Skip to Content

How to Start a Sunglasses Line Business

Sunglasses Business

Do you want to start a sunglasses production company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a sunglasses line business with NO money and no experience plus a sample sunglasses line business plan template.

It is a known fact that sunglasses and similar eyewear are used in all parts of the world and of course those that produce these products, are known to generate regular sales if the business is properly managed. As a matter of fact, economic downturn hardly affects the usage of sunglasses because the commodity plays a major role in protecting the eyes from excessive sunlight and of course it is quite fashionable.

If you are thinking of starting your own sunglasses production business, then you must be ready to learn the ropes and scale through the necessary hurdles en route launching the business.

Before launching the business, you should ensure that you carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic, cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your sunglasses business, it will not take you long before you secure a reasonable market share in the industry and start smiling to the bank.

So, if indeed you want to start your own sunglasses production line, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well informed and equipped to achieve your business goal.

Steps to Starting a Sunglasses Line Business

1. Understand the Industry

Sunglasses or sun glasses (informally called shades) are a form of protective eyewear designed primarily to prevent bright sunlight and high-energy visible light from damaging or discomforting the eyes.

Interestingly, sunglasses business falls under the glasses & contact les manufacturing industry and players in this industry manufactures ophthalmic goods, comprising of eyeglass frames and lenses and contact lenses. The industry also produces sunglasses and protective eyewear, such as goggles amongst others.

Prescription lenses are essential to the visually impaired, insulating this product segment from economic downturns. While consumers have increased expenditure on glasses and contacts over the five years to 2018, competitively priced imports have satisfied a growing portion of consumer demand for industry products over the period. Going forward to 2023, the dollar is forecast to depreciate, reducing domestic demand for industry products.

Research conducted by IBISWorld shows that the Glasses and Contact Lens manufacturing industry is concentrated in the West (19.3 percent of establishments), Great Lakes (18.4 percent) Mid-Atlantic (18.0 percent) and Southeast (17.6 percent) regions.

Glasses and contact lens manufacturers typically locate close to their downstream wholesalers, who in turn operate close to major population hubs. The West, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and the Great Lakes account for the majority of the US population and are the most densely populated.

By maintaining proximity to downstream customers, industry establishments can minimize transportation costs and turn inventory faster, bolstering margins. California has the highest concentration of industry establishments in 2017 with an estimated 13.1 percent, in line with the state’s 12.1 percent population share.

The Glasses and Contact Lens Manufacturing industry is indeed a major sector of the economy of most countries in the world. Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, the industry generates over $7 billion annually from more than 827 registered and licensed big scale glasses and contact lens manufacturing companies.

The industry is responsible for the employment of over 26,090 people. Experts project the industry to grow at a -1.7 percent annual rate. The establishment in this industry that has a dominant market share in the United States of America are; J&J, Novartis, The Cooper Companies Inc. and Valeant.

In spite of the fact that the sunglasses production business appears to be somewhat saturated in the United States of America, there is a positive outlook for the industry especially when it comes to leveraging on the changing trends in beauty cum fashion.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to go into sunglassmanufacturing because of the vast opportunities that are available in the industry and also because the industry is indeed a thriving and profitable one especially when it is well positioned and promoted.

One of the major factors that encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to venture into into this business is the fact that there are readily available markets for sunglasses and similar products. In spite of the fact that there are stiff competitions amongst sunglass manufacturing companies, if you are able to carve a niche for yourself, it won’t be too difficult for people to accept your products.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition for those who make use of sunglasses and other related optical products is all encompassing. The truth is that when it comes to selling sunglasses and other similar optical products, there is indeed a wide range of available customers.

In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all those that reside in and around the location where you have your sunglasses et al for sale and who have the purchasing power. So, if you are thinking of opening your own sunglasses production business then you should make target demographics all encompassing.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

There is no niche idea in the sunglasses production business. Those who are into the production of sunglasses are also into the production of other related optical products.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The competition that exists in the sunglasses production business goes beyond competitions in your city or country; it is both national and international. This is so because major sunglasses brands in France, Italy, united kingdom, China and in any part of the world can be found in stores all across the United States of America. So, it will be right to say the competition in the glasses and contact lens manufacturing industry is stiff.

The truth is that, no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you have what it takes to churn out quality products and you know how to reach out to your target market.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

When it comes to sunglasses production, you can be rest assured that there are world class brands whose products are scattered all across the world; brands that have successfully become household names. Here are some of the well – known sunglasses companies in the United States of America and in other part of the world;

  • Prada
  • Versace
  • Burberry
  • Christian Dior
  • DKNY
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Gucci
  • Oliver Peoples
  • Paul Smith
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Thom Browne
  • Tom Ford
  • Armani Exchange
  • Ermenegildo Zegna
  • Optsun Eyewear & Sunglasses Manufacturer
  • American Optical
  • Warby Parker
  • Michael Kors
  • Randolph Engineering
Economic Analysis

If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt international best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

Sunglasses manufacturing processes have become increasingly sophisticated in response to greater demand for high quality, stylish glasses. So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of the required raw materials and other equipment needed to successfully run the business.

If you are considering starting a sunglasses line, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of setting up the business and churning out quality sunglasses but also on how to build a robust distribution network. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust distribution network, you are sure going to become a household name.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

It is a generally accepted view that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing how you intend starting a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission.

Unfortunately, you can hardly find the franchise of a sunglasses line to purchase meaning that if you want to own a sunglasses business, then you must be ready to start from the scratch because there are loads of opportunities available to aspiring entrepreneurs that are interested in the industry, as long as you can carve a niche for your brand.

The truth is that it will pay you to start your sunglass line from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before positioning your brand.

Please note that most of the successful sunglasses production companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you chose to start your own sunglasses production business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established eyewear brands whose products can be found all across the United States and the global market.

So also, just like any other business, some of the major threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn and unfavorable government policies. It is a fact that economic downturn affects purchasing power.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

When considering starting a sunglasses production line, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow.

You can choose a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or even a sole proprietorship for sunglasses company. People prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons. As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and have your products all across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then choosing Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your sunglasses production company; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to study the various legal entities to use for your company, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

Interestingly, you have the options to upgrade to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation and this will give you the opportunity to grow your company so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own sunglasses line, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Bone Club™ Sunglasses, LLC
  • Shinny Star® Sunglasses, Inc.
  • Barry Grey® Sunglasses Production Line Company
  • Kiss Daniela® Sunglasses Production Line Company, LLC
  • Yvonne Stallone® Sunglasses Line, LLC
  • Anthony Moore™ Sun Glasses, Inc.
  • Stacey Lorenzo® Sunglasses Production Line Company, LLC
  • Allan Berg™ Sunglasses, Inc.
  • Phil Channel® Sunglasses Production Line Company, Inc.
  • Cute Eyes® Sun Glasses, LLC
  • Shanna Channah® Sunglasses, LLC

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States of America, you cannot legally run a business without buying the needed insurance policy cover. With the right insurance policy cover, you can be rest assured that your business will be protected when the unforeseen happens. The truth is that if you don’t have the right insurance policy in place, if things go wrong, it can threaten the existence of your business.

In the United States of America, there are quite a number of important insurance policy cover that a sunglasses business owner should consider buying and some of them are;

  • Public Liability Insurance (PLI)

PLI protects businesses against losses suffered by people or customers injuring themselves or sustaining property damage due to the activity of business, it is one of the most common types of small business insurance. It is of particular importance if you operate physical premises and regularly interact with customers in a third party or business owned premise.

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII)

PII is for businesses and professionals that provide advice or services to customers. It protects your business against any claims for damages or legal costs which arise due to acts of omission or breach of professional duty in the daily course of operations. It actively protects your business if advice or a service provided negatively affects a customer.

  • Employers Liability Insurance (ELI)

ELI protects a business that employs staff from financial losses incurred when a staff member experiences a job-related illness or injury. Workplace injuries can be extremely costly for an employer if they are liable. ELI offers protections against this and it’s particularly relevant for business who have many staff involved in physical work on their behalf, i.e. manufacturing, event planning, construction et al.

  • Product liability insurance (PLI)

Product Liability insurance (PLI) policy cover protects your business from damage to property or personal injury caused by products your business/company has supplied or sold.

  • Key Man Insurance (KMI)

Key man insurance policy cover protects businesses from the loss of a key employee such as a CEO by paying out a large sum on the event of their death or incapacitation. It is effectively life insurance against anything critical happening to a key employee. If your business is entirely reliant on one employee or a small group, this insurance can often help save the business from bankruptcy in a disaster situation.

  • Landlord Insurance (LI)

Landlord Insurance policy cover (LI) protects business owners who own property from losses sustained as the result of renting that property. If a business owns its office and rents it out to other companies, this type of insurance will protect you from damages caused by a tenant.

  • Trade Credit Insurance (TCI)

Trade credit insurance policy cover is an insurance package that protects private companies from their customers being unable to pay back a debt due to bankruptcy, default or insolvency. It’s most relevant for companies that operate under a B2B model and have a range of key customers who use offered credit facilities.

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If at all there are any business that requires intellectual property protection (copyright ©), a sunglasses production line should be one of them. The truth is that your label, design and your style need to be protected or else anybody can successfully fake or create similar products and make money off your brand name.

If you want to protect your intellectual property or secure a trademark for your sunglasses line, you can visit The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to fill a patent application form. The process is not in any way cumbersome. You are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

Although you do not need any special professional certification before you can start your own sunglasses line, but you will do yourself a whole lot of favor, if you study production engineering or a related course before starting this this type of business. It will afford you the opportunity to truly maximize the business; you will be able to have full grasp of the business. 

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own sunglasses line in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Building License
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Starting a sunglasses line can be relatively expensive even if you choose to start on a small scale. Securing a standard and reliable production facility and purchasing equipment and machines are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital. If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard sunglasses production company.

When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your sunglasses production company;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for Loan from your Bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

When it comes to choosing a location for your sunglasses production company, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such product and easy access to labor and raw materials in the location you so desire to start the business.

Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your sunglasses line production business, it will enable you cut the cost of transporting your raw materials and finished products to and from your production facility and warehouse.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your sunglasses production company, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor.

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your sunglasses production company, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your sunglasses line company;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for sunglasses and similar optical products in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The numbers of sunglasses production companies in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

In setting up your sunglasses production facility, you are expected to put in place all that is needed to effectively run your business. You need to buy production machines, office furniture, create filling system (both online and offline), buy software apps, apply and obtain telephone line preferably landline, install your business signage and install CCTV and alarm system amongst others.

Please note that having a landline number for your business gives your business a legitimate business image and it makes it easier for customers to call your office. If you don’t have enough cash, you can start with fairly used equipment / machines but if you are financially buoyant, then you should go for brand new ones since they usually have a long life span.

As regard leasing or outright purchase of a production facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent / lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard sunglasses production company, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (Owner), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager, Sunglasses Designers, Production Engineers, Quality Control Officer, Machine Operators, Accountant, Distribution/Delivery Van Drivers and Client Services Executive. On the average, you will need a minimum of 25 key staff members to run a small – scale sunglasses production business.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business 

When it comes to the production of sunglasses and similar optical products, the first step to take is to determine the quantity, design and types (colors and sizes et al) of the sunglasses to be produced. Other steps involved in the process are securing raw materials

  • The Production of Lenses

The first step is the addition of colorant to lenses and this is done in two primary ways, either by adding color to the molten lens material before the lens is formed, or by chemically post-coating the finished lens to achieve the desired hue.

In the former method, the colorant additives are incorporated into the lens while the plastic or glass is at high temperatures and still liquefied. Soluble organic dyes or metallic oxide pigments are added to the plastic. Metallic oxide or metal particles are incorporated into glass.

After the appropriate additives have been blended in, the molten plastic or glass is then cast into the general lens shape, or “puck.” Inexpensive lenses are simple pucks that are placed into frames. Expensive lenses are prepared in a manner similar to the method by which prescription lenses are made. First the appropriate lens puck is placed in a lensometer, an instrument that is used to find the optical center of the blank.

The third step is that the lens is put in a curve generator, which grinds out the back of the lens according to the patient’s prescription. An edge grinder then grinds the outer rim to its proper shape and puts a bevel on the edge, allowing the lens to fit properly into the frames.

The lenses may now be coated with an anti-reflective material. The post-coating method produces lenses that are more evenly coated regardless of the lens configuration. It also allows for the coating to be removed and recoated after the lens is made.

Such coating may be applied through a vacuum coating method, used to deposit an antireflective layer on the lens surface to reduce internal reflections. This faint bluish coating is also commonly used on camera lenses and binoculars.

  • The production process for Frames

The finished lenses are now ready to be mounted in eyeglass frames. Frames are constructed to hold the lenses in place using either a tension mount or screw mount design. Tension mounting is typically used in plastic frames.

In this type of frame, the dimensions of the lens opening on the front surface of the frame are somewhat smaller than the lens itself. In this way the lenses can be pressed into their respective openings through the front edge of the frame without falling out its rear edge.

A groove is formed in the periphery of each of the openings, and these mate with a ridge formed on the periphery of the respective left and right lenses. The plastic frame material permits sufficient stretching or elongation to allow the lenses to snap into these grooves.

Part of the finishing process is that the metal frames use a screw mount design because metal tends to deform easily and cannot hold the lenses as well. The frame structure surrounding the lens openings forms an open loop into which the lens is inserted. After the lens is inserted, the loop is closed by attaching a screw to the two open ends. The sunglasses are now subjected to quality control before they are packaged and ready for distribution.

It is important to state that a sunglasses company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a sunglasses line, then you must employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands determining the market direction.

These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your sunglasses company;

  • Introduce your products by sending introductory letters alongside your catalogue to businesses in the fashion industry, optical stores and key stake holders throughout the United States
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business, so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products
  • Engage in roadshows in targeted communities from time to time to sell your products
  • Join local sunglasses cum eyewear manufacturers associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise our business in community – based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

The factors that will help you get the right pricing for your sunglasses and other related optical products is to source for cheaper raw materials, produce in large quantities, cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your sunglasses brand name.

This strategy will help you save cost, and get the right pricing for your products. If you are able to secure high volume sunglasses making machines; machines that are efficient to run and maintain, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your sunglasses company.

18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The quality and uniqueness of your sunglasses and similar optical products your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry. If wholesale distributors are making profits from selling your products, they will be more than willing to go the extra mile to help you push your products to every nooks and crannies of the cities they distribute products.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in the glasses and contact lens manufacturing industry is to build a robust distribution cum business network. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly competent and qualified and your products can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products.

If you can continue to improve on the quality of your sunglasses and similar optical products, customer service delivery and also give your customers options, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also to attract new customers.

When it comes to managing your customers and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software. With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your customers (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness.

If your intention of starting a sunglasses line is to have your products become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your sunglasses production company;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and fashion magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community – based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your sunglass brand
  • Install your Billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your sunglass brand
  • List your sunglasses production company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your sunglasses production company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where sunglasses production company is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles, distribution trucks are branded with your company logo.

21. Create a Suppliers / Distribution Network

If you are looking towards maximizing your sunglasses business, then you should ensure that you build a robust distribution network. Sunglasses and other related optical products do pretty well if they are found in optical stores in every nooks and crannies of the city.

All you need to do is to ensure that you work with independent wholesale distributors, network with players in the glasses and contact lens manufacturing industry (fashion stores, boutiques, optical stores, supermarkets and outlets where sunglasses and other related optical products are sold and used). It will give you leverage.

Just ensure that you leverage on pricing and quality to gain market acceptance; your wholesale distributors should be able to make good profits from selling your products if indeed you want them to go the extra mile in marketing your sunglasses.