Zeal Sunglasses 2024 Preview

Retail Buyers Guide:  Sunglasses S/S 2024 Retail Buyer‘s Guide
Brand:  Zeal Optics
Interviewee: Mike Lewis, Sr. Director of Global Marketing

How was the sunglasses market overall in 2023?
Last year was an interesting one globally as saw some softening at retail following heavy pandemic purchasing and spring came really late to much of the world on the tail end of a long winter. We saw things pick up after that, but the market felt a bit sluggish overall last year.

What new trends have you seen for sunglasses in board sports for 2024?
The biggest trends we’re seeing is a focus on high-quality polarized lenses in quiver-killing styles that you can rock from the beach to the bar, and everywhere in between. The thing we’re most excited about is our launch of our first artist collab with Pat Milbery with the Open Hearts Collection. Pat’s a former snowboarder who is doing amazing murals around the world and we’re stoked how these four SKUs came together. The focus is on the power of nature for improving mental health, and these will be launching later this year in Europe with a $5USD donation for every pair sold made to Tree Nation.

Have you introduced any frame shapes and colours in your 2024 offer?
We’re just launched the S/S ‘24 line and I’m really excited with what’s coming down the pipe. We’re offering some new wrap styles, as we’re seeing a ton of growth in fly fishing and SUP, as well as a couple of square and rounder lifestyle frames. Look for some really interesting new tortoise frames, with fun pops of color in our slip-proof ProFlex rubber temple tips and bridges. For our Fall/Winter collection, releasing in September, stay tuned for our first glacier glass in time for next winter!

Which lens technologies from your 2024 offer are most in demand?
Our Ellume Polarized lenses are cranking based on their plant-based raw materials, the amazing color pop you get from Ellume Color Filtration and our array of lens tings. Oh, and Auto Sun is always a crowd favorite for sports like mountain biking, kiting and fly fishing, where you’re in and out of the shade. It’s combination of polarization and photochromic technology is truly a game changer!

Have you introduced any new lens colours and tints in your 2024 offering?
We just released the new Ellume Polarized Phoenix Mirror a few weeks ago with the Spring/Summer collection and sales have been cranking! The new lens features our Ellume Polarized Rose-base with a bright red mirror. It’s available in two of the new styles, Kittredge and Whittier, as well as in four of our top-selling styles: Brewer, Caddis, Crowley and Windsor.

Any noteworthy sustainable practices in your production and shipping processes this year?
The raw materials we use at Zeal Optics are where the rubber meets the proverbial road in our quest to USE LESS in our production. All of our sunglasses are made from plant-based or recycled/recyclable materials:
METALS – Strength. Style. Sustainability. Zeal’s Metals are a confluence of strength, style and sustainability with unique design elements that stand out from the pack, while minimizing their impact on the environment. Forged from recyclable stainless steel, plant-based Ellume Polarized lenses, Hexetate and ceramic nose pads. BECAUSE DETAIL IS EVERYTHING. SEE GRASS – Reuse. Regrow. Reimagine. See Grass combines recycled plastic and grass fibers in a closed-loop system powered by renewable energy to create unique, durable frames with our lowest environmental impact to date. Recycled Plastic + Grass Fiber + Bio Gas = SUNGLASSES REIMAGINED. Z-RESIN – Plant-Based Performance Crafted from the versatile castor bean’s oil, this plant-based material provides an incredibly durable and lightweight plastic alternative without the footprint of petroleum. The use of Z-Resin significantly reduces the amount of C02 produced during manufacturing and is the staple of the Zeal Sunglass line. We’re also gearing up for our annual Shades for Seas campaign, where we clean 93 square meters of coastline for every pair of Zeals sold during Earth Month (April)

What are your marketing stories?
Technology and sustainability are driving our story for 2024, with a renewed focus on telling the story of our Ellume Polarized lenses. I think some of our competitors have done a great job of telling their lens story through marketing gimmicks. With our relationship with Maui Jim and Kering Eyewear, there’s so much tech packed into our lenses, and frames, and we’re going to put a ton of focus on sharing what makes our lenses unique in a crowded landscape.

How are you supporting retailers to sell this category?
Retailers are our life-blood and the majority of our marketing budget is focused on supporting them through an amazing in-store presence that drives sell thru. From our display program and customized display options to our robust custom POP and training, our goal is to give retailers the tools they need to turn their Zeal cases and bring retail back stronger than ever!

Key Products:

Black Mariner/Ellume Polarized Horizon Blue.



Open Hearts Crowley:
River/Ellume Polarized Dark Grey.



Transparent Green Havana/Ellume Polarized Phoenix Mirror.



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