The Daily Pennsylvanian's Barring Article October 03 2014
We were just featured in the Daily Pennsylvanian! See link below!
Eyewear startup gives back to cancer research
The Philadelphia-based company aims to lower the cost of high-quality sunglasses
By RUIHONG LIU ・ 09/29/14 12:24am
Three young men are linking sunglasses and cancer research.
Launched in February 2014, Barring Eyewear is a Philadelphia-based company founded by three students aspiring to create high-quality and affordable sunglasses. The co-founders of the company, inspired by their mutual love for sunglasses and concern for cancer research, built Barring Eyewear to raise fundings for cancer research.
Wharton junior Eric Fiore , College of Liberal and Professional Studies student Joseph Hwang and 2008 Villanova graduate Frank Tucci are the core forces behind the company.
“There are two basic goals of our company: reduce the cost of high-price sunglasses in the monopolized sunglasses industry and raise funding for cancer research,” Hwang, the company’s chief designer, said. “Transparency, fair price[s] and do[ing] the right thing are the main ideas that govern the company.”
Besides their social mission, the company distinguishes itself from competitors on other factors.
“Our frames are made of the best materials, and we reduced the cost of the sunglasses through directly negotiating with the manufacturing chain,” Hwang said. “We also provide life-time guarantee[s] for our products with a small amount of additional cost.”
Another important part of the company’s identity is being native to Philadelphia. The inspiration behind each pair of sunglasses originates from Philadelphia landmarks.
“For example, one pair of our glasses is named ‘Rouge,’ the French word for red, a tribute to the City of Brotherly Love,” Hwang said. Even the name Barring Eyewear is a dedication to a street close by Penn’s campus — Baring Street, just north of Powelton Avenue.
Despite their financial limitations as a startup, Hwang expressed confidence in the future of the company.
“After we raise enough capital, I’ll quit school and work full-time for the company,” he said.
Barring is currently working on a brand ambassador program that will help spread the brand name to different student groups. The company already has branches at Drexel University, Michigan State University and Villanova University.
The co-founders are in the process of recruiting two more partners who specialize in technology and supply chain marketing. The company is also pursuing bigger platforms by looking for distribution in department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Macy’s and is seeking investment from venture capitalists. The co-founders are also hoping to build their own factory in University City.
To complement its business goals, Barring Eyewear has a detailed plan for its social mission. The team aims to increase donations to cancer research from $1 per pair to a larger percentage of revenues as the company develops. The co-founders also envision cooperation with the American Cancer Society.
“[The] American Cancer Society is watching us now, and they will form partnership with us after we reach a certain production scale,” Hwang said. “Ultimately, we hope to conduct our own independent cancer research study that will direct funds more effectively to those in need.”