Buried in orders for its handmade sunglasses and with its sights set on new products, a local startup has moved its manufacturing abroad.
Nectar Sunglasses, founded in Richmond in 2012, began outsourcing its production and shipping operations about two weeks ago. The move will allow co-owners Sean Holmes and Dylan Roukous to get out of their office at 2401 W. Main St. and focus on marketing and brand expansion for their 18-month-old company.
“When you get an order for 500 sunglasses, it takes you a good while to make that by hand,” Holmes said. “We’ve been so bogged down by just having to do orders all the time. [Now] we can actually take a step back and focus on [other] needs.”
The glasses are now produced overseas, and orders are shipped out of a fulfillment center near the Richmond International Airport. Those chores used to be performed out of the company’s office and workshop in the Fan.
Holmes would not say where the glasses are being produced, but he said the company chose to move its manufacturing overseas to take advantage of production infrastructure that was already in place, rather training new employees to put the sunglasses together stateside.
The restructuring of its logistics comes amid the best sales stretch in company history, Holmes said.
“June was our best month, now July is our best month. We’re hoping August will be our best month ever,” Holmes said.
Since the company’s founding, Holmes says they have shipped sunglasses to all 50 states and 24 countries. He would not share specific sales figures.
About 60 percent of Nectar’s orders come from its website, where it offers a make-your-own-shades service that lets customers choose their frames, arms and lenses.
The other 40 percent of the company’s business comes from placement in retail locations. The sunglasses are carried in several locations across Richmond, including West Coast Kix, Segway of Richmond and Venue Skateboards, as well as about 40 locations outside Virginia.
Nectar’s sunglasses range from $13 to $25 on the company’s online store.
Now Nectar is ramping up its efforts to put the company brand in front of its target audience. In coming months, the company expects to sponsor events across Richmond, including the RVA Wake n’ Sun Fest. And it is set to announce an endorsement deal with a professional surfer in September, Holmes said.
The company is also working on an apparel line. Holmes plans on putting out T-shirts and tank tops within the next year. There is no official release date set.
“That’s a big push,” he said. “Once we get everything kind of solid with the fulfillment center and everything’s working well, that’s when we’re going to switch gears.”