Chase Fisher Takes Us Behind the Vision of Blenders Eyewear
Chase Fisher, the visionary founder of Blenders Eyewear, has always been driven by a passion for adventure and an unrelenting desire to blaze his own trail. It was this same tenacity that propelled him to launch one of America’s fastest-growing sunglasses brands, transforming the eyewear industry with his unique blend of style and affordability.
As fate would have it, the genesis of Blenders Eyewear occurred during a night out in San Diego, where Chase’s neon green “beater” sunglasses caught the eye of his fellow party-goers. The overwhelming response to his shades was all it took to ignite a fire within him, and soon enough, he found himself fully immersed in the world of sunglasses.
With his keen eye for style and a deep understanding of the market, Chase quickly identified a gap in the industry for a mid-priced eyewear option that was as trendy as it was affordable. Armed with nothing but a $2,000 loan from his roommate and an unwavering work ethic, he took to the beaches, selling his shades out of a backpack while also working as a surf coach.
It was through sheer determination and grit that Chase honed his vision, creating a brand that epitomizes the spirit of adventure and forward motion. Today, Blenders Eyewear is a household name, adored by fashion lovers and adventure seekers alike. Millennial caught up with Chase to learn about his incredible journey building one of the coolest brands of the last decade.
How did growing up in Santa Barbara influence the culture of Blenders Eyewear, Chase?
As a kid, surfing wasn’t purely a hobby — it was a tremendous part of my daily life and how I grew an appreciation of brands. I loved how there was a vibe and story behind the creation of all my favorite gear. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I later became a sponsored competitive surfer.
My sister was a badass surfer, snowboarder, and soccer player — the ying to my yang. We’d do everything together, and our mutual love of sports competition would later fuel the integral relationship Blenders enjoys with professional athletes today.
Explain your journey as an entrepreneur, and which skills you acquired along the way?
One of the first big lessons I learned is that the notion of “smart = success” is fluff. Starting a brand invigorated me with passion and motivation. I began to gain self-confidence and my creativity was truly allowed to shine. Traditional schools use an outdated scorecard — once I stepped away from that limiting structure, I developed as a professional and as a person by allowing myself to learn and grow each day in a manner that made sense to me.
I started from nothing, so I had to learn marketing, branding, manufacturing, operations, customer service, social media, management, leadership, hiring, firing … you name it! Entrepreneurship is a journey of self-discovery, and perhaps the largest lesson of all I’ve discovered is that hard work always beats being “genius-minded.”
Describe your lifestyle. How do you maintain the proverbial “work/life” balance?
Honestly, if you’re focused on becoming an entrepreneur, you should re-evaluate the term “work-life balance.” It is one of the biggest myths sold in entrepreneurship. If you’re a new entrepreneur hoping for a balanced life, you’re in for a rude awakening.
I’ve learned as an entrepreneur that work-life balance should be viewed over the course of a lifetime rather than day-to-day. I spent most of my 20s sacrificing vacations, time with family and friends, relationships, and more. The grind was and is real. But I knew it would pay off later in life.
Blenders and the community built around it is the vehicle for my life in a lot of ways. I used to grow up watching surf movies of exotic locations that I dreamed of visiting. Now I do. I used to dream of sponsoring athletes and highly influential people. Now I do, and I have the pleasure of calling many of them friends.
What I do and who I am are inextricably linked to Blenders. I built the brand around the ideals of my favorite passions and hobbies, and now with the company’s success, I get to live out many of my dreams. But first came sacrifice. In many ways, that sacrifice continues. Trust me, though — it’s all worth it as long as you believe in what you’re doing.
Give us a realistic picture of what it’s like to be a successful entrepreneur.
Most people don’t know this and sometimes they don’t even see it. But to be a successful entrepreneur, there is a toll that must be paid to ride that road. Whether you pay it financially, personally, mentally, guess what – you’re paying the toll. And if you can’t afford it, then don’t do it.
What do you consider the biggest accomplishment of your life so far?
Building a community around my brand is the coolest and most rewarding piece of my entrepreneurial journey to date.
But if you’re asking for a single event, undoubtedly it’s when the second-largest eyewear company in the world, Safilo, acquired Blenders for $90M. That was a top-of-wave feeling that is extremely rare for any founder to experience. I’m immensely proud of it.
What sets Blenders Eyewear apart from its competitors in terms of its style?
I mentioned earlier that I had a knack for standing out as a kid. That appreciation for the unique is something I built into the foundation of Blenders from the beginning. We strive to be different here on purpose, standing out through color, style, and design. When you see Blenders in the wild, it’s unmistakable and we love that.
A few key points:
- We create viral storytelling pieces through our products.
- We’re bold in our approach and take risks that other brands and competitors are too scared to take.
- We hold experience in the highest regard and do our best to ensure that experience is nothing short of epic.
- We stand out with our unique position in the market at the intersection of lifestyle and active.
Describe the challenges that come with your content creation strategy?
There are two types of content: Brand content and direct-response content. They’re wildly different from one another and serve entirely separate purposes. The challenge is marrying the two to arrive as close to the center as possible.
What recommendations do you have for nurturing an online community?
Don’t be faceless. Show who you are. Most brands never step outside their logo.
- Do what you do well and have fun doing it.
- Listen to feedback and include your audience in product development.
- Host live events, make your retail stores an inviting place, and highlight all those efforts through social media.
- Take pride in the journey.
Which consumer trends are you keeping an eye on?
The dynamics of how people shop are changing. While we’re stoked about creating incredible brick-and-mortar retail experiences for our customers, Blenders Eyewear will continue to embrace digital shopping and the improvements that can be made there in the future, such as the availability of augmented reality virtual fit and sizing tools.
Also, an increasingly data-driven approach should enable us to create products that are most likely to be appreciated and worn by consumers, reducing waste and increasing sustainability.
And finally, Chase, what advice do you have for aspiring influencers looking to build a brand?
Build something of value — something real and legitimate that has equity in it. Grow an honest business that gives back to the community by delivering not just a product but something of merit and worth to consumers.
It can be tempting to try to do too much, but focus on being great at one thing and create a category of one around that. Resist being short-sighted and spreading yourself too thin, diluting your influence among a sea of other brands and limiting your potential career path. That is perhaps the absolute worst decision I see people make.
Find a mentor in your field. Focus on amazing products and equally amazing customer service. But most importantly? START. Life’s finest teacher is experience. And of course, be a brand that employs people and makes lives better.
Chase Fisher’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and following your passion. From humble beginnings selling sunglasses out of a backpack, he has built Blenders Eyewear into one of America’s fastest-growing eyewear brands. His vision for trendy, affordable sunglasses has disrupted the industry, inspiring countless others to pursue their dreams and blaze their own trails.
To learn more about Chase Fisher, visit the Blenders Eyewear website or follow him on his social media channels: