A wonderful case study in the application of "If you brand it, they will buy."

Start with an interchangeable, injection molded, plastic frame coupled with low-tech polycarbonate lenses. Obscure the viewfield with your corporate logo and blast the lens with a color coded dose of iridium. The result is a cheap pair of sunglasses with rilly high margins.

I've two pair myself.

The Oakley Corporation was founded in 1975 by Motocross racer Jim Jannard. The first product was not sunglasses as they are known for now, but an innovative new style of motorcycle handgrip.

The next thing produced was, since Jannard liked 'cycles, were motorcycle goggles in 1980. This was the first time the Oakley name and logo were prominently displayed and begin the branding tradition Oakley is known for. The fist pair of actual sunglasses that the Oakley company produced was in 1984 and was derided for any years as being 'silly' looking. What Jannard did was take the lens plastics from his motocross goggles and attached them to a thin upper frame, and thus the Eyeshades line was born. The 'wrap-around' style glasses were not thought up at the time and Jannard, being a motocross racer, wanted sunglasses that would both soften the glare and keep dust from flying into the eyes. The Oakley line has since expanded into many other styles of sunglasses, backpacks, timepieces, Jackets and sneakers.

The company, named after Jannards' favourite Dog, IPO'd in August, 1995 at a price of $11.50 and is now traded on the NYSE under the stock symbol "OO". Jim has since, very vocally, regretted going public and describes it as the worst decision he ever made.

As for the technical side, Oakley exists in the premium sunglass market of ~$50-$350 US Dollars. The products and their price point rely heavily on such features as XYZ Optics, O Matter, X-Metal, Unobtainium Nosebombs and Earsocks and Iridium Lenses.

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