Happy Hour: two for one drinks, good times with friends at your local bar and now a sunglass company. Professional skateboarders Bryan Herman and Braydon Szafranski launched Happy Hour Sunglasses in November, 2011, and are enjoying the company's first summer.
Both Herman and Szafranski have ridden for the same board company, Baker Skateboards, for more than a decade and have their partnership rooted in filming for videos, touring and the everyday hijinks of being professional skaters. Being brought up in skateboarding by trendsetters like Andrew Reynolds, Jim Greco and Eric Ellington, these two friends grew up in the midst of a "gear crisis."
When deciding to launch a sunglass company, Herman and Szafranski used their years of experience of being sunglass connoisseurs. They've gone through vintage thrift stores pairs, "cheapies" from gas stations and even designer brands, which would all inevitably break and didn't stand up to the needs of skaters. Herman explains, "When I found the shades that I liked, I was like, 'I want to know if I can do that in a skate shade… cheaper, not having to worry about it breaking.' Because usually when I'd buy glasses, they'd be two hundred dollar Ray Bans. I'd break them and I'm like, 'Sick, rad. This sucks'."
Szafranski chimes in, "We sell Happy Hours for fifteen or twenty dollars, if they break you're not going to freak out. Anytime you can add extra gear without dropping your pockets is awesome."
In addition to Herman and Szafranski's personalized shades are those of Happy Hour team riders Dustin Dollin, Chima Ferguson, Justin "Figgy" Figueroa and Don "The Nuge" Nguyen. Each pro has their own saying printed on the arm of the sunglasses.
Herman continues, "Inspiration comes from everything around you and everyone wants something new and cool and different."
Szafranski interrupts, "That's what I like, that there's nine pairs of shades, instead of one. If you wake up and you're not feeling that pair... I have a lot of gear crisis and now you have glasses that go with everything. You can buy nine pairs for what one pair of Ray Bans cost."
Keeping overhead low, Herman and Szafranski have made their own display racks out of skateboards, tie dyed their own t-shirts to screen and are currently shipping out of a garage in Orange County, Calif. Less than a year into it and they're already "in the black". With the profits pouring back into the brand, Herman proudly exclaims, "That's the cool thing about Happy Hour, a lot of people are backing it." From the team riders, distributors, shops and the kids, Happy Hour is taking off. With Herman's business savvy (Herman is co-owner of Pharmacy Boardshop), Szafranski's natural charisma, a drunken smiley face for a logo and a name like Happy Hour, what's not to like? Cheers guys.