Parkman Sunglasses is a DIY Project Turned Bright Idea

Chatham natives create an innovative line of shades with Parkman Sunglasses.

Photo courtesy of Parkman Sunglasses.

Christopher and Andrew Shalhoub were nearing the seventh hour of a road trip in 2012 when they began brainstorming DIY projects. “We’ve always been handy, so we started throwing ideas around about what we could make with wood,” Andrew says. The winning concept: Craft a pair of sunglasses using scrap wood and other found materials.

Months of tinkering left Christopher, 32, and Andrew, 28, who has an engineering background, with an unexpectedly stylish product. They resolved to “jump in and turn it into a business.”

Parkman Sunglasses launched in July 2014. It takes the brothers just two weeks to handcraft about 50 sunglasses in their 2,500-square-foot workshop in Mountainside. Each pair starts with raw lumber that is given time to season—an important step in ensuring that the finished product doesn’t warp. The wood is sanded and set in three layers, two layers of either walnut or cherry and one of aircraft-grade Baltic birch plywood. “That Baltic birch core gives it a lot of strength that other sunglasses don’t have,” says Andrew.

The brand’s collection includes three wooden styles in two finishes and four acetate frames (added to offer variety) in four colors. The chic shades sometimes incorporate repurposed materials like excess wood from guitar making, scratched vinyl records, and coming this month, a collection that uses scrap wood from a drum manufacturer.

Prices range from $95-$255. Available at select retailers and online at parkmansunglasses.com.

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