Optic Nerve Eyewear, the independent sunglasses and goggle company established in Vail, Colorado, in 1976 (formerly known as Mountain Shades), has noted that it has looked to the future and made a strategic decision to invest heavily in its internal team and retail partners.
One of the most recent investments that company founders Bill Cotton and Tom Fox made was in hiring Gary ‘Spike’ Richards as Director of Brand. Richards’ career in the outdoor and action sports industry spans over 17 years, beginning with the launch of the surf brand Cult Industries, and more recently as a founder of TravisMathew, a golf apparel brand. As a long-time friend of the founders, Richards began to “recognize the massive growth opportunity backed by the excellent reputation Cotton and Fox have fostered for the Optic Nerve brand.”
Gary Richards continued, “Bill and Tom run Optic Nerve Eyewear with the authenticity and soul that have escaped most companies, especially in the eyewear industry. Plus, they have phenomenal products and a talented team. We have the people and the product. Now it’s time to tell the world.”
Other recent initiatives have been in support of the company’s wholesale channels – with improved sales and marketing tools to bring attention to the brand and increase profitability for retailers. Optic Nerve Eyewear is also focusing on leveraging internal talent. Mae Harris, who originally led the company’s marketing efforts and is now the team’s most tenured salesperson, was recently promoted to National Sales Manager.
“It’s rare to find a well-rounded salesperson like Mae,” added Richards. “Not only does she understand how to support the retail base, but she also knows how to plan, organize and execute. Add this to the fact that she can effectively lead and inspire a group of people, and you have all of the ingredients to take our team from good to great.”
Meanwhile, founders Cotton and Fox have not diminished their participation in daily operations as they work closely with the team to assure that the brand message echoes what they have built over the past 40 years.
Cotton and Fox said, “We have the best talent in recent history and the changes we have made over the past year have set us up to not only support the growth we are currently experiencing, but foster continuous growth and adaptation.”
In addition to Cotton, Fox, Richards and Harris, the Optic Nerve Eyewear leadership team includes industry veterans Rick Brooks and Karen Doris. Brooks, a former Bollé Manager, oversees operations for the brand and Doris brings a strong background in supply chain to the company from Eastern Mountain Sports.