Tom Patton was living in Chico, California (known as the City of Trees) and needed a new pair of sunglasses. He heard a story about a kid who started an eyewear company and made it big after appearing on a reality show, and this inspired him. A month prior, Tom had watched someone craft an accessory from wood. These thoughts, combined with a concern for impact on the planet, meshed in Tom’s mind and from this,Woodzee was born. Woodzee offers beautifully crafted wood sunglasses in various fashion-forward frame styles, each unique with its own natural markings and carrying with it a message of hope and good will toward Mother Earth.
Fast-forward 5 months from the birth of Woodzee. Patton entered a store called Trucker to ask about having his new wood sunglasses stocked and met the owner, Luke Winter. Luke is from Los Angeles, has a true appreciation for fashion retail, heard the story of Woodzee and immediately wanted to help Tom grow this idea. They joined forces.
Woodzee is a solid representation of a sustainable business. Plastic takes thousands of years to biodegrade and its negative impact on the planet is great. Wood is not only biodegradable but also 100% renewable. Woodzee plants a tree for every pair sold, through Trees for the Future and they also work with 1% for the Planet. Woodzee packaging is 100% plantable.
To show Woodzee’s commitment to loyal customers, they offer 40% off on a next purchase when a customer sends their old Woodzees back to the company, broken or not. This process can be repeated for a lifetime, not only ensuring that Woodzee captures a customer who shares their commitment to promoting positive and healthy change, but also allowing them to recycle old pairs, reuse metal parts and grind any excess old wood for packing materials.
Most recently, Woodzee has partnered with local high school ROP engineering students to build prototypes and samples using a 3D printer. This gives the students some great real life experience and also allows the Woodzee team to work in their local community, which is important to them.
Patton’s Internet marketing background and work experience as a graphic/web designer matched with Winter’s decade of knowledge of fashion retail has created a perfect synergy through Woodzee. The two have brilliantly grown a garage-based business into a fully operating company that serves as an example for others entering the market as well as those who just adore good, stylish product.
People recognize and appreciate Woodzee’s solid business philosophy and their authenticity in putting this philosophy to work. They are redefining success to involve a lot more than sales reports. This has already resulted in success for this young company. The Woodzee team is constantly gushing with new ideas, working on establishing new partnerships, developing new frame styles and researching eco-friendly technologies. Woodzee has come a long way from the early days when Patton researched for days and found a manufacturer who could make the sunglasses, ordering just 25 samples in a basic frame to start and test the quality. Those 25 frames sold in a week and the momentum has not let up since.