many other wooden products like cufflinks and money clips available right now/in the process of production. However we want our focus to still be on sunglasses right now. I think the more we work with sunglasses, the more things there are to do. At first branching out into other wooden products was definitely on our mind –I mean, how many types of sunglasses can there be? But as we go along we realize there is actually so much we can do! Currently we have in works and in planning many interesting projects, including creating wooden frames in many different funky colors. We’re so excited to reveal our new range!
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