Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pair of sunglasses that you don’t need to worry about crushing?
Grab a pair of Roav’s, the world's thinnest, foldable, sunglasses
To find out more behind how Roav Eyewear got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Roav Eyewear founder, Max Greenberg
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Roav Eyewear founder Max Greenberg. Roav Eyewear isn’t your average run-of-the-mill sunglasses brand. They’re responsible for creating of the world’s thinnest folding sunglasses, and idea that Greenberg originally came up with roughly a decade before the first prototype. After iteration and iteration, Roav’s first pair of sunglasses were born shortly after Greenberg finished school and reached a milestone of over half a million sales in the first year, alone. it’s safe to say that Roav is destined for great things in the coming future and we’re STOKED to see what comes next!
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out Roav Eyewear’s website
- Pick up a pair of Roav Sunglasses of your own
- Follow Roav Eyewear on Facebook and Instagram
- More about Roav Eyewear
What is Roav Eyewear all about?
“We make the world’s thinnest folding sunglasses. For comparison’s sake they’re about the thickness of an iPhone so, it’s the first pair of shades you can really fold up and pocket just as easily you would your phone or your keys…”
What made you decide to get started with Roav Eyewear?
“The initial idea actually came way before we actually decided to start a company, I think it was a decade ago or something. I was traveling in Europe with my family. I was being a tourist one day and constantly going into shops and museums, taking my sunglasses on and off and become really frustrated having this really bulky case with me... I remember thinking why can’t these go in my pocket, is it really that hard to make sunglasses that fold up and go in your pocket…”
Did you know you always wanted to design things and build products?
“As a young kid I dreamed of being this mad scientist inventor. I had a sense at a very young age that I wanted to design products and I think specifically at the intersection of engineering, design, and fashion…”
What was the prototyping process like for Roav Eyewear?
“There was the first prototype I did in my last term of grad school. I laser cut sheet metal and I had another company called proto labs, that had this cool DMLS process, it was like a 3D printing of metal, which I used to print the hinges… the final product worked, it folded up, it fit ok, but everything was kind of loose… After I graduated and started looking for manufacturers, I was lucky to find this guy who’s now a partner in the business…”
What came after the success of your Kickstarter?
“We finished the Kickstarter, we were already pretty far into the product development process at that point, we knew the glasses could be made… The next three to four months was basically just manufacturing them at scale, making sure the quality was there, fixing some of the problems we have in the early prototypes, and also figuring out where we go next... After that was the scary part of ‘ok e-commerce is maybe a bit more of a vast ocean that we can get lost in’ and there’s also retail that requires industry connections and sales reps…”
What did the growth look like post-Kickstarter campaign?
“IT’s been really well received and people have been loving the product, using the product. One of the best parts is hearing stories of customers who have some crazy adventure involved losing the sunglasses and refinding them or having them run over by a car and then snapping them back together and working again. People seem to love the product, it was really a matter of figuring out how to scale and deliver a great experience to the customer…”
What would you say has attributed to most of Roav’s success?
“We had a marketing guy shortly after the Kickstarter, but that was when we were making mistakes with our e-commerce channel and really finding our beat. We were getting organic sales and we have a great repeat customer rate which is one of our best metrics… It wasn’t until four months ago that we started advertising again and brought in another marketing guy...I’d say our biggest channel is Facebook...”
Did you have any mentors along this journey?
“I wouldn't say we had a single mentor. I definitely leaned on my dad a bit when I was starting. He works in finance so he was able to help with incorporating the business and getting our accounting set up, all those things that I didn’t really know how to do… The other big place that I leaned on was the Art Center community, here in Pasadena…”
What is your commitment to sustainability?
“Sustainability is something we’re more growing into than we’re really able to fully figure out the early stages. We were so focused on developing the product, making it the way we want it and being able to deliver to our customers at a reasonable priced point and also fast and up to our quality standpoints… We’re just now starting to bring that into front and center. We’re in the process of becoming a member of the 1% for the planet organization…We’re doing our best but I always things there are ways to improve and that’s something we’re really excited to figure out in the next year or so...”
How did you come up with the name?
“It started out when I did this as a grad school project as Wander. I like the idea of using an adjective as a noun, describing the experience and making that part of the name. Then, in the process of rethinking it, I think a friend of mine had the idea for ‘rove’... we didn’t love that when you type it into google it took you to Rove.com, it was all about Karl Rove. We decided to change the spelling, and make it a little more unique…”
What advice would you want to give someone who wanted to start a business?
“I think I would probably advice that they try to focus on a specific user group or audience and not try to be too broad. I think that’s something that we struggled with initially. We loved our product so much and we thought there was so many people who would want to use it that we didn’t allow ourselves to focus on a specific market…We wanted to be everything to everyone. A company can still grow into that but, to focus on a specific niche audience initially, I think gives the brand a stronger voice and a stronger story...”
Where do you see Roav Eyewear headed into the future?
“I’m really passionate about everyday carry items and also different ways you can travel and the tools that inspire those. Before I went to grad school I really wanted to be a mechanical watch designer… I’m still really drawn to the idea of making items and tools that are just a bit better than they are right now so, I can see us getting into watches and wallets. We want to continue to grow the eyewear part of it. We’re also working on optical frames that can have prescription lenses into it…”
What’s the best part about running and building Roav?
“I’d say the product development is what keeps me going. Less than 10% of the time I spend is doing product development but, it’s why I got into this, it’s what I have so much fun doing…”
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