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Justin Heit on the Birth and Growth of SoCal Eyewear Brand RAEN

Designer shares insights into his fast-growing brand.

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ENTREPRENEURS ARE BORN, not made. Such is the case with co-founder Justin Heit, and likely the whole team at RAEN. “I’ve had an entrepreneurial and creative drive since I was young, and wanted to start my own brand since I was 15,” he says. Rooted in the skate and design scene, with stints at skate culture magazine Stance and watch brand Nixon, starting a California-designed collection of handmade eyewear was a natural.     

  • Born and raised in Oceanside, CA, my roots in the Southern California action sports culture coupled with my passion for surfing inspired and influenced me.
  • RAEN was born in the summer of 2008 with my brother, Jeremy, and our friend, Jordan Percy. We saw an opportunity to create premium handmade eyewear with a modern, classic aesthetic.
  • Jordan, our design director, manages the process from start to finish but we collaborate as a team on all collections. 
  • We use a product matrix to identify the need for new styles based on gender, style, face shape and trends. We begin each season with a storyboard and narrow the focus based on that product matrix and build out the new styles.  
  • Our original storyboards back in 2007-2008 included modern architecture, minimal design, negative space and timeless photography. Frames from the ‘50s and iconic silhouettes from the ‘60s and ‘70s have inspired our collections as we expand.
  • Outside of RAEN, I have a design agency, Libre Design, that taps into my interests outside the optical business. I’d continue that if I weren’t in the industry. As a creative, I’d be building brands. 
  • Hands down, Bob Dylan is the coolest I ever saw someone look in a pair of glasses. He looked incredibly unique in his frames and changed the ‘60s and American culture. He had a unique point of view and expressed what he wanted to express — people caught that energy and felt it was an extension of what they were feeling.
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Talking Eyewear With Justin Heit

The Remmy has been one of our signature models and looks great on everyone.

I also love the Luxury Wig collection by Alex Knost. Those styles — the Ashtray, Flatscreen and Figurative (shown) — are more editorial and have been worn by Rihanna, Emily Ratajkowski and Wiz Khalifa.

Finally, the Whidbey is one of my favorite styles in our Rx collection. It looks really great and has recently been worn by actress and activist Yara Shahidi. 

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Jump In — the Water’s Fine!

With a salute to summer’s shimmery, mermaid colors and warm weather-loving shades, Kenmark Eyewear celebrates this summer’s Aloha spirit with eyewear from Vera Wang, Kensie, Zac Posen and the Original Penguin Collection!

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ECPs Share Their Best-Selling Collections for September 2019

Sun sales started heading south for the winter.

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The Last Call 2 by WOOW flies off the shelf as soon as we get it! The TORY BURCH TY 6035, we buy them three at a time. — Kris Kittell, Torrey Highlands Optometry, San Diego CA

The Thom Browne TBS416 is a full-rim pilot style in plastic specially designed for men. With a snug fit on the ears and nose the temples feature the brand’s iconic tricolor ends and four bars on the left temple. MSRP: $525

The THOM BROWNE TBS416; everyone is looking for that classic cool-guy/gal pair that’s edgy yet sophisticated and this sunglass has it all. — Yen Nguyen, Black Optical, Desoto, TX

Top-selling vision brands in September
Eyeglasses

Ray-Ban (9), Kate Spade (7), MODO (6), Etnia Barcelona (4), Oakley (4), ECO (3), L.A.M.B. (3), Nike (3), Ted Baker (3), Scott Harris (3), Barton Perreira (2), Costa (2), David Spencer (2), KLiiK (2), Lindberg (2), Maui Jim (2), New York Eye (2), OVVO (2), Prodesign (2), Theo (2)

Sunglasses

Maui Jim (12), Wiley X (9), Kate Spade (7), Oakley (6), Costa (4), Nike (3), Bollé (2), Coach (2), Gucci (2), Kaenon (2), Spy (2)

* Brands mentioned by multiple Brain Squad members when asked what had sold well in September. Join at invisionmag.com/brainsquad.

  • MICHAEL KORS opticals, COACH suns and KATE SPADE and RAY-BAN in both. — Nicole Heyduk, Eye centers of Northwest Ohio, Fremont, OH
  • XAVIER GARCIA, KATE SPADE and RAY-BAN glasses; MAUI JIM suns. — Bob McBeath, Edina Eye, Edina, MN
  • LILLY PULITZER glasses, KAENON sunglasses. — Joyce Paton, Village Eye Care, Raleigh, NC
  • FURLA opticals, BOLLÉ suns. — Rick Rickgauer, Vision Associates, Girard, PA
  • MODO, great optical styles and the give back is a great selling point. SPY suns, they are a favorite in our area. — Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA
  • SCOTT HARRIS eyeglasses because we had a product refresh. INVU sunglasses. — Pam Peters, Midwest Eye, Downers Grove, IL
  • The three Ms: MIZYAKI, MOREL 1880s, MATISSE. They are unique frames for unique customers! Price point sells RAY-BAN and GUESS suns and ETNIA BARCELONA’s fashion-forward sun styles. — Deb Jaeger, Eye Center of the Dakotas, Bismarck, ND
  • LINDBERG because the staff loves it. MAUI JIM sunwear; we just got a new store in a store from them and added inventory as well. — Kristina Swartz, The Eye Site, Mishawaka, IN
  • NW77 and OVVO glasses. TACTICALRX and RANDOLPH sunglasses. — Bret Hunter, Sports Optical, Denver, CO
  • RAY-BAN in sun and optical because of product awareness. — Pam Neagle, Austin Eyeworks, Austin, TX
  • TED BAKER eyewear and KATE SPADE sunwear. — Theodore Sees, OD, Rockford Family Eyecare, Rockford, MI
  • The THEO Millie capsule collection and BOCCA sunglasses. — Sabina Krasnov, i2ioptique, Scottsdale, AZ
  • RAY-BAN opticals because of name recognition and WILEY X suns because of word of mouth from other patients. — Tammy Warmouth, OD, Main Optical, Luzerne, PA
  • MARCIANO and GUESS were both big sellers in ophthalmics. Both lines have fun frames that draw people’s attention. Heck, I wear the GUESS3042 in pink and LOVE it. The MAUI JIM Ho’okipa is always a big seller. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South GA, Valdosta, GA
  • NAUTICA glasses, BEBE suns. — Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision Care, Attleboro, MA
  • MAUI JIM sunglasses. — Judith Whitelaw, Dr. Gregory Char, OD, Orange, OR
  • It was a mixed bag for optical frames: L.A.M.B., DOLABANY and DRAGON. It was a difficult month due too many hurricanes, especially Dorian. MAUI JIM is always a best-selling sun line for us and we did well with KAENON. — Julie Uram, Optical Oasis, Jupiter, FL
  • The MODO 4235; one of their new fall releases, a sharp semi-rimless frame. Never thought I would say that the semi-rimless frames are coming back into style and I actually dig it! — Heather Harrington, Elevated Eyecare, Denver, CO
  • FABULOUS FANNIES because they are new to my peeps, and vintage is moving well. Tura’s Gwen Stefani L.A.M.B. and GX continue to do so well with my ladies and we just updated. For sun, ESE’s COCO AND BREEZY and Tura’s L.A.M.B, our clientele loves these lines and wait for the newest releases, which we stay up to date on. — Dianna Finisecy, Wagner Opticians, Washington, DC
  • ARISTAR may have had it by a nose in optical but suns were down. Everyone’s bringing in firewood… nobody’s playing outside anymore! — Jen Heller, Pend Oreille Vision Care, Sandpoint, ID
  • L.A. EYEWORKS! It was their 40th anniversary and we’ve carried them for the last 30 years. We had a big promotion with a 40th Anniversary window display. The Twill XL was the winner, it’s an update of a popular rectangular plastic frame but big! You always need one for The Big Head Club. — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA
  • COSTA optical was big last month, especially the Ocean Ridge. In sun, the MAUI JIM Nautilus. — Nicole Leonard, Custom Eye Care, San Antonio, TX
  • MODO, RAEN and GIGI BARCELONA opticals. RAEN, SPY and WILEY X sunglasses. — Travis LeFevre, Krystal Vision, Logan, UT
  • DAVID SPENCER, as it was a new line for us. For sun, MAUI JIM and RAY-BAN … I can pretty much copy and paste this every month. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • ANNE & VALENTIN, great fit, such wearable optical shapes and colors. BARTON PERREIRA suns; classic shapes in great colors. — Paula Hornbeck, Eye Candy & Eye Candy Kids, Delafield, WI
  • KLIIK, SERAPHIN and DAVID SPENCER; simple yet trendy glasses, and INVU polarized plano suns. — Laura Trudeau, Cornea and Contact Lens Institute, Edina, MN
  • MAUI JIM had an incentive for selling and we just received a new batch of fresh NIKE frames for the board. No major trend in sun but WILEY X had the top spot. It is always good for active people/motorcyclists. — Kim Hilgers, Monson Eyecare Center, Owatonna, MN
  • ASPIRE from ClearVision glasses and CELINE suns for women. — Leisa Lauer, Dr. H Michael Shack, Newport Beach, FL
  • MARCHON and ALTAIR eyeglasses, NIKE and DRAGON suns, and RAY-BAN (always) and OAKLEY in both. — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA
  • RAY-BAN, Europa and PRODESIGN opticals. — Erika Tydor, OD, Shoreline Eyecare, Shoreline, WA
  • Anything Tura: LAURA SPENCER, TITANFLEX, TED BAKER and L.A.M.B. Great price point and my go-to brand for uplifting shapes. I-DEALOPTICS for suns. Again price point and makes that second pair seem more reasonable to people. Also great for our contact lens wearers who need sunglasses. — Lindsey Pulford, Insights Eyecare, Manhattan, KS
  • OWP and CHARMANT TITANIUM ophthtalmics and BROOKS BROTHERS and OAKLEY suns. — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY
  • PRODESIGN and SERAPHIN glasses, OAKLEY and KATE SPADE suns and RAY-BAN in both. — Andrew Romeril, OD, Torrey Highlands Optometry, San Diego, CA
  • ETNIA BARCELONA glasses for both men and women are hot sellers. MAUI JIM suns are consistently our best sellers; we always say that once you’ve owned a pair, nothing else will ever compare. — Kenneth D. Boltz, OD, Dublin, OH
  • NIKE, FLEXO and ORIGINAL PENGUIN opticals. — Ann Gallagher, OD, Professional Vision, Ellicott, MD
  • MINIMA glasses and WILEY X suns. — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI
  • MODO, lightweight and beautiful colors. — Annette Prevaux, The Visionary Inc, Allen Park, MI
  • MODO/ECO glasses and MAUI JIM suns. — Elizabeth Hawkins, The Eye Station, Lees Summit, MO
  • LUNOR and THEO glasses and MAUI JIM suns. — Phil Harris, Eyes on Fifth, San Diego, CA
  • LONGCHAMP, KATE SPADE, COSTA and NIKE frames. COSTA and WILEY X suns. — Jessica Mitchell, Mitchell Eye Care, Starkville, MS
  • ADENSCO ophthalmics and RAY-BAN sunglasses. — Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • MAUI JIM ophthalmics. We expanded our collection that included a nice display. Definitely shows off the line better. MAUI JIM suns too; the more you have, the easier it is to show off. — Tim Gray, Visual Eyes, Huntingdon Valley, PA
  • ETNIA BARCELONA glasses, OAKLEY suns. — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH
  • ETNIA BARCELONA glasses and our ECO with polarized sun clips did the best last month. They are versatile for our patients and they love how the new shapes contrast from the frame. — Selena Jachens, Urban Eyecare & Eyewear, West Des Moines, IA
  • REAL TREE frames and POLAROID suns … doesn’t hurt that Lady Gaga was seen wearing a pair. — Angel Miller, Cynthiana Vision Center, Cynthiana, KY
  • CARRERA opticals, NIKE suns and KATE SPADE in both. — Betty Aretz, The Eyecare Boutique, Wexford, PA
  • ECO with clips and KATE SPADE LaDonna frames; ANN TAYLOR suns. — Stephanie Crowley, Sie Eyecare, Charlotte, NC
  • OVVO, people love the sleek styling, along with the light weight and durability. SCOTT HARRIS because it has great style and price point. SMITH suns, they have great sporty styles with good polarized lenses. WILEY X has also been flying off our shelves. We have a lot of requests for motorcycle glasses and these have been a great option. — Nichole Montavon, Oskaloosa Vision Center, Oskaloosa, LA
  • COLUMBIA suns. — Annie Thompson, Lawrence Eye Care Associates, Lawrence, KS
  • COLE HAAN in both. — Todd M. Clark, OD, Image Optical, Westerville, OH
  • The ECO model Flint. We sell several every month in all of the colors. It’s lightweight, durable, and affordable. MAUI JIM suns always! The optics can’t be beat. — Larah Alami, OD, Hudson River Eye Care, Tarrytown, NY
  • TED BAKER eyeglasses and WILEY X sunglasses. — Fred Sirotkin, OD, Eagle Eye Care, Columbia, MD
  • BLACKFIN, people rave about the lightness and the colors. WILEY X suns because of the great price point and the fact that they are safety rated. — Jim Williams, Eye to Eye, Mexico, MO
  • KLIIK and FYSH; for their style. SALT LIFE suns for the price point. — Amy M. Farrall, OD, Vision Center of Delaware, Newark, DE
  • People are asking for thin metals. Popular with that feature in our shop is GÖTTI and LINDBERG. — Julie Kubsch, Specs Around Town, Bloomington, IL
  • KATE SPADE is a new line for us. It has great colors and styles, plus name recognition. Men just want OAKLEY suns! — Heidi Hipsher, Northland Eye Care, Flagstaff, AZ
  • DRAPPER JAMES glasses. Sunglasses are a hard item for us to move. — Jess Gattis, Thomas Vision Clinic, Leesville, LA
  • GUCCI opticals because they had good looking styles. Suns don’t really sell in our office. — Minh Ta, OD, Specs Appeal, Decatur, GA
  • OAKLEY in both. — Susie Phillips, Dr. Brendon Johnson, O.D., Pekin, IL
  • KATE SPADE glasses, great new styles; SMITH suns. — Ann-Marie Weaver, Optimal Eye Care, Lewis Center, OH
  • VERA BRADLEY because we had just gotten new ones in. MAUI JIM suns. — Adam Doyle, Pearle Vision, Madison, AL
  • SILHOUETTE rimless, customers are wanting a lightweight frame. The fave: Titan Next Generation 5521. For sun, Ultimate Vision’s CHRIS CRAFT collection. — Mickey Bradley, Patrick Optical, Fort Worth, TX
  • The NEW YORK EYE line; very affordable and helps with insurance plans. COSTA suns because they sell themselves. — Becki Martin, Harrington Vision Center II, Florence, SC
  • The new SCOTT AND ZELDA line by NEW YORK EYE is doing well. — Angie Patteson, OD, Sunset Eye Care, Johnson City, TN
  • TOM FORD glasses and GUCCI suns. — Danielle Doniver, Heritage Optical, Detroit, MI
  • CHANEL because it’s exclusive and beautiful. ETNIA BARCELONA because it is fun, funky and well made and OAKLEY always has great turns and a loyal brand following. For sun, GUCCI … because it’s GUCCI, KATE SPADE and COACH because they are less expensive classics, and CARRERA for its sporty, great fit. — Susan L. Spencer, Council Eye Care, Williamsville, NY
  • BRILLENEYES, they are great quality frames that are extremely reliable. They also come in fun colors. In sun, the RAY-BAN Daddy-O. — Judy Scheuerell, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI
  • The frames we couldn’t manage to keep on the boards this month were definitely MODO. We brought in MODO as our first independent line and because we are all so impressed with the handmade quality and the brand story, we find that we choose these frames more when styling patients. MAUI JIM suns because it’s MAUI JIM! — Tiffany Firer, Lifetime Eyecare, Jenison, MI
  • The OAKLEY Currency frame for men. WILEY X frames were big sunglass sellers. — Caitlin Wicka, San Juan Eye Center, Montrose, CO

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Free Drug Database and More of What You Need to Know for December

And scientific papers cliff notes for the busy ECP.

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Marchon Signs Lanvin

Marchon Eyewear and Lanvin, the French fashion house founded in 1889, have signed an exclusive, long-term global licensing agreement for sun and optical eyewear under the Lanvin brand name. The first men’s and women’s eyewear collections will launch globally in September 2020, with a capsule collection of four sunglass styles from the Spring 2020 runway show previewing in March 2020. Crafted in Italy, the new men’s and women’s eyewear collections will embody Lanvin’s new aesthetic and attitude under Lanvin’s Creative Director, Bruno Sialelli. marchon.com

Clinical Cliffs Notes for ECPs

ECP’s are presented hundreds of scientific papers and posters on the latest advances in optometry research but digesting and translating this information for the benefit of their own practices can be a challenge. So, CooperVision has published a series of summaries of research presented in Academy 2019 in Orlando on ECP Viewpoints, its blog for eyecare professionals.

Articles are authored with the practicing ECP in mind, distilling and translating data for application in the exam lane to benefit the ECP and patient. Topics include contact lens performance and design, materials science, patient wearing experience, and more. coopervision.com/practitioner/blog

Free Database on EyeMedsNow

Designed by eye doctors, EyeMedsNow.com is a comprehensive pharmaceutical database designed for prescribers. Covering more than 100 ophthalmic conditions, one click gains access to information on all prescribing options, including OTC products. The database is structured to be searched by condition, classification, or keyword. Each drug card includes indications, adult and pediatric dosing, how the drug is supplied, warnings, precautions, and more; as well as local pharmacies with the lowest price. Payment assistance programs are also noted where available. eyemedsnow.com

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Products

Big Style and Petite Tech Perfectly Describe the Latest Product Releases

Click through for frames that make a statement and diagnostics with a small footprint.

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Fab Fashion

Designed with petite women in mind, the 10×256, from Modern Optical’s FASHIONTABULOUS collection, has a tortoise front, stainless steel temples, and temple tips of handmade zyl.

modernoptical.com

$150

New Perspective

With a design based on the Perspective collection’s Rimless and Bold, the Loop, from GÖTTI, offers a new twist on minimalism while using the same patented connecting system for combining colors.

gotti.ch

$490

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Captured!

Screening and detection of retinal pathologies just got easier, with the introduction of RETINA800, from ESSILOR INSTRUMENTS. This space-efficient, tablet-driven device offers a fully automatic, high quality retinal image capture.

essilorinstrumentsusa.com

$16,500

Four in Five

Capable of performing four non-invasive tests in five minutes, the IDRA Ocular Surface Analyzer from COBURN TECHNOLOGIES has a user-friendly grading scale that makes sharing results with patients easy and manageable. The fully automated, delegable, comprehensive dry-eye diagnostic system is made by SBM Sistemi.

coburntechnologies.com

Price upon request

Screentime Boost

The classic round eyeshape of the Attaché from GUNNAR raises the design bar for computer glasses. This blue light blocking style, made with a nylon frame material and flexible hinges, offers 100% protection from UV light.

gunnar.com

Starts at $79.99

Slim Fast

The styles in Thema’s IGREEN Hi-Tech 4.0 collection, including the iGreenV04_89, feature the collection’s signature polymer and metal temples, now in slimmer designs.

thema-optical.com

$289

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Architecturally Inspired

Inspired by architect and engineer Luis Barragán, TARIAN model G103, from the Graphic collection, is made with acetate and stainless steel, and features hard flex hinges.

jeremytarian.com

$460

Color Their World

The new, improved kids’ color blindness test from ENCHROMA makes it easier to test kids ages 5 and up for color blindness. And when a young patient is found to have color blindness, the Kid’s Kit offers a convenient trialing and fitting kit that includes four complete pairs of the company’s eyewear for kids.

enchroma.com

$269 per pair

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