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Activewear sunglasses company goodr says it's a 'commodity' not a 'luxury'

Stephen Lease, CEO & Co-Founder of the sunglasses company goodr, joins Yahoo Finance's The First Trade with Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi to discuss the company's overall mission, product designs and names to attract key audiences, recent partnerships with companies like Dunkin' and much more.

Video Transcript

BRIAN SOZZI: Welcome back to "The First Trade." Sunglass shopping is frustrating for many people. Take me for example-- I want good quality sunglasses that look great, but don't see the need to shell out $1,000 for something that's going to collect dust on my cool car. This is where upstart sunglasses company Goodr comes in.

Joining us now is Stephen Lease, CEO and co-founder of Goodr. Stephen, good to see you. Just how has your business been doing during the pandemic?

STEPHEN LEASE: We went through the stage of when it first hit, froze. Our sales went to zero. And then we made a game plan that stabilized and then kind of shifted everything, cut expenses. And we've come out on the other side really strong.

We've lucked out in a lot of ways, one the biggest ones being our price point and the fact that the sun is still out. And people, all they could do for months is go outside and run and play golf. So we're very fortunate for that.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: It looks like you've got sort of this cult following for your products. You sell, I know, direct to consumer through your site. But you also, I guess, sell through Amazon. Any place else?

STEPHEN LEASE: Yeah, we are about-- 2/3 direct to consumer. Most of that is our own website. Amazon is a very small part of that.

And then we're in about 2,200 doors in the US. And a lot of that is run specialty, bike specialty. We are in some places like REI. But a lot of the local run shops is where our base is.

BRIAN SOZZI: Stephen, you have some interesting names for your products. I was just going around your site. You have something on the site right now called scumbag scarves. What is a scumbag scarf? And how do you come up with these names? And why do you come up with them?

STEPHEN LEASE: For sure. So scumbag scarf is actually just a neck scarf, a microfiber material. And we just-- early on, we decided to name things differently. So the first pair of glasses we ever did was this pink with a teal lens. And they're called flamingos on a booze cruise.

And I tried them on. I looked at my partner, Ben. I go you know these look like, Ben? These look like I'm on a booze cruise with a flamingo.

And he's like sure, Stephen, because he has to humor me. And I was like in fact, we're going to call these flamingos on a booze cruise. And we're in name all of our color ways names, like whiskey shots with Satan, gardening with a Kraken.

And so all of our products on all of our color rays have their own unique name. And it literally came-- we had the idea in 30 seconds and ran with it.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: What about, you also had-- that is awesome. You also have this partnership with Dunkin'. Tell us about that.

STEPHEN LEASE: Yeah, we-- we have-- our partner-- we started getting into kind of like a little bit of licensing this year. And we've done stuff with a lot of different places, different people. "Wonder Woman '84" and Dunkin' came about. And it was a really crunched timeline. So we made some custom Dunkin' shades for them.

And they dropped them. I think they sold out in like a day or an hour. It was something crazy. And now we're going to do something with them next year. So everybody can get excited for that. It just happened and we took advantage of it.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: What's the what's the price point for your sunglasses?

STEPHEN LEASE: We had two price points-- $25 and $35. And that's from the beginning, $25, $35. We really early on identified hey, if we could get a pair of fashionable running sunglasses for $25, it would take the decision-making process out of it. It would actually go closer to a commodity than a luxury item. And so we haven't veered from that since the beginning.

BRIAN SOZZI: How do you make them that cheap?

STEPHEN LEASE: Well, if you know anything about eyewear, eyewear is-- there's a lot of margin to play with in eyewear. And when you're a small, scrappy company, there is opportunity. And so we've just taken advantage of that.

And we say no to a lot of things. We only have five models in a lot of colors. So we go really deep. We don't spend money in stupid places. And so we're able to bring it to market that way.

There's a lot of nuance in there. But when you-- once you kind of-- once you look, peek behind the curtains of eyewear industry, you realize there's opportunity.

BRIAN SOZZI: What's your ultimate vision for this, for your business? Is it along the lines of Warby Parker, where you start experimenting with retail stores? Where do you-- where do you take the brand?

STEPHEN LEASE: Yeah, so we had-- until recently, we had a little boutique in Playa del Rey, California. We're going to bring up back a shop here in LA. We just closed it because it didn't make any sense. Our lease happened to be up, and it didn't make any sense to keep it during these times.

But we'll do an experiential shop, just for us. But you know we plan on growing in two ways-- one, creating connection. From beginning, that's what we've always been about. We started in run. And we went into cycling, Beast, which is the CrossFit world, golf.

And so every year, we basically take a new audience that we feel is underserved and we create a product for them. And we create content. We talk specifically to that athlete. So we're not a lifestyle brand. We are a fashionable athletic sunglass brand.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And this seems like a sunglass company with it with a conscience, because you have a podcast called "Culture Goodr." Tell us about that. And why do that?

STEPHEN LEASE: Yeah, so I mean, the real dream is that in a couple of years, we're having people come here like Zappos does, too, for a conference to learn about our culture, because we invest really heavily in it. At the end of the day, I haven't felt like I've gone to work in years. And realizing that I would love to create that for everyone one Goodr, and so it's the prime directive, is making sure everybody shows up and really is fulfilled by their job.

Because the days of grinding away to get a corner office are over in the world. And so you better show up every day and love what you do. And so "Culture Goodr" was created because I would do panels or go to Q&As, and it would always run over.

People were like you do what? You don't allow internal email? I'm like no, we do allow internal email at Goodr. They're like, you know, you do what? And so we realized oh, I think people are really interested in this. And so we created the podcast to just tell our story and the different things we do.

BRIAN SOZZI: Cool stuff indeed. All right, let's leave it there. Stephen Lease, CEO and co-founder of Goodr, good stuff. And let's get those scumbag scarves back in stock.

STEPHEN LEASE: All right, I'll see what I can do. Thank you.

BRIAN SOZZI: All right.