By Jillian Urcelay
JU: How did you get into the eyewear industry?
RM: In 2015, I had an idea for a unique contact lens case, born out of my own need as a contact lens wearer. My plan was to bling it out, come out with a better design and call it EyeDope. Later that year on Christmas day, I was watching “Shark Tank” reruns with my family. As I watched, my sister noticed me getting a bit pensive as the entrepreneurs pitched their ideas. That night, I went to bed highly motivated and woke up the next morning inspired for the EyeDope brand to be sunglasses instead of a contact lens case. I thought the name was perfect! Those following months, I extensively researched various brands, manufacturers and the entire industry. In April of 2017, the EyeDope brand and website became reality.
How would you describe your brand and its aesthetic to someone unfamiliar?
EyeDope sunglasses are a blend of contemporary and classic styles that are influenced by celebrity and pop culture. At EyeDope, we design sunglasses that allow the wearer to fashionably express their individuality and personality, with styles that easily segue from a casual outing to an elegant affair.
What types of shapes and styles can be seen throughout the collection?
Our initial collection wouldn't have been complete without the timeless CatEye. We included several CatEye variations to start and will certainly offer more styles in the future with this fashionable and popular style. Also, included in our initial collection was the wayfarer-inspired style—a timeless style that we also plan to always have in the collection. We are excited to announce that our aviator will launch this coming fall. We invite everyone to be on the lookout for that.
What is your vision for EyeDope and its future?
As founder and CEO, my desire from inception, was for the brand to be more than "dope" sunglasses. I deliberated and reflected extensively during the early days, with the goal to make the brand a platform for positivity, using a hashtag that included a portion of our name: #dopemoment. In light of recent events in our country with the pandemic and George Floyd protests, we plan to put significant effort behind #dopemoment as it is entirely about focusing and appreciating the positive aspects of humanity and nature. Our hope is for #dopemoment to become a part of the English lexicon, as when someone wants to refer to something positive, beautiful, exciting or transformative, they refer to it as a #dopemoment.
As we move forward, we plan to expand our collection of sunglass styles. As mentioned above, we will be debuting our aviator sunglass soon with an exciting pre-launch campaign. Additionally, our sport sunglass collection will be introduced later this year along with other exciting styles that are presently in the design stage.