10 Things I Hate About You (sunglasses)
I was a fashion-frame girl in my 20s. In those days, you could find my bank account on empty and about $1K worth of sunglasses in my glove box—you wouldn't catch me without a good purse! I always said that you can roll out of bed with crazy hair (haha), but still have some statement shades & bag—no one will judge you!
I like fashion and appreciate good style.
FFWD 20 years -- I own a company that sells sunglasses catering to the likes of the stars of Gold Rush. I swear to the Lord, my biggest fear during the early 2020 COVID era was that when I watched Tiger King one of the characters was going to be natural as can be wearing a camouflage pair of Epoch Eyewear.
I apologize for my utter disgust with camouflage sunglasses. I recognize that there is something for everyone. But as the face of this brand, it's really hard when the products don't reflect me. Just so it's known, I equally hate pink, lime green & also the overuse of rubber inlay.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?
I do take ownership. Who I WAS got me into this. Ultimately, by way of trauma and attachment styles formed in childhood, I married into sunglasses, and I divorced my way into it, too.
Since this is my blog I'll just make it as long as I want to...Hopefully, you're here to learn how I ended up being the owner & CEO of Epoch Eyewear.
I went through the motions of education, at times feeling lost and unsure. I struggled in my early 20s, going through multiple majors in college before finally joining the Army National Guard. Leaving for basic training gave me space from toxic relationships and was a pivotal moment for me, one of the best decisions I ever made. I have also faced and overcome numerous challenges, proving to myself that I am capable of persevering through anything.
With the newfound confidence and a little financial stability (not a lot haha) I moved to Detroit and started the favorite chapter of my life.
When I graduated college at Wayne State University in Detroit, I was in my element. Saying I loved Detroit is an understatement. It was the first place in my life that I felt proud of who I was. I had kind of escaped my childhood and the chaos surrounding my family and upbringing. Not to say I wasn't chaotic, but I held my own and felt like a leader & successful in just about everything I tried.
While in college I bartended and served at so many bars & restaurants I won't list them. At one point, after an tough schedule due to enrolling late after returning from Iraq, I was bartending at Motor City Casino & Hockeytown Cafe, while attending classes and also picking up breakfast shifts at the Westin so I could get into the evening bar rotation, too. I would literally sleep between shifts and classes and pray that I could coordinate all of the shifts so I'd have 1 day off a week.
When I got my first job at Quicken Loans after finishing my BA, I was so excited. I loved working there and am really thankful for that experience. But I couldn't afford to live in the city on that pay, so I continued bartending nights & weekends....which brings me to HATING SUNGLASSES.
YES, I realize owning a sunglass company and hating sunglasses is not ideal. But not all sunglasses are created equal...just like all men, right? But when I wake up daily, it's my pursuit to create a sunglass brand that I feel proud of and is reflective of me. I want a line of sunglasses that doesn't offer a camouflage option out of principle!
10 things I hate about sunglasses...
My first encounter with "high-definition" sunglasses... I hated them. My ex-husband's parents owned a sunglass company, and their niche was "HD lenses"—amber ones that supposedly made colors pop. The frames were sporty wrap style. Post meeting him, I was only allowed to wear this frame...Sunglass trauma #1. They were all terrible.
For our wedding, my (former) mother-in-law made customized white sport frames with amber lenses that were printed with a wedding-themed logo. CRINGE. This sunglass, in my wedding dress, was incredibly uncomfortable. I hated every minute of it. Mostly that I didn't have the wherewithal to say I don't like wearing these.
I'll give a highlight reel of the next 4 year because even I don't want to relive the craziness of this...
Pregnant about 4 months after getting married. (was ecstatic. Still in honeymoon bliss).
Ex-Husband & Parents have a falling out -- he is fired from their company and plans to start a new one. Stupidly, my only thought is "How could they do this to him?!"
He decides to start a company in my name because he believes his parents will sue him.
We start Epoch Eyewear 7/2014.
Our son is born 8/31/2014.
We are sued by his parents 9/7/2014.
We are s served a cease and desist by Oakley 11/2014
Ex is raging mad!!!! ME: "This isn't who I met!" HIM: "I sold you on marrying me."
We're at war with his parents and what felt like the world for about 2 years. Finally, his parents filed for bankruptcy and we got some relief as their life crumbled. However, with the passing of that chaos I got to see who he really was.
At least 4 of those bullet points are reasons I hate sunglasses. So on to reason number 6.
#6 - If you haven't already gathered, my marriage was a sham and sucked. I don't want to openly diagnose anyone because I'm not a professional. However, if you know the simple stupid of a narcissistic personality disorder, it's that the narc is either in control of you or the victim of you.
I was learning this about the time I got in trouble because my ex-husband went through my Google search history and was outraged that I searched "Narcissistic Personality Disorder."
At the beginning of 2018, Epoch Eyewear (me owning 75% at the time) was overfunded and in a massive amount of debt. Between suppliers and lenders over a million dollars. Our most charismatic revenue-producing sales rep was doing stints in rehab and we were often lamenting how awful my ex was to work with. I trusted him because we shared a conversation and general disdain for "him". However, when I had to make a business decision and fire someone who simply wasn't sober enough to work, he became my ex-husband's ally.
The two of them started a competing eyewear business. This in itself doesn't warrant a number on the list of WHY...but it does get me closer. These two gentlemen stole $70K worth of inventory and set off to be "the beginning and end of the eyewear journey." You've GOT TO BE kidding me.
#7 -- Remember the million dollars of debt I mentioned above? WELL, I lost $70K of the inventory to generate revenue to pay for that. THEN these two entrepreneurial gentlemen decided to sell the exact same frames to the customers they had always called on from Epoch. That hurt us a badly. They took their relationships, and if you've ever known someone with a personality disorder, you will understand the army they built telling their story of victimhood.
#8 -- "Why don't you guys have this?" "If you sold this frame, you would sell so many!" I hear this until I'm blue in the face!! And I very much need all the help I can get. However, when you're stocked on over 350 color & lens variants, and are out of stock on the best selling stuff...you begin to resent everything you look at!!
My ex-husband had ordered so much inventory believing you could send people whatever assortment you wanted and tell them it was a best seller...the best selling factor was that he designed it. It took forever to get rid of that stuff! Can I tell you how much I hate camouflage sunglasses?
#9 -- From about 2019-2020 I lived in a constant state of fear. I actually got cranial sacral therapy and the therapist told me that I had no movement in my cranial sacral fluid because I was living in a constant state of fear. I was so over leveraged and overwhelmed. I was taking over a business that I wasn't familiar with and believing that if I could do the right thing it would keep moving and get through this. (Spoiler alert -- I wasn't wrong...just crazy).
#10 -- Every day I do a job that I don't want to do because I don't want to "fail". But as a result of not failing, it has impacted the friend, mother, cousin, sister & daughter I can me. I have to grin & bare it every day, when I don't see the light. Or maybe there is light, and everything is still just heavy.
I have struggled for years with how to present my company to the point I often don't want to talk about it.
This "Woman Veteran Owned" sunglass company is not representative of the woman veteran that owns it. I never would have led with that marketing. I cringe at the idea I have to tell someone I served to get them to buy something from me. Nonetheless, thankful for the support -- so thankful. But that's not my identity. And neither is debt, a toxic marriage, or a tough childhood.
SO the only reason I love sunglasses....
I have grown allowing me to experience how resilient and capable I am. A local business person in Colorado Springs has given me the best compliment that I've ever received. While seeking an investment he said, "You've got grit, and that's the only reason I see this as a worthwhile investment." To think I'm the investment meant a lot.
I have overcome so much and continue to grow and heal from what I've been through. I want to lead this company in a genuine and authentic way. Having a tough childhood conditions people to be targeted by people who are toxic (ie - Narcissistic Personality Disorder).
I didn't set out to be a sunglass person. I'm still not 100% sure I want to be one. But I certainly love business and people. I have come too far for someone to say that they knew I would fail.
If I hadn't gone through this situation, I don't know that I would have ever broken this "chaotic attachment style." My toxic (sunglass) relationship is what has helped me to learn, heal and grow. So I hate sunglasses, but without them I wouldn't have a clue how much I am capable of.
PS -- their company has already failed. That news solidified my belief that doing the right thing, even when it's hard, will serve you well (at some point).
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