This article is a part of our encyclopedia, and is editable by you. Edit ➜
No early career info added yet...
Jeff started Grown Eyewear in 2011. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Grown Eyewear?
I was a teacher and would find my mind wandering to product ideas in class. I would say I was a good teacher and liked doing it, but it was clear that it wasn’t quite enough. In 2009 I had launched a headwear brand (Beardo®) and it was going quite well, but I had an urge to do something that would do good. So odd as it seems, the idea to create a company that ‘did only good’ came long before the actual product idea.
Be stubborn in your pursuits, but not so stubborn that you won’t humor the idea of changing paths if something isn’t likely to work.
I didn’t know what I was going to sell, only that the profits would go to help others. I was first inspired by a documentary I saw on TV in Australia about an eye doctor named Fred Hollows.
He was an extremely selfless man who travelled to poor countries to give free eye treatments to communities in need. People would literally travel for days by foot to see him and he was able to give back sight to many people who had been afflicted by treatable issues like cataracts. That’s where it all started for me. It touched deeply and from there I decided to find a way so that I could give back something.
From there I decided that creating a brand based around a high quality and sustainable product would be a great match. Because we were dealing with eyes and cataract issues, naturally sunglasses were an easy product choice, but as mentioned, I wanted it to be sustainable.
There was no sense to me in creating a product to give back to those in need while burning oil and pollutants to make plastic products. That is when I started researching fibre and other materials to use. Wood was a good choice as I had seen others in Europe trying it, and by using only FSC certified wood and bamboo I could ensure that the materials were grown in registered plantations and sustainably sourced.
Though sunglasses were a seasonal product for most of the World, in Australia it’s always sunny and I knew wood sunglasses were something that others would also be interested in. It seemed to me that the whole world was growing more aware of personal impacts on the environment and the timing was just right.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story