Countless awesome things have come from someone’s Grandma’s basement. Thanks to Chris Beresford we can now add quality eyewear from Dang Shades to that list. Free storage rent and a hot breakfast everyday, sounds pretty good to me.
I’ve always liked sunglasses. I saw the market and I like the style glasses that I do.
When did you start Dang Shades?
It was 2008. It all kind of happened when I bought a die cut machine. I started making stickers but I didn’t have a company or an idea. I didn’t even think about sunglasses yet. I was looking to go to [High Cascade Snowboard Camp] and you need [sunglasses] up there because it’s always sunny.
You saw the demand from campers for sunglasses and decided to supply that demand?
Yeah that was basically it. Airblaster was doing shades, but I wanted to focus on sunglasses. I knew I wanted to make affordable fun glasses, something you can wear and break without crying or [having to] save up money for the next couple weeks to buy another pair.
Beresford: Sunglass mogul and hippy hopper. Photo courtesy Dang Shades.
Where did the name “Dang” come from?
It started as a joke. I figured I’m from the East Coast and down for the Hang Loose logo. I don’t know why that logo came to mind but that’s it. When I first did sunglasses I thought that was too long for the side of a pair of glasses so I chopped the name to Dang. That’s it, Dang Shades. I thought it sounded good.
How did you take Dang from a sticker company to actually making a product?
I just started researching online and I got the cheap style shades- the black ones with the neon arms and they were horrible. I started slapping stickers on the side and that was basically it. You get the right people wearing them up at camp and people start thinking, hey that’s cool. It can be anything- you can sell them anything. I started off small and honestly it was not a good product at [the beginning]. Now I can actually say that I’m happy with what I am selling and can stand behind it. It’s definitely picked up a lot in just the last year. This year was my first real big order. It’s probably not even big but to me I had to invest money for 1200 shades. I was scared and nervous but I made my money back in the first few weeks. I’ve been getting phone calls for glasses that I don’t even have. I have one rep down in North Carolina, but other than that people have to email me.
Woah a rep? When did it go from High Cascade staff sale to available in shops with a rep force?
I didn’t have expectations so it just kind of built [itself]. I was making enough money to pay my rent and I was so psyched on that. I was like woah; this is turning into something that is real. The rep sells Dinos and knows Think Thank and the guys I film with so it was natural. I was like, hell yeah, I don’t know that territory and I’ll never be there.
How has being in Govy during the summer helped business?
Living in Govy for the past five summers [has] helped so much. I know [that] without High Cascade Snowboard Camp having my back Dang would really just be an East Coast thing. With the online world and facebook I have people all over the country have been visiting my website daily. Thanks to High Cascade is all I can say.
Bundy’s on the team! Photo courtesy Dang Shades.
How is winter business? Are there goggles prototypes in the works?
I was thinking about doing goggles for a little bit but once I actually got in touch with people and went over the numbers- I just can’t really afford to do it. It’s nice because in the summer it keeps me busy but I’m still filming too.
Is Dang helping to fund your snowboard endeavors?
Totally. My two sponsors that help me are K2 and ThirtyTwo and I make enough to live, but that’s it. Say I need a new car, like I do right now, I could not do that from snowboarding at all. I can eat and get by in the winter but without Dang I would have to get a real job, like a nine-to-five doing something I don’t want to be doing. I feel like I am doing exactly what I want to be doing right now.
Are there other accessories in the line for the future?
Not necessarily, I want to do another style of sunglasses for the spring and just t-shirts and stuff. I got t-shirts in few weeks ago. I almost do that more for myself because I like to wear them and design t-shirts that I like. Simple I guess.
Do you have an office?
I do it all from my Grandma’s basement. I get the funniest emails, people think I’m some legit deal and it’s just me. [Laughs] One of the guys from Fat-Trax, which is the snowboard shop I used to work at, helps me with shipping in the winter. As soon as I’m off on a trip I’ll just shoot him an email, but other than that it’s just a one-man show.
Photo Aaron Blatt
Is there anyone else involved?
I’m the only guy. It’s all been kind of my idea. I’ve had a few people try to jump in and invest some money, but I don’t want to owe anybody anything until I am sure. I kind of just want to expand it on my own for now.
Who’s on the team?
Ben Bogart’s been on since the start. Burtner’s on there but I don’t know if he’s a hidden team rider because he rides for Lib Tech goggles I think. There’s Bode Merrill and Austen Granger is a long time friend I grew up riding with. I put myself on, that was kind of weird and for a long time I didn’t use my name but everybody else does it. Look at Grenade; Kass always used himself for ads. I thought that was dorky but I guess that’s kind of what you have to do in a weird way. I put myself on the bottom of the list. Oh and Ted Borland.
Why are those guys the team?
Honestly they’re just good buddies and friends that I’ve known forever. They understand and hopefully some day I’ll be able to get them some cash. They’re just down. There’s no questions asked.
Another Dang team rider Austen Granger. Photo courtesy: Dang Shades
Why start a snowboard company?
I really didn’t mean to enter the world of the snowboard industry or even start a company. It all just came together by accident but snowboarding has had my back and gave me the opportunity to travel and see places I would have never had the chance to see. Starting up Dang gives me hope that I’ll always be a part of snowboarding and the shade business side of things.
Where can we buy the shades?
You can get them on DangShades.com, EasternBoarder.com, and there is a shop in North Carolina called Recess- Dang is on their online store.
Did I leave anything out?
Not really, that’s my story. It’s not too cool. It’s just getting a little bit more real, you know, like it could actually be something in the future.