Woodzee launches USA-made line of sunglasses upcycled from whiskey barrels

Sunglasses upcycled from whiskey barrels
© Woodzee

Woodzee founder opens a factory in his own hometown, to make wooden sunglasses from recycled materials.

Luke Winter founded Woodzee with the goal of making more sustainable sunglasses, and now he’s taking that vision further by opening the company’s first factory in the U.S.

Woodzee previously manufactured all of its products in China, but Winter told TreeHugger that he wanted to also create a more local product. Starting in the beginning of this year, he’s been setting up a factory in his hometown of Chico, California. All of the products made there will be manufactured with domestically-sourced wood, which is either recycled or certified sustainable.

The first USA-made collection, which is set to launch tomorrow, is made from upcycled Maker’s Mark whiskey barrels. Each pair of sunglasses features a hand-flamed finish, so every pair is unique and will retail for $150. Winter said they can produce about 200 pairs of sunglasses from 20 barrels.

Winter said that although manufacturing in the U.S. gives him more control over the materials and cuts down on shipping, the company will also continue offering sunglasses made in China for now. “I can’t just change my price point and company overnight, so I’m going to offer both.” Woodzee’s current collection ranges from about $75 to $105.

Winter said the US-made collection will also feature a new construction, which is designed to make the sunglasses stronger. And all of Woodzee’s products can be sent back to the manufacturer for recycling, should you get tired of them or break them.

The company currently plants a tree for every pair of sunglasses sold, but in keeping with their increasingly local ethos, they plan to focus more on local issues in Chico. Customers can select which charity they wish to contribute to when they buy online. “This way, we’re investing in our community,” said Winter.

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