Local entrepreneurs Austin Emmert and Caden Stevens are bringing focus to the "making-people-look-cooler-when-they-party" business. Last year, the former fraternity brothers turned business partners founded the eye wear line, Spectified. The attraction lies in the electroluminescent wire (aka EL wire), that's built into the frames, causing the shades to light up.
The glasses have been popping up at concerts and music festivals, and according to Emmert, they've been illuminating the faces of music industry celebs like David Guetta, Diplo, Black Eyed Peas, Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris. No big deal.
We got with founding member Austin Emmert and asked him a few things about his emerging business and where he plans to take it in 2013.
Can you tell me a little about how your business started? We had seen similar glasses in the past but felt like we could come up with a style that was more illuminate and attractive. We would wear our prototypes at major festivals and found ourselves overwhelmed by attention. Everyone would scream "Oh my god! Where did you get those?" "those are badass," "can I take a picture with you?" Caden and I then discussed pursuing this venture full time. I quit my job in March and haven't looked back.
When did you start making the glasses? In April of 2012 we began making them by hand. We had family and friends also help build them. At times we still do make them by hand, but have now moved on to a mass production model.
Is the process of building the glasses difficult? Can you explain it? Yes there's a lot of soldering, gluing and quality control involved. At first it was a challenge trying to find the right super glue that wouldn't run everywhere and dry quickly. Our hands were caked in glue, and I'm sure you can find a couple of glue fingerprints on the first ones we did.
Who/what are some of your creative influences? We really have relied creatively on each other. No one has ever done what we're doing so we have to come up with what we feel looks unique and fun.
Would you eventually like to branch out and create different items that glow? If so, what do you have in mind? Yes eventually. As of right now we're seeing where the glasses can take us. There are definitely ideas we have for other pieces but will probably save those till 2014.
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What's your average customer like? There's such a wide demographic for this product. My nephews absolutely love them and the ladies at my mothers church can't get enough of them. Young kids to senior citizens. We're currently selling at a lot of music festivals but have plans to tap into other markets like sports, fashion and philanthropy.
Has anybody famous ever worn a pair of your glasses before? Yes. Lebron James, David Guetta, Black Eyed Peas, Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris, Bassnectar, Diplo, Rehab, Porter Robinson, Pauly D and Skrillex. We didn't charge them though.
Where can people purchase the glasses? We're currently building our website but in the meantime everyone can "like" our Facebook page and inbox message us. We'll have the Facebook shop were orders can be made up this week.
Do you have any big plans for 2013? Yes. We plan to partner with a major player in the music industry and tap into other markets of significant value. We'll actually be at Artopia on January 26.