NJ Teen Hopes To Transform Sunglass Biz

Matthew Sheffield is a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School by day and an entrepreneur by night. His latest venture, Shady Eyedeas, is a line of sunglasses with interchangeable frames, lenses and stems. So far, all that’s missing is the funding.

Last year Sheffield, 18, was shopping online for a pair of new shades, when he had his “a-ha” moment. “The sunglasses used many of the exact same components: black lenses, frames,” says Sheffield. “They were just a different combination of parts.”

With input from an engineer and a designer, Sheffield came up with a proprietary mechanism using magnets that allows users to transform his shades without any tools. The patent-pending system locks the independent parts together with just a twist.

Sheffield, who is bound for Lehigh University in the fall, offers a quick math lesson in the Shady Eyedeas concept. Two pairs of Shadys, each $30, allow customers to make up to eight variations; with three pairs, you can make 81 pairs. The entire collection of Shadys—eight frames and four lenses—can be transformed into 2,000 unique pairs. Sheffield says the cost of the entire collection, $150, is equivalent to the price of a typical designer pair.

Armed with his idea, Sheffield turned to the Internet for funding. Anyone can become a Shady Eyedeas backer at the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. Sheffield has 60 days to reach his goal of $25,000. With 12 days left in the campaign, he has raised $1,694. But the production mold alone requires a five-figure investment.

As a seasoned veteran in the world of entrepreneurship—creator of eTeq LLC, the creator of security application Friend Lock—Sheffield is determined to make Shadys a success regardless of Indiegogo’s impending deadline. “Shadys will be available for preorder on ShadyEyedeas.com after the completion of Indiegogo, regardless of if the Indiegogo campaign is funded successfully,” says Sheffield. “I’ve been speaking to some distributors who might be interested, and retailers who want to potentially carry them.”

No doubt, it has been a transformative experience for Sheffield.

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