Exciting news, I was recently published in LifeInLA.com! Following is the article I wrote (the live link follows the article). Enjoy!
Maverick Eyewear is new to the market and is shaking things up. With its unconventional approach to creating custom eyewear and its dedication to making a positive impact in our world, look out — there is a new maverick in town and they mean business.
The definition of a maverick is an unorthodox or independent individual. Maverick Eyewear embodies this spirit by creating an experience unique to the industry. Clients create their own sunglasses based on their choices from three different design frames, five types of beautiful hardwood, and seven polarized lens colors. It is the Tesla model but for eyewear–brilliant!
Maverick Eyewear is a California-based company with headquarters in Venice Beach. They deeply believe in making a positive impact in the communities they touch which led them to become a USA based and manufactured product. Maverick Eyewear uses only California sourced reclaimed wood for their frames and keeps production of the sunglasses in California. They, also, employ local artisans to design and create t-shirts which help support causes in which they believe. A percentage of the proceeds from certain apparel are given to carefully vetted non-profit organizations they support.
Life in LA recently had the opportunity to talk with co-founder Kristin McMullin. She and her husband Andrew pooled their talents and their passions to create what is sure to become a sought after eyewear line.
Life in LA: What is your background and how did it lead to creating Maverick Eyewear?
Kristin McMullin: Coming from a non-profit background in Maryland and D.C., I saw the need to bridge the divide between for-profit and non-profit organizations where the two share, build up, and support each other. I have always had a fascination with the California lifestyle and fashion in general. Sunglasses are an essential piece in everyone’s arsenal and especially here in California. I want to bring my non-profit skill set to a for-profit business and be an example of how these can align to create a corporate culture that gives back as its foundation. After getting married and moving to the West Coast to be with my husband, it became clear that this was our moment to go out on our own and create our dream. We both love start-ups and are basically entrepreneurs at heart.
Life in LA: How would you describe the experience of buying your glasses to your customer as compared to another brand?
KM: Sunglasses are a fashion essential but not a great statement piece because the glasses are not original. Eighty percent of sunglasses are made by one manufacturer for almost all designers. At Maverick Eyewear, we take an unorthodox approach and create all frames in house to the buyer’s specifications. We reinject personalization and style to glasses allowing our wearers to say, “This is ME.”
Life in LA: How did you decide on Malibu, Venice and Manhattan for your glasses’ design lines?
KM: They are three California beaches that each have unique qualities that make up the California lifestyle. Malibu reflects the majesty of nature with Point Dume and El Matador State Beach and its cliffs and rugged rocks dropping into the ocean. It’s a call to nature and all things natural and beautiful which ties in well with the wood of our glasses. Venice reflects the attitude that anybody can come here and be anyone and anything they want without parameters. There is a freedom of self expression without judgment in Venice, no set “norm” which ties in well with our build your own glasses model at Mavericks. Manhattan reflects a small town beach community where everyone knows everyone and wants to help each other. This ties in well with our desire to partner with organizations to help make a positive impact within our community and our world. That is a huge passion of mine and a major driving force of our company.
Life in LA: What is your criterion for selecting outreach partners?
KM: We use the Charity Navigator as a guide. We want to be sure the charities we give to use the money for efforts on-the-ground.
Life in LA: How do local artists get involved with your company?
KM: We use local wood shops and wood that is local to the state of California. We want to keep jobs in the USA and connect to what inspires us through our glasses. We currently, and for the first time, have an open call to artists in regard to designing artwork for our apparel line. Before, we leaned on friends and friends of friends who were local US artists who embodied the maverick spirit.
Life in LA: What do you look for in employees/brand ambassadors?
KM: We look for people who are invested in the community around them; people who are excited to be a part of a non-profit culture inside a for-profit business; people who are creative and nuanced.
Life in LA: How do you see your company growing? What do you want your footprint to be?
KM: Right now we are primarily an online business. We are looking to open a small boutique in Venice and build from there. Our vision is to be maverick, to leave a footprint that celebrates the nuances of individuals and to give back to the community. Not giving back for popularity’s sake, but giving back because I am strongly convicted toward social responsibility and truly servicing a cause. We want to be a company that works with non-profits to make sure they are supported both financially and with feet-on-the-ground participation. We want to have monthly gatherings with them to be there physically and financially and to use our social media to further the causes of our vetted non-profits.
Maverick Eyewear is more than sunglasses. It is where the unorthodox and independent individual can find expression. It reinjects personalization and style to eyewear all while helping better the world around them. You can learn more about Maverick Eyewear and create your own pair of sunglasses at www.maveyewear.com
Here is the link to the article at Life In LA: http://lifeinla.com/life-syle/streams/fashion/132-2012-04-28-02-14-23/19097/debuting-maverick-eyewear-%E2%80%93-stand-out-stand-up.html