SUMMER NIGHTS 2011
Blendz started from a simple idea on a summer night out in San Diego. We were taken by surprise that the inexpensive neon shades we were rocking attracted ton of questions and attention. The idea stemmed from there and kicked us into gear - design fresh, vibrant sunglasses that stand out from the crowd and make you feel good while doing the things you love! The Blenders co-founders were next door neighbors in our last semester of college, Chase a competitive surfer and Blake a graphic designer, and we were both itching to carve out a lifestyle that matched our passions. The name Blenders came from the street we lived on in Pacific Beach … ‘Hornblend’. Sunglasses are a key staple of life on the west coast and at the time we felt like there was nothing on the market that was quality, head turning, and affordable. Plus there is nothing that says ‘cool’ like a good pair of shades. As it turned out, lots of other people felt the same way and the Blenders FeelGood vibe connected with many people all over the world. What started with two guys sketching on the living room floor quickly grew into more than just slinging a few shades to our friends.
"It started with a simple idea and the mission remains the same. Build quality sunglasses with bold, vibrant style at a great price … we make stuff we want to wear ourselves."
Blenders didn’t start with much of a traditional business structure or background. One thing we did have was complete confidence that, one way or another, we could build something different and something awesome. We borrowed enough cash to make 300 pairs of sunnies and jumped straight into the hustle. Pouches and packaging were done by hand - measured, cut, screen printed, and sewn at our house by the beach. ( Any of you still have that original packaging? ) Every step of the way has been a huge learning process and we’ve found that just googling things and giving them a shot has been pretty effective so far.
"The future is bright. Come prepared."
After launching Blenders in Spring 2012, things picked up quickly. Well … not THAT quickly. This stuff is a lot of work. We basically started out slinging shades out of our backpacks after work and on weekends. Friends and family played a huge roll in supporting us at the outset and continue to do so. After all, who but your family would tell you that starting a sunglasses company is a GOOD idea? We were successful with a crowd funding campaign early that summer, gaining almost 200 backers who believed in us and are still customers to this day. From that round of funding we were able to bring out our first line of designs that were picked up in local events and surf shops, plus some key blogs got the ball rolling with sales. Things really took off in the fall when we were featured on two local news stations and nationally on the Today Show.
Through the first two years, we continued to build Blendz by working late nights and weekends perfecting designs, organizing logistics, and packing orders. As new models rolled off the line, the response from the Blenders community was insane and people helped spread the word through word of mouth and social media. When things reached a tipping point, we made the call to leave our full time jobs ( surf instructor and kayak guide ) and jump into our first office to focus 100% on the Blenders dream. We assembled a small team of college students to join the brand and got down to business.
"We decided to go after our passion 100% and that’s what Blenders is all about."
We’ve relied on word-of-mouth from people that are stoked on Blendz and want to share it with friends. Social media has been our bread and butter, allowing us to reach audiences globally and share our slice of California lifestyle with like minded folks everywhere. We routinely ship to countries all over the world and the reach of social media has helped develop retail relationships from Hong Kong to Brazil, Spain to Japan and everywhere in between. Back home we’ve developed relationships with surf shops and boutiques all over California as well as Nordstrom stores across the country.
As we grow, we continue to enjoy the basics that we’ve been passionate about since day one. Fresh design, pushing the envelope, and exploring the active coastal lifestyle that inspires our work. We love connecting with people on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other ways you can get in touch with us. The team is all here at the office in La Jolla, California so stop by and say hi next time you’re headed to the beach!