A recent UK-based start-up with an extremely bright future
Loveskiing recently met up with James Pointer (Co-founder) from the exciting new UK-based sunglasses and goggle start-up, Melon Optics. We certainly see Melon soaring in popularity on the slopes in the coming years as they balance a blend of youthful enthusiasm and creativity with unrivalled passion and a knowledge of what customers want. Check out what James had to say below.
So, first things first, what is Melon Optics?
“Melon was born in 2013 as an outlet to combine our passions of outdoor living and boardsports with providing quality custom eyewear at an affordable price to the market. We originally focused on sunglasses, but having spent many winter seasons in the mountains we had always planned to diversify and became the first UK company to offer fully customisable goggles.”
When did the idea first come about? What inspired it?
“Melon came around as a concept whilst I was living in Indonesia for a few months. Finding a decent pair of sunglasses for under £75 was a struggle and the idea to start exploring how to provide quality, well-designed sunglasses instantly struck a chord. I’d got to the point where I was past working office jobs and I started looking for an avenue that could allow me the freedom to travel and continue doing seasons, whilst still being creative. From the moment Melon was created, things started happening real fast and expanding our product line to include goggles was always on the cards.”
How’s the journey been from where you started to where you are now?
“Fun, hectic, stressful and rewarding are words that come to mind. Our day-to-day team has grown from one person to four of us and we also have some great skaters, skiers, snowboarders and surfers as well as people helping out part-time that all play a part in making up the Melon family. Things can be pretty chaotic at times, we work really hard, but we are also our own bosses, which means when the surf is good or it’s been dumping with snow we make time to enjoy being outside.”
In terms of your products, what do you think sets them apart from your competitors? Why should avid skiers and boarders want to buy your gear?
“Our main selling points are our great price point, quality and the customisable nature of many of our models, which has proved particularly popular with our goggles. Very few brands allow customers to play a part in designing the product that they’re buying and those that do charge a high premium for the privilege.”
What can people expect this year? Are you excited about your new Jackson goggle range?
“The next year will see us keep working to improve our current line, as well as seeing the brand explore and expand into new areas. The Jackson goggle is officially being released online this week, although we did give a lucky few the chance to see the goggles first at the London Ski / Snowboard show. The response to the model so far has been great and we think that they’ll be a big hit this season.”
What’s different about the Jackson goggle? What makes it stand out?
“New for the 2014/15 winter season, the Jackson goggle is the result of the continuous design, testing and development that the Melon team dedicate their time to. Featuring a more angular frame, the Jackson offers a huge field of vision but in a smaller package than our Chief goggle, making it more suitable for those looking for a mid-sized goggle. It comes loaded with all the technical features that you’d expect from a top-of-the-line pair of goggles i.e. dual layer lenses, triple layer face foam, as well as our SwitchFast strap system. Being a rider-driven and owned brand we make sure the prices stay as reasonable as possible, with the Jackson goggle being available for £65.”
Is innovation a key part of your business model? Can we expect new and exciting designs every season?
“We’ve been blown away by the speed that the brand has grown. We are investing heavily in both current and new products as well as finding new ways to improve the quality of our gear even further. We’ve been stoked by the sell-out of our recent limited edition collaboration model with Westbeach and the success of our new “Premium” line of hand-crafted acetate sunglasses. As we grow, we intend to continuously introduce new designs and technologies in order to keep things as fresh as possible.”
Weren’t you recently at the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard show in London? How did it go for you guys?
“It went so well that we’ve already booked a space for next year. It’s really great to see new people who don’t yet know about Melon see the brand for the first time as the response is always so positive. Equally, meeting people who have backed Melon since day one and seeing how much enthusiasm they have about the brand and what’s coming up in the future is awesome.”
Where can people buy your gear? Are you available worldwide? Our American friends certainly seem to love Melon’s style…
“The best place to get our gear is from our website (www.melonoptics.com), where you can fully customise your own pair of goggles. We are currently available at a few independent retailers in the UK and Europe as well. At the moment we don’t yet have an American shop presence, although we do see quite a few orders coming from the USA and Canada. Worldwide shipping from our website is only £6, so it’s easy to get our gear over to those who want to support the brand States-side.”
Now, for a little bit of fun, we’re going to have some quick-fire questions:
Favourite place for après ski?
Rond Point, Méribel
Worst skiing injury?
90% ankle ligament tear
Your best moment of 2014?
Seeing people wearing Melon goggles on the hill
The Melon Jackson, of course!
Thanks a lot for speaking to us, James, and we wish you the best for the 2014/2015…We certainly see a very bright future for you and Melon and can’t wait to get some of our own reviews up on Loveskiing!