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Future Looks Bright for My First Shades
SLP Enterprises Making Licensing Inroads with Sunglasses for Kids
December 5, 2006

Parents who know even a little about eye care often spend upwards of $100 on sunglasses. But when it comes to shades for their kids—including infants and toddlers—they skimp on a cheap pair that provides no real protection. According to Kevin Tilton of SLP Enterprises, this is a huge mistake.

“Many consumers don’t understand the importance of protecting the eyes for children,” he says. “It’s even more critical in the early years of development.”

One of My First Shades’ generic basketball styles.

This fact was the impetus behind My First Shades, which specializes in UV protective eyewear for newborns to teens. SLP has been making sunglasses under the My First Shades brand for nearly five years. Tilton says his company has tapped into a market that is otherwise completely ignored.

“My First Shades is the best around,” he says. “We fall between fashion and equipment in the eyewear industry. No other brand offers the level of protection we do. All of our sunglasses offer professional grade optical quality.”

Now that My First Shades carries an MLB license, word is getting out nationwide about the brand. In 2005, for instance, My First Shades was the top-selling eyewear in Babies “R” Us. “We’ve been approached by other licensors,” says Tilton. “We’re very interested in NASCAR. We do great business in Canada, and retailers there want us to explore an NHL license. We’re also building the brand in Europe.”

A style from the Extreme collection, geared to kids who like sports like snowboarding and rollerblading.

'My First Shades actually caters to four different markets: newborn to tweens, children, youth ages 12 to 14, and adult “weekend warriors.” All styles combine fashion, utility and technology. Retail price point for kids’ models start at around $10. “We’re a profitable item for retailers,” says Tilton. “I’ve seen our sunglasses sell for $8.99 up to $24.99.”

One message that Tilton wants to get across to the industry is the My First Shades isn’t a novelty. “There’s a perception out there that the marketplace has adequate product in protective eyewear for kids,” he says. “That’s not the case. We are worth the investment.”

 

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