Coden Eyewear protects your eyes -- stylishly -- from 300 days of Colorado sunshine
One of the biggest perks of living in Colorado is the state's reputed 300 days of sunshine. Know what doesn't love that? Your eyes. So Coden Eyewear, a startup company from locals Ben Martch, Gavin Beldt and Gian Lasher, is pushing a new line of sunglasses designed for the Colorado lifestyle, with a range of styles and color options. We recently spoke with owners Martch and Lasher about how the company got started, their plans for the future, and how they spotted a niche that needed to be filled.
See also: 300 days of sunshine per year in Denver? Casting a shadow
Westword: Tell me about Coden and what it's like trying to get a new sunglasses brand out in the hands of consumers.
Ben Martch: We've had stores come to us and ask to be in their shop, as well as a lot of online retailers. We've been waiting until the product is on point, until the website is on point, and until everything is ready for the drop. Both Gian, [Gavin Beldt] and I started this as a side project, and now it's about to take over. We've put a lot of time and energy into it.
Gian Lasher: We are really focusing on the branding and getting the content right. We are ready to go. This is just the launch. Once we have the online presence (www.codeneyewear.com), we can use the leverage of that to expand to other outlets. We really want to work with local retailers because they seem to really want to work with local brands. There is something within the past couple years in Colorado that reflects this sort of pride -- this Colorado pride. So local stores working with local brands keeps all of that together. The Coden brand -- Colorado/Denver -- fits right in line with that.
Where are your products currently featured?
GL: I've spoken with several local spots, but I don't want to say anything until the products are in the windows. We've been doing a lot of trade shows and pushing them at local hip-hop shows. We were also at the last DunkXChange, and that event goes all over the country. We did that, and it's so cool running a booth and talking to people doing the same thing but with different products. It's this big community of people showing off their talents.
BM: For us, we recognize that people live online. Obviously, we are going to get local retailers, but the first step for us is really getting the website up and going. Once we get some eyes on the website, you can expand from there to more stores, online shops and everything. We've been working on this brand for over a year, so it's great to see it all come to fruition.
How are you releasing it locally?
BM: We are planning a Coden release party, but nothing has really been set in stone. We aren't in a big rush to do something like that, but with all of our shows with our Collective 360 organization, we are pushing Coden. People hit us up for the gear now, and we haven't done any marketing for it.
GL: Even Instagram! We've been doing small contests through that, and we have been getting huge responses just from that.