Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

Desiar eyewear: Shades that change: “It’s not just about sunglasses.”

Desiar eyewear: Shades that change: “It’s not just about sunglasses.”Desiar eyewear designs, distributes and markets fashionable sun and optical eyewear. Desiar was founded by Jamal Robinson in 2011 but has been about embracing individuality since 2008. Jamal began designing custom sunglasses for celebrities by enhancing the lenses with Swarovski crystals. The first of these celebrities to wear Desiar frames was Soulja Boy (seen here). After meeting Soulja Boy backstage at a concert in 2008, Jamal gave a pair of his custom sunglasses to the rapper and Jamal never looked back.

Where the story begins:

In 2006, Jamal attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando on a soccer scholarship to play at UCF. Initially moving to Florida from Fort Wayne, Indiana, was a big jump. One of the reasons Florida seemed attractive besides school and the soccer program was the thought of potential opportunities Florida could present to a hungry entrepreneur.

Desiar eyewear: Shades that change: “It’s not just about sunglasses.”

Jamal Robinson

That is what happened in the fall of 2006 when Jamal met a real estate businessman who wanted to establish a women’s lifestyle company. The concept was simple. The man wanted to create a lifestyle company but for the first year, he needed to sell a product to brand his start up. Having no fashion background but the urge not to let this opportunity go, Jamal said he could design a clothing line for his business. This gave Jamal the opportunity he was looking for once deciding to attend UCF. After studying and researching fashion design before and after classes and a demanding athletics schedule, Jamal presented the owner a collection of clothing for his company. The collection was released in the summer of 2007 and Jamal’s responsibilities were completed with the company.

After the initial glimpse in business and fashion, Jamal continued to pursue both by taking a pair of sunglasses and enhancing them with Swarovski crystals. Only after people started asking about the sunglasses he initially made for himself, Jamal knew exactly what his next venture would be, designing sunglasses. Having a passion for sunglasses since he was younger, this seemed like the perfect fit. Since people “desired” the sunglasses, Jamal started calling his new designs “Desiar (Des-E-Air). The brand name comes from the word; “desire” which is what people did once they saw the original pair of sunglasses.

In 2011, after 3 years of designing custom sunglasses, Jamal formed Desiar into a company.Once the company was formed,Jamal took the focus from custom sunglasses to establishing a great brand for the masses. The “shades of change” mission came when the structure of the company was being developed. Jamal and his partner created the program around not just helping a certain organization but making a goal to aid many different organizations over the course of time. Desiar believes exactly what the slogan says, “It’s not just about sunglasses.” The “shades” Desiar focuses on are not only the ones we develop but also the gradual influence we make towards helping organizations around the world.

One day, Jamal called Thirst Project, a non-profit organization based in LA after reading a story of a group of college students who were fighting the global water crisis, one bottle of water at a time. After that conversation, he and Thirst Project CEO became friends and then make Thirst Project Desiar eyewear’s first partner with the shades of change program.

When you look on all Desiar frames, you will see what looks like a screw but it’s actuality what is our “double half circle” logo. This symbol on all Desiar frames represents a sun setting and a sun rising. The sun setting represents the change that our customers and organization has made with the purchase of our sunglasses and mission, the sun rising represents the person’s life that has been changed from our mission and the purchase. Our story is also available on our website

In business, Jamal has always believed there is a greater responsibility besides business itself. “I’d credit most things I know or have come to know through my family, self-education by reading books such as Tony Hshieh, “delivering happiness” and having a network of mentors who have been successful in life and business. Business is only a small portion of an entrepreneur’s life. If business is the only thing you focus on, you will lose what is most important in lifesuch as family and friends. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that find the balance between business and life. It’s a challenge but its something that I am fully aware of now that I didn’t know before” says Jamal.

Having a social cause to our company is just one factor of our business. The focus of the brand and company is to create great products that our customers will love. It has been great to share our goal of building a clean drinking water well because we do feel it is important to use our network to promote our mission. Jamal said, “I’ve always wanted to engage our customers in a conversation. No matter if that is producing a new product or marketing. We don’t want to be the only ones talking about our “shades of change” mission because Desiar is an eyewear company. We want that to be a conversation or idea that our customers can take and potentially make their own goodwill cause. That’s what it’s about to me. If everyone took a second to something to benefit the world, wouldn’t it be a better place? All we want to do is have the conversation with our customers and friends and let them know, it’s more than us in this picture, it’s about doing good to the world.”

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