Wood Ya Eyewear received a neat write up on how our business strives to be sustainable from Green Building and Design Magazine. We had the honor of making awards for GB&D featuring the most Powerful Women in Sustainability this past fall and they were kind enough to share a little bit more about Wood Ya Products and our mission. Check it out!
By Al Morrison
Besides our eyewear, business cards, and woodgrams, the crew at Wood Ya Products likes to have fun with some side projects! Our latest challenge comes from the Tiki Shack in Madison, Wisconsin, requesting what we consider to be the world's largest sunglasses! These bad boys measure over 3 feet by 3 feet, and feature lightly tinted lenses. Swing by the Tiki Shack to check them out!
Have a project in mind you'd like us to conquer? Send us an email at email@example.com and we'll make it happen!
Wood Ya Eyewear Sponsors 2014 U.S. Barefoot Waterski Team
By Al Morrison
It is with great pleasure to announce that Wood Ya Eyewear is sponsoring the athletes on the 2014 U.S. Barefoot Waterski Team! Starting March 11, 2014, twelve barefooters will represent the United States in Mulwala, Australia, for the 2014 World Barefoot Championships. Wood Ya Eyewear is a perfect fit for Team USA as these athletes are constantly training and competing on the water – a place where polarized lenses and floatability are two important features to have!
Moreover, sponsoring Team USA is a way for myself to give back to the sport that has played a major role in my life. As a member of two World Championship teams, numerous individuals and companies stepped up to help me and other teammates train, travel, and compete around the world. I am thankful for the support that I received when I was competing a few years ago so giving Team USA some eyewear swag was a no brainer!
The 2014 team has mix of veterans
and newcomers, which shows that barefooting features both longevity and growth. It's great to see a bunch of new names on the team this year! I was filled with great memories while making the sunglasses for the team.... When I was about 5 years old my dad was getting lessons from Peter Fleck! In 2005, Lee Stone opened up his home for our team to train in Texas leading up to the World Barefoot Championships in South, Africa. I recall many memories hanging with Scott and Teri Jones at tournaments (and during college)! And lastly Keith St. Onge, the coach who taught me some of the most challenging tricks in the sport, was both a great mentor and friend!
Below is a list of this years team. Wood Ya Eyewear would like to congratulate all who made the team and we wish you the best of luck in March as you compete for another World Championship!
Keith St. Onge
Coach: Lee Stone
Coach: Gary Bouchard "Swampy"
Coach: Scott Jones
Manager of the US Teams: Lauren St. Onge
Team Manager Mentor: Doug Koch
Wood Ya Products is a family run woodworking business... but we're not your typical woodworkers! Our mission is to produce a 100% sustainable product that is Eco-Friendly and one of a kind. Each of our products is handcrafted from Black Cherry lumber that has naturally fallen on our property in Pennsylvania. We walk through to the woods in search of fallen timber, cut the trees into logs, mill each log into boards, and allow the wood to naturally dry in a solar kiln. Once the wood is dry, we handcraft each wooden product from scratch in our shop in Fenton, Michigan. We are proud to make our products in the USA and we try to source all of our materials from the closest suppliers in the USA! (Below is a picture of Al harvesting a tree in Pennsylvania. *The tree is a beech tree, not a black cherry).
We currently handcraft three unique wooden products: Wooden Sunglasses, Woodgrams, and Wooden Business Cards. Each of our products has a specific purpose -- our sunglasses float, our business cards will not deteriorate or crumble, and our Woodgrams combine pictures and framing all in one. The goal behind all of our products is to use wood in abstract and unique ways.
The idea for Wood Ya Products started in the summer of 2013. The founder, Al Morrison, was in the shower brain storming ways to make sunglasses float. Just days before, his brother, Chris, had a pair of sunglasses fall victim to the depths of Silver Lake. So the question was: how do you make sunglasses float without the bulky foam or hollow plastic? The answer was WOOD!
The very next day Al purchased a 1-month membership at the TechShop in Detroit. There he was able to learn about the necessary tools and machinery it would take to build a pair of wooden sunglasses. In a month's time, Al had some basic prototypes completed and the race to get a finalized product was on! From start to finish, it took approximately 3 months to design and prototype sunglasses to get our first sale. (Below is a picture of the first pair of "finished" Wood Ya sunglasses).
However, from day one Wood Ya Products has been about more than just wooden sunglasses. Our goal is to produce unique wood products that are both functional and sustainable. That's where some of our other products come into play. The business cards were pretty simple: Al and Chris needed something to pass out to people about the new business and instead of buying the same generic business cards that everyone throws away, we decided we should make our own!
Our newest product is called a Woodgram. A "woodgram" is a solid piece of black cherry lumber that has a picture perfectly etched onto the surface. We add a variety of customized text and edge finishes to combine both pictures and framing in one! While a typical picture will fade over time, our Woodgrams are made out of black cherry, so the natural wood color will deepen as it ages to give any picture a crisp finish for life!
We've learned a lot in the past few months about starting up a new business -- from selecting the right website provider, to working with suppliers, and building our brand. Our biggest challenge so far has been managing our time! Starting a business is a demanding task but we've learned so much in a short amount of time the journey has definitely been worth it!
For more about the History of Wood Ya Products and where we get our wood, click here!