There's more to Fort Wayne than meets the eye. Aside from the plethora of restaurants, there's a bubbling creativity fueling the small businesses born here. Jamal Robinson is a local entrepreneur who founded Desiar, a handmade eyewear company with "future classic" style. His vision is clear and he wants to share the story of the process with the world, which is why the Desiar Indiegogo campaign was launched.
A modest goal of $10,000 has been set, and you can pre-order your own pair of Mach 3 sunglasses (at the time of this post Desiar has raised 66% with 14 days left), read on to learn a little bit more about this one of a kind company and why you should invest.
Jamal, a Fort Wayne native, attended Northrop high school and IPFW. After working on a fashion line in Orlando, Florida, he began cultivating his own eye for style. One day while watching TV, Jamal saw a pair of sunglasses on a rockstar that he really wanted. When he found out that they were made with diamonds, he decided to make his own. He went out, bought some Swarovski crystals and the rest is history.
"Desiar," with a little creative working, comes from the word "desire." The initial idea of the name stemming from the desire that people had for the glasses when they first saw them.
The first big break for the business came in 2008 when Jamal attended a concert held by Hot 107.9. Finagling his way backstage, Jamal told the guards at Soulja Boy's door that he was an eyewear designer with a custom pair for the star. "I'm almost always wearing some Desiar frames, and I usually carry extra around with me," Jamal notes.
Soulja Boy liked them so much, that he called Jamal and asked for more. Desiar was off and running, soon other musicians were calling for custom pairs as well. Artists would call with specific ideas in mind, and Jamal would build them.
Several years passed and in 2011, Desiar Eyewear became an official LLC. Wanting to enhance the brand, and make more than just custom pairs, Jamal created his own signature line. 2012 was the first launch, and it was a success, selling out quickly. Since then, Jamal has redesigned, redeveloped, and ignited the Indiegogo campaign to help spread the word.
It takes anywhere from 8-12 months for a new line to come out, from concept to completion. All of the eyewear are handmade. The average pair of sunglasses are touched 60 times during production, Desiar are handled more than a 100. Details like these are what sets the brand apart, especially the unique materials involved: Swarovski crystals, ethically sourced wood, and specially developed acetate.
Proceeds from the Indiegogo campaign will be used for funding production and work on the pre-sale orders. However, it's not just about the sunglasses, which are more about the feeling you get when wearing them (think rockstar/awesome), Desiar is promoting shades of change. In cooperation with Thirst Project, for each pair of sunglasses sold on their website, Desiar will provide clean drinking water for someone in need for 10 years.
All of this could not have been possible without teamwork, and Jamal decided to keep it local, drawing upon Fort Wayne talent for help. His right hand man, Chris Peña, is a homegrown graduate from Saint Francis with a background in marketing. Others, including Boyden & Youngblutt, to outstanding media men like Ryan Schnurr, Justin Sheehan, and Garrett Shaw have all had a part in getting things off and running.
From Fort Wayne, to the world, help support this young start up and find your "inner legend." Although the sunglasses are only available to order at the moment, Desiar has partnered with Longe Optical as the exclusive try-on station at all four of their locations.
When asked his advice for other young companies, Jamal gave his motto: "Dream it, believe it, do it, repeat it." Even if you fail, you'll learn a lesson, and do it better next time. The main thing is: take action. Jamal took the initiative, what will you create?