gogglesoc protects lenses with style

May 9, 2017
By: Michelle Ratcliffe
Make business easy — tune in to The Big Idea, a bi-weekly column from the Whistler Chamber of Commerce showcasing a Whistler business innovating in their sector

A day of mountain adventure can sometimes come with a few bumps and bruises, but three friends have created a new product to ensure that at least your goggles return unscathed.

“gogglesoc” founders Andy Taylor, Richard Adrian-Smith and Josh Gray combined their love of skiing with entrepreneurial and finance know-how when they spotted an opportunity to create a new product. Described by the team as “a funky, stretchy microfibre cover used to protect your goggles while they’re not being used,” this ingenious little cover is designed to accompany you wherever your day on the hill takes you.

Their product is new to market this year, but the goggle protection is already turning heads.

“gogglesoc sales have been better than we could have imagined over the 2016/17 season,” said Josh Gray, one of the three co-founders. “McCoos recently told us that the space occupied by gogglesoc has quickly become the most valuable in their store by square foot.”

With amusing slogans and attention-getting graphics, you’ve likely spotted the creative covers hugging lenses on après patios all over town, in gear bags, on the bus ride to and from the hill or on helmets lined up at lodges over lunch. Their popularity is skyrocketing and the company has already gained recognition as a finalist for the “Innovative Business of the Year” award at the 2017 Whistler Excellence Awards.

Face to face time

Being a brand new concept, these entrepreneurs suspected the best way to pitch their product was face to face. They started by visiting local stores, sharing their story and showing their new offering. Getting to know Whistler business owners got product sales off the ground and after positive local response they hit the road.

“We went big and headed to Colorado. We rented an RV and went to Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge and Aspen. We walked into stores, introduced ourselves and simply asked them to stock our product,” said Gray.

The first sales trip taught them that this face-to-face introduction to the product was key. They continued to travel through the winter to the Rockies and Sun Peaks.

“Sales trips like these have allowed our business to grow fast and expanded our footprint in North America, something we will continue to do into next season,” said Gray.

Partnerships that give back

Design possibilities are endless with gogglesoc and the product offers a perfect canvas for creative and impactful creations.

“We can print anything from provocative slogans to company logos,” said Gray explaining that the limitless printing capabilities have enabled them to create products for teams and organizations and have led to partnerships to give back to their community.

“From Whistler Mountain Ski Club fundraising, to sponsoring comedy shows and making donations to the Whistler Adaptive program, we have been open to new partnerships,” he added.

Another initiative in the works is a partnership with the First Nations Snowboard Team, a nonprofit association that develops recreational and high performance First Nations snowboard athletes.

“A renowned First Nations artist will be providing us with a design to add to our retail offering,” said Gray. “We think it’s cool to be kind, so a portion of the proceeds will go directly to the First Nations Snowboard Association on an ongoing basis to help progress their cause and raise brand awareness.”

The local edge

The team has seized opportunities to feed off the creative and collaborative energy in their community. They have been particularly inspired by local entrepreneur and author Shannon Susko and have implemented many of her systems for strategic planning, corporate culture and fast growth.

“We are fortunate to live in such a concentration of successful entrepreneurs in Whistler. There’s no place like it,” Gray insisted.  “From the assistance we’ve had from the chamber to the number of locals approaching our tent at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, we have had support from all angles.”

These young entrepreneurs are set to scale up to great heights with a brand new product aimed to make mountain life just a little bit easier and a lot more stylish.

“One of our biggest challenges at gogglesoc has been to change consumer behaviour. Our aim from the start has been to take a product that people have never lived with to something they cannot live without. We are transforming an unknown accessory into a known necessity. There’s work to do, but we’re on our way,” said Gray.

Link to Whistler Question article: http://ow.ly/VJRnm