Yo! Chase here,
Ten years ago, Blenders started in a crowded Cali club with a chance bit of life-changing style. I didn’t quite know what I was doing—none of us did. But as we quickly learned, life’s finest teacher is experience. So we dove in, and now, the Blenders brand you know is an international success. And a big part of that is you.
To commemorate our 10th Anniversary, check out our little retrospective below. It’s a timeline of how we got from ‘there’ to ‘here’—a wild ride through one seriously steezy decade.
Blendz isn’t Blendz without you. And the best part? The ride ain’t slowing down anytime soon. Here’s to another 10 years of Living Forward, friends! //
A Look Back at 10 Years in Blenderville
2012: Figuring It Out
Meet my highschool friend Nick. He loaned me $2,000 to start the brand and, funny enough, these were the shades I wore to the nightclub that inspired the idea for Blenders.
- This was the first pair of sunglasses we ever made, called ‘The Show.’ We started with one style, one pair.
This pool table was my office for the first 8 months, then I moved into this tiny shoebox for $400 a month.
2013: Building Awareness
Built grassroots following at pool parties, festivals, street fairs and other events. I sold shades out of my backpack and promoted the brand actively.
San Diego had a massive music scene and I capitalized on it. I networked like crazy and got tons of influential DJ’s wearing our sunnies.
LESSON 2: If people buy you, they will buy your products. In other words, build your personal brand while building your company brand. This will give you authority and build credibility in your field, which will ultimately separate you from your competitors.
2014: Building a Culture
- Two years after we started, we hired our very first employee, Shelby.
Then we hired our first designer, Julius. In fact, he designed these shades you just purchased and remains a key member of our team today.
We move into our second office below. And this is what it looked like during our black friday sale.
Surround yourself with people who GET IT. By "get it," I mean people who have done what you want to do, or inspire you to be better. Your friends and people whom you surround yourself with will impact the direction of your life and the person you become. It's not a statement, it's a fact.
Bonus: Find a mentor, and role model them (so many people learn from the wrong people).
2015: Building Momentum
We began focusing on building our digital presence online and marketing through social media with Facebook and Instagram as our primary growth tools.
- We were seeking a “big break” so we applied to Shark Tank but never made it. Then we got cast for: The West Texas Investors Club on CNBC. The show was a total flop.
LESSON 4: Aggressive Patience: Understanding this lesson was one of the most important things I ever learned. Building a brand takes years. Building trust takes years. Building sales take years. Building a customer base takes years. Becoming extraordinary at anything takes extraordinary amounts of time. Fast results don’t exist and shortcuts are illusions.
2016: Production Pivots
We moved into our 3rd office in Pacific Beach. This is what things started to look like on daily basis
We launched our snow collection and this was the first year we hit $1M in sales.
- At this time, our team was around 9 people.
LESSON 5: Product is Paramount At this point we were becoming known as a sunglasses brand but the seasonality was difficult. Especially in winter. So we evolved our product line into Snow. As you grow, your product must grow with you.
2017: Newfound Confidence
This was a big year operationally. We moved shipping to a local 3PL to assist with order fulfillment and support the scale in orders.
- We spent a ton of time developing the visual identity of the brand. With our passion for progression, our photography and videography demanded excellence that defied constraints.
- This team helped grow the company over 300% from the year before.
LESSON 6: Let go. Learning to delegate was one of my greatest challenges and something I still struggle with. You can’t do it alone and must build a good team and instill trust in them. It’s a critical part of being a leader.
2018: Realizing the vision
This was a breakthrough year for us. We launched our ‘Millenia’ frame which was our most successful and progressive frame ever. (Snoop Dogg even posted it on his IG. Thanks Snoop!)
Blenders made it into the Olympics with Jessika Jenson.
We moved into our current HQ and by year end.
LESSON 7: Stay BOLD. This was the year we adopted ‘BOLD’ as a core value. We were more progressive, more unpredictable and living outside our comfort zone.
2019: Cementing Our Future
- We were partially acquired by Safilo to further support our mission of becoming a global leader in eyewear.
We opened up our first flagship retail store in Pacific Beach.
- With all of this growth, our team expanded to 32.
LESSON: You can’t do it alone. Life isn’t a game you play by yourself. You need great people and a great team in order to continue to grow.
2020: Pandemic Pioneers
- Early on, we shut down our local retail store and asked everyone to work from home. As the threat grew, we knew we had to do more. We had to help in every way we could.
We raised over $100,000 for Covid-19 relief + donated 10,000 PPE units to local & state hospitals.
REMINDER: Contribute: It doesn’t matter how big or how small. We have one job. Contribute.
2021: Going Global
This is a big expansion year for us.
We launched Prescription Eyewear and also launched in new countries (Australia, Canada and UK).
- We've invested a lot of time into growing our ambassador team, partnering with world class athletes, and expanding international partnerships.
- We've expanded our HQ as well as grown our internal team to 53.
- We have continued our retail rollout with our newest store in Encinitas, and plan to open four more locations in 2022.
LESSON: You don't have to be smart to be successful. I'm living proof of this. I'm dyslexic, struggled in school and was placed into special learning classes. Now, the kids I used to look up to call me for advice. Hard work outpaces being genius-minded.
Motto: Live in Forward Motion: Live fast. Live slow. Live outwardly. But do not live stationary.