Ogden company grows its wooden sunglasses market

Thursday , June 04, 2015 - 9:51 AM

By CALEB LARKIN
Standard-Examiner correspondent

OGDEN — “Ogden is a mecca of outdoor activity,” Adam Jackson, local inventor and entrepreneur, said.

With the outdoors in mind, Jackson founded Westwood Sunglasses as a way to tap into a new outdoor sportswear market: wooden sunglasses.

As the company’s president and founder, Jackson, discussed how he wanted to create a product that would benefit Utahns. He decided to get into the sunglasses market after hearing a “weird statistic that Utah has 250 sunny days each year.”

Westwood launched his sunglasses line in November and has continued to grow at a rapid rate.

“We have almost 23,000 followers on Instagram now,” Jackson said. The followers are from all over the world, but Jackson estimates the Ogden area represents 30 to 40 percent of the followers.

The company started from a challenge in an entrepreneurial class at the University of Utah to create a business idea with little or no cost factor. “The challenge was really just to do something,” Jackson said.

Using the Indiegogo crowdfunding website he received almost $9,500 from backers in 30 days to fund production of his wooden sunglasses. A “backer” is someone who gives money on a crowdfunding site to support a product or business.

The idea to use wood gives the sunglasses unique features. “The fact that they float is a huge selling point,” Jackson said.

He also discussed wood as an “eco-friendly” material in comparison to plastic. They plan to partner with treeutah.org to plant a tree for every pair purchased. “Now we are even replanting the trees we are using,” Jackson said.

Westwood Sunglasses now has three owners: the founder, Adam Jackson; Mike Diamond, from Ogden; and Ken Richardson, a former backer. All of the owners are from the Ogden area. Originally they hand- delivered each pair to customers in the area. “It was a great way to meet our backers and connect with them,” Jackson said. They have since expanded and most orders come from online shipments.

Mike Diamond handles the branding and marketing. “Everything you see from the logo, to the images, to the engravings are his (Diamond’s) doing,” Jackson said. He attributes the success of the company to the brand image Diamond created.

The new Tribal Collection introduce new frames inspired by artwork from different cultures around the world. The “Tattoo” model captures the tribal tattoo feel from the Pacific Islands. The “Temple” model resembles the henna patterns from India. “We’ve had a lot of positive reaction from it,” Jackson said. They started another crowdfunding project on Kickstarter in June to promote the new collection. They reached almost 50 percent of their goal after the first day.

“It’s been fun to watch the funding coming in so quickly,” said Jackson. He fully expects the funding to continue to grow at an exponential rate.

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