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Our company story began on a ride. It was a typical Sunday morning group ride. In all likelihood, it was a ride just like one of yours. But, on this particular Texas summer morning, it was sweltering hot, extremely humid and we were suffering.
Our group was riding 60 miles that day, and we were just about at the halfway point. As I recall it was mid-morning and we were slowly rolling up to a major intersection. As I was slowing, my sunglasses began to fog and when I had finally rolled to a stop, my sunglasses had completely fogged. I couldn’t see a thing through my sunglasses. To make matters worse, the inside of the lenses were also covered in a vast sheet of moisture. Here I was, using one of the best sports sunglasses the market had to offer cyclists and they were coming up short, woefully short, in fact dangerously short. As I stood at that light, wiping my glasses on my sweat soaked kit, accomplishing nothing but moving the sweat and moisture around, I asked my ride buddy Brandon a question. Holding up my sunglasses, I asked; “Is this the best you can do?” Brandon, by the way was the manager of a large local bike store that sold me the glasses, and a guy with twenty years experience in the cycling industry. He shrugged his shoulders apologetically and said I was riding the best sunglasses they had for sale. We continued to ride and I continued to consider his answer, when suddenly I realized I might have a solution. Having spent five years in the optical industry, and riding next to a guy with twenty years in the cycling industry, I realized I knew all of the players necessary to create and take to market, sunglasses that were specifically designed for cycling: sunglasses that would solve many of the problems all cyclists face when riding in all of the various and sometimes-harsh conditions in which we ride.
As we rolled out from that light, I told Brandon of my idea and continued to question him about the cycling sunglass market. What became apparent from that conversation was that the current offerings of the existing sunglass market weren’t really designed for cycling at all? They were designed for what the industry generically calls a sports category. Upon completion of the ride, we chatted for a few minutes and we went our separate ways and nothing else was mentioned. Two weeks later Brandon received a call requesting he participate in a conference call. He asked what the call was about and why he was needed on the call. He was told we were starting a cycling sunglass company and we would like him to participate. Brandon later admitted he was stunned and he thought our conversation on that Sunday ride was just ride talk, much like the small talk and conversations that take place on all group rides. The year was 2014 and Zoran Optics was launched later that same year, and Brandon did in fact become a co-founder.
Dana Carmichael - Founder
Zoran Optics LLC.