Brand Spotlight: Garrett Leight

GET TO KNOW GARRETT LEIGHT

TRENDYGOLF is incredibly excited to announce our newest brand partnership: Garrett Leight California Optical.

Since 20009, Garrett Leight has been setting the standard for sunglasses and eyewear, creating high-quality, classic styles that are worn from Hollywood Blvd to London and beyond. Born and raised in Venice, California, Garrett still calls the beach town home and with TRENDYGOLF's office just down the street, it seemed like the perfect fit. Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Garrett to discuss his brand, inspirations, and, of course, golf.

BACKGROUND

Hi, my name is Garrett Leight and my brand is Garrett Leight California Optical. I’m from Venice, California and we’re here at the first store that I opened in 2009. I opened it in Venice because I love it here and it was my hometown and I just believe in the neighborhood.

My family has a history of being in eyewear -- my dad started Oliver Peoples. I spent three years working for them, learning how to build an eyewear brand and reverse-engineering the different elements of a brand from design to marketing to sales and P.R. I learned from the best and when they decided to sell their company I decided to start my own and make it a more modern, youthful version for the next generation.

I had never done development so the challenge at the beginning was learning that side of the business. I had a great understanding of what made a great pair of glasses though, and I had connections with great factories which really helped me. Our first collection launched at the end of 2010 which is when we approached some of the most premium accounts in the world of department stores and fashion boutiques.

INSPIRATION

I was inspired by the fact that my dad was a legend of eyewear. He didn’t name the brand after himself and it’s not as though he didn’t get the recognition he deserved but when I started mine I wanted to carry on the family legacy. Competition is a huge part of who I am so I just wanted to prove to myself and to my family that I could build something great -- a career for myself.

Beyond that, I’m inspired by people. Venice is a big inspiration to me because of the people. People that are passionate about what they do. I used to work in the store every day and whether people were working in film, or music, or architecture -- even if they were real estate people -- people that are good storytellers, and are passionate about what they do, and happy with what they do, they inspire me and that fueled my fire to build my own thing because I wanted what they had. Venice is a special place and has always been filled with those types of passionate people.

Our goal was to feature those different characters around Venice Beach. That was really our whole marketing strategy -- to take this lifestyle and sell it to the rest of the world as an aspirational, desirable lifestyle.

GOLF

I got into golf when I was 14 and Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters -- that’s really how I fell in love with it and I’ve been playing consistently since then. I found a way to play once a month in college and when I moved back to LA I tried to also get out about once a month. When I started my business I probably didn’t play as much at the very beginning just because of the amount and travel and how hectic everything was but in the last three or four years as I’ve built an incredible team around me that could handle some of the day-to-day tasks that I was doing it freed up some time for me to take care of me. And it has become an obsession -- an obsession with my swing and my mental game for the past two years and it’s just a great escape.

I’ve gotten to travel as well. I’ve been to Bandon and I’ve played golf in Paris. I take my sticks with me often when I work now to see if I can set up an extra day. I’ve been going to New York for 10 years and I’d never played golf there and never even considered it a place to golf because it was such a workplace for me. Now I’m seeking out some really great experiences which is cool.

WORKING WITH TRENDYGOLF

I had been doing some research and to me, it’s just the premiere multi-brand golf site in the world. They have the best items as well as exclusive items so it’s always been a great option if there was something that I wanted.

First and foremost though, I decided to work with TRENDYGOLF after building relationships with some of the founding members that helped build the site. Meeting some of the people that work there now, it’s exactly how I want to get into the golf industry -- just through casual friendships. I’m in no rush really, we don’t have a golf ‘sport’ collection. My approach to getting into the industry isn’t one of ‘high-performance’ and all I see is ‘high-performance’ marketing in golf. I’m under the impression that I can play my best round in a pair of classic sunglasses that I look good in and it won’t make-or-break my score. All I want to do is pitch a golf lifestyle that works beyond the fairway but that also works on the course. TRENDYGOLF allows me to talk about that.