Wellness is hot and today’s active-light, fashion-meets-function sports sunwear fits the focus, perfectly. We go one-on-one with 3 sports-centric ECPs to learn how to tap into this compelling trend today

Are you wellthy? Health + wellness is a major trend for 2018 (and beyond)—and it’s becoming a status symbol, to boot.

In 2016, the global wellness economy reached $3.7 trillion, and this healthy living arena is expected to continue to grow at a clip of 17% in the next five years. “Health and wellness is one of the few areas that will drive retail growth in 2018 and beyond,” Wendy Liebmann of WSL Strategic Retail tells EB.

How can ECPs tap into this wellness trend? The growing active-light category of performance sunwear is a perfect fit. Here, fashion plays a role, but ECPs tell us the real draw for patients is more about health plus protection—a fresh, new twist on fashionable function. Another big driving factor is the increased consumer awareness of UV and blue light.

To find out more, we spoke with three ECPs who are in the know.

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ECP #1

eyeSmith Sport & Fashion Optical,
Parkville, MO

» Backstory: After 35 years in optical on the East Coast, Smith relocated to the Northland and opened eyeSmith six years ago.

» Category Growth: “90% of customers are now that active-light consumer who wants protection while driving, golfing, fishing, or just watching their kids’ games. They’re concerned about UV damage and eye disease.”

» Sales Stats: 1,400-square-foot showroom. 30% of total sales is Rx performance and sun.

» Sun/Sports Inventory: 600 pair. 15 suppliers. “It’s what sets us apart. The usual office has a handful of sun. We have a whole wall of quality sun and performance product.”

» Key Lines: Costa, Maui Jim, and Rudy Project/RACE. “Put a Costa sunglass on consumers, and they are sold. Costa really knows how to manipulate light.”

» Promotion: Drive time radio. Chamber of commerce events. Relationships with area motorcycle and bike shops. Word-of-mouth.

» Best Peer Tip: “You have to be willing to invest in inventory and be a real expert.”

ECP #2

Eye Gear Sport Optics,
Summerlin, NV

» Backstory: “After 10 years in optical and a lifelong passion for sports, I opened a tiny 600-square-foot space specializing in prescription sport product. I just moved to a more retail location in Summerlin.”

» Category Growth: “I’m now seeing as many casual athletes as serious ones…maybe more! Business has always been big with the mid-30+ demographic.”

» Sales Stats: “Nearly 75% is in specialty sports. I’ll be adding more non-Rx.”

» Sun/Sports Inventory: Displays include eight cases (plus wallboards) of Oakley, and two cases each of Ray-Ban and Maui Jim.

» Key Lines: Oakley, “my dominant brand by far.” Also, Ray-Ban, Maui Jim, Kaenon, Persol, Serengeti, BollĂ©, Spy, Wiley X, and Zeal Optics.

» Positioning: It’s all about location. “I share a parking lot with Las Vegas Cyclery, Peet’s Coffee, Sportif Chiropractic, and Power 360 Personal Training.”

» Best Peer Tip: “Networking is key. As a recreational and competitive cyclist, I network as I pedal!”

ECP #3

Associate + President/CEO
Vision Clinic + Vicious Vision
Sunwear, Springfield, MO

» Backstory: Two years after launching Vicious Vision premium polarized sunglasses, Dr. Jordan joined the five-location Vision Clinic at its main 7,000-square-foot Springfield facility.

» Category Growth: “We definitely see that health and wellness trend, with more people in tune with protection at all ages. It’s driven by the knowledge people now have about blue light.”

» Sales Stats: Sun, 20% of sales. Performance product represents 60-70% of those sales in the Springfield location’s 2,500-square-foot dispensary.

» Sun/Sports Inventory: 250 sunglasses/performance products on display.

» Key Lines: “The Ultimate Lens Package by Essilor is killing it! Transitions for the first pair. Often Vicious Vision, featuring the Xperio UV technology in a sports frame, for the second.

“We’ve seen Oakley and Maui Jim sales go up since we started offering Vicious Vision. Instead of cannibalizing, we’ve grown the whole category.”

» Promotion: A booth at a local event each month—including women’s groups, a “Terrible 5K,” and a Vision Day with the local minor league baseball team.

» Positioning: “I’m a melanoma survivor and very passionate about exposure.”

» Best Peer Tip: “We ask patients to bring all their eyewear, including sunglasses. That encourages the conversation.”


On a scale of 1-10, the average stress level among Americans rose from an all-time low of 4.8 in 2015 to an all-time high of 5.1 in early 2017, according to a recent study. As a result, more consumers than ever are reporting disrupted sleep, anxiety, irritability, and fatigue—and they’re turning to self-care techniques like meditation, exercise, and dietary changes to mitigate the effects of stress.