Oakley Collection: Interview with Colin Baden, Oakley’s Chief Mad Scientist

Oakley CEO - Colin Baden

Oakley President & CEO – Colin Baden

Oakley has it all; they are bold, innovative, original and above all—just one cool brand. We sat down with Oakley President & CEO, Colin Baden to discuss the unique Oakley collection designed exclusively for LensCrafters, what the Oakley brand really means, and he shares one of his most inspiring moments.

Q:  Can you tell us about the exclusive Oakley collection for LensCrafters and what inspired the collection?

A:  The collection was inspired by LensCrafters’ best-selling frames in exclusive colors. For the Oakley Women’s Collection, we used unique color executions with bright color pops. The products have features designed for the active consumer, like snag-free nosepads. The Men’s Collection features an exclusive sun, Flak Jacket XLJ, as well as a variety of ophthalmic frames in an exclusive black and navy color pattern. Both frames featured in the front door (Flak Jacket and Given) are available in extended prescription ranges through Oakley Edge.

The prescription frame Crosslink Pitch is also a special story because it is the only truly active prescription frame available at LensCrafters. Crosslink Pitch comes with two pairs of temples that can be interchanged and has features like unobtanium nosepads and stems that will stay in place when the customer is running, biking, etc.

Q:  Tell us what makes the Oakley brand so inspirational?

A:  We have a real passion for the work. I think about it in 3 different ways —

  1. The hunt for the next big idea. It’s exhilarating to be on a quest to create something so unexpected and then totally anti-climactic and disappointing when the project is finished.
  2. Getting to work with great people, whether that’s athletes, designers, military, etc.
  3. The Culture. That’s our people and the environment that supports the type of thinking that makes us successful.

Q:  Oakley is an iconic brand synonymous with pushing beyond your limits. Can you describe a moment that is most meaningful to you?

A:  I’ve been here 18 years and the one moment that really stands out to me is a quadruple amputee U.S. Marine, laying in his recovery room at the Walter Reed Hospital, thanks us for saving his eyes so he can see his daughter again. The humility I felt at that moment for his sacrifice and appreciation is something I will never forget.

Q:  Why is LensCrafters an important partner for Oakley?

A:  If you think about how low the awareness is around Oakley being a brand in this space, LensCrafters is a great partner for a number of reasons. LensCrafters helps us tell our brand story in the optical channel in a way most other retail partners cannot. LensCrafters stores are everywhere! So when you need to rely on professionals to deliver your brand experience, we know we can count on the LensCrafters team. My one wish is that more people knew that we offer prescription lenses and we need good partners to connect us to our customers. We put a ton of research and development into our lens technology, lens colors, frame materials, etc.  A person that wears a prescription can have the same superior optics that they can get in our sunglasses.

Q:  If somebody doesn’t know anything about Oakley, what do you want them to know?

A:  That we design and develop all of our Optics products right here in our building in Southern California.

Q:  What are you most excited about this year in the Prescription Category?

A:  We have expanded the consumer base even further through our Edge technology, now reaching approximately 90% of prescription consumers with our sun lenses. We offer high wrap frames with prescription lenses in a range of +4.00 to -6.00.

Posted in OAKLEY.