Jillian Urcelay: Some of Costa’s best-selling styles have been enhanced with the release of the new PRO Series. What new features can be seen in the collection?
T.J. McMeniman: Costa launched the original Blackfin and Fantail more than a decade ago, and they are some of our best-selling frames. This spring, we’re really just making the best even better with six new angler approved features that help keep your sunglasses clear and locked in place for long days on the water. The new feature set includes:
- Sweat channels and eyewire drains to keep you cool and your vision clear.
- Improved Hydrolite grips to keep your frames comfortably in place.
- Fully adjustable and ventilated nosepads for a customizable fit and reduced fogging.
- Side shields and hooding to keep light from leaking in.
- Metal Keeper slots to “keep” your frames from going overboard.
The best part is the frames still feature our famed 580G lens technology, a color-enhancing polarized glass lens that has the highest optical clarity available and is scratch resistant. The new Blackfin PRO and Fantail PRO are without question some of the best performance sunglasses out there for anglers and anyone who spends time on the water!
Costa just published its first-ever Protect Report which highlights three decades of supporting coastal communities and cleaning waterways. Can you share some key highlights of the report and where our readers can find it?
Conservation has always been part of who we are, it’s in our DNA. We were founded 38 years ago by anglers who relied on healthy fisheries for what they love most—fishing. The Protect Report just puts the last 38 years of work into writing. It gives us data to hold us accountable and help define where we go next. It’s our internal “report card” in a sense.
Our conservation initiatives fall into four pillars: Protect our fisheries and waterways; Reduce ocean plastic pollution; Educate and empower future generations; and Restore and rebuild coastal communities. A few highlights from the report include:
- Building products with purpose. The Untangled Collection is made in partnership with Bureo, who upcycles discarded fishing nets and turns them into quality products—like sunglasses and optical frames. The collection helps reduce our environmental footprint and eliminate fishing net pollution from damaging ecosystems and trapping marine life. To date, Bureo has collected more than 3.2 million pounds of discarded fishing nets and is currently growing their program to include additional fishing communities throughout South America. We’ve also been working with Bureo to evolve the material and are working on a really special project that will launch this summer. Stay tuned for more information on that!
- Costa led projects and initiatives. A very successful Costa led initiative is our Kick Plastic program for eyecare professionals. More than 750 optical retailers have joined the movement, sending more than four tons of polycarbonate demo lenses to our recycling partner, Piedmont Plastics.
- A commitment to conservation and our cause partners. We partner with more than 20 nonprofit organizations that help further our mission. One partnership, for example, Casting for Recovery, provides healing outdoor fly-fishing retreats for women with breast cancer, at no cost to the participants. The gentle motion of fly-casting is great physical therapy for women who have had surgery or radiation as part of their treatment.
Those are just a few examples of the great work we (Costa, our cause partners and pros) are doing to protect our waterways and ensure future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy the watery world as we do. For more information, you can read the full Protect Report.
Finally, what sets Costa apart from its competitors, and who is your target consumer?
Our biggest differentiator is our purpose. Our cause initiatives allow Costa to connect with and rally consumers to protect our planet and our future. We also invest heavily in a grassroots community-led marketing model, which allows us to deepen connections with our coastal and angling communities. Many other cult brands use similar playbooks now, but no one in the eyewear space is doing it at our level.
Our target audience is watermen and women—from core anglers to newcomers—that live to be on the water. We were born to be on the water, and that is what drives us to build the best sunglasses on the planet for those who love the watery world we call home. It’s also what drives us to protect it and why we have such a loyal and engaged fan base. Because our community—just like us—comes to life on the water.