Written by Himangi Bhavnani
In spring 2012, Chase Denison’s grandparents took him shopping after he got his driver’s license. He wanted an all-white matte pair of sunglasses to wear when he drove around.
Unfortunately, he had to settle for an all-black matte pair because popular brands “wouldn’t customize sunglasses for a teenager’s random request,” he recalled.
Almost instantly after receiving this response from customer service, Chase recognized a market gap and conceived his idea— Vybe— offering affordable, customizable sunglasses that could be worn with any outfit. He started sketching his designs.
His family guided him to the next step: hiring an engineer to design the interchangeable parts that could attach and detach smoothly. This 3D prototyping took seven revisions before Chase was satisfied with the final product.
The tedious part was yet to come— finding a manufacturer outside the United States. Chase needed to minimize costs to provide affordable products so he started looking at manufacturers in China. Filtering through hundreds of manufacturers, Chase narrowed down the choices to two. He described it as a painful process, because communicating past a language barrier to a different time zone while excelling in his academics and baseball required both time and energy. “However, it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. It’s never going to happen again,” he explained.
Chase’s entrepreneurial spirit is what drove Vybe’s success. The first sample worked out perfectly without errors. He began looking for investors and filed for a non-provisional patent before initiating full-scale production. His age and determination attracted several investors of which two joined Vybe and mentored him.
His first shipment arrived the day before he moved to New York and he couldn’t resist looking at the results of all his work. The sunglasses did not disappoint; as of 2014 Chase has sold over 750 sunglasses, and more are on sale at vybesunglasses.com.
Chase hopes to see Vybe expand into foreign markets and become a renowned brand. After that, in his words, “The sky is the limit.”