October 15, 2014
Tom and Michael, CC'09, met at Columbia through COOP, and lived together in East Campus their senior year. They graduated in 2009 at the height of the worst recession in history. Faced with particularly grim employment opportunities, they set out to start to make their own work.
The idea for the Sunskis was born after the failures of a couple of prior ideas. Tom had just returned from a surf trip in Australia with some brightly colored vintage shades, and they seemed to be a hit with friends. They seemed to be a hit with friends so we decided to launch them on the then-new crowdfunding website, Kickstarter. We intended to only make a couple hundred pairs for friends, but ended up selling thousands and thousands of shades.
It was a bit of luck, a lot of preparation, and a good moment of opportunity, as we realized that there was a big niche market that was waiting to be filled: high quality sunglasses that fell in between the cheap $10 gas station shades and $150+ designer ones. From here we hope to expand out to additional "outdoor adventure accessories"!
Check out Sunskis @ http://sunskis.com