Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jensen Brehm, Founder of Ombraz Sunglasses, located in Seattle, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We design, produce, and sell armless sunglasses for people who are active outside. Everyone wears sunglasses, and everyone has the same frustrations with them. They break, fall off, hurt the sides of your head, and overall, they're an immense pain in the ass. We solved those issues by removing the sidearms and replacing them with a comfy, adjustable cord. Ombraz don't break, won't fall off, and they are truly more comfortable than ordinary sunglasses. The eyewear industry has existed for 250 years, and there has not been a single fundamental design shift. Those who try these for the first time are always pleasantly surprised. When you dial in the perfect fit, it is hard to return to a normal pair of sunglasses. They're simple, and they work.
Tell us about yourself
I like to solve problems with creative solutions and deliver a net-benefit impact. We plant 20 mangrove trees for every pair of Ombraz we sell, which makes each pair over 2000X carbon-negative - that's something I am super proud of. No other product in the world sequesters more carbon than a pair of Ombraz.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say planting our millionth mangrove tree through our business operations is my favorite accomplishment this far! Winning WireCutters Sunglasses of the Year, Outside Magazine's Gear of the Year, Men's Health Gear of the Year, Backpacker Magazine's Gear of the Year, and Wired Sunglasses of the Year were all also pretty awesome.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Finding the right team members - it's critical to success, and you can't be hasty. Take time to build a solid core team around you - because you can't do everything all the time, forever.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Focus, make scalable decisions (grow intelligently) and surround yourself with smart, helpful mentors. I developed these core pillars vital to the success of this brand, and I think anyone who reads them could find them incredibly helpful. I'll share them below.
- Protect the Brand - We're building something unique & special. Make decisions that protect & elevate what we're building. Never sacrifice the brand for short-term wins.
- Continuously Improve - Maintain relentlessly high standards that exceed expectations. Quality is first, always.
- Deliver a Net-Positive Impact - Generate net-benefit environmental, social & financial impacts. From our supply-chain partners to our employees & customers, we create a positive experience for everyone who interacts with us.
- Be Curious & Think Outside the Box - Use your problem-solving nature to navigate around dead-ends and drive results. Ask questions. Be Tenacious. Be a knowledge sponge. Bend the rules of normalcy.
- Simplify - Take a minimalist approach to alleviate complications & enable growth.
- Find Mentors - Forge relationships with smart people who can help you grow personally and professionally.
- Think Scalably - Invent processes that address root causes & build systems that support efficient growth. Deep-dive & make data-driven decisions.
- HAVE SOME DAMN FUN!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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