ROUND TABLE: ZEAL OPTICS

(Questions answered by Mike Lewis, Marketing/Team Manager)

Who are you and what are you about?
Proudly based in Colorado, we are the world’s most sustainable sunglass company and most technically-advanced goggle company. But more importantly we’re about encouraging people to get out in the world and EXPLORE MORE!

Where are you based out of?
Our headquarters are in downtown Boulder, Colorado, the perfect spot for outdoor inspiration and product testing!

Zeal HQ in Boulder, Colorado

Zeal HQ in Boulder, Colorado

What do you do to support snowboarding?
We eat, sleep, and breathe snowboarding and that shows in the details of our products and our efforts to help grow the sport. Beyond providing goggles that keep your eyes safe with polarized technology and integrated cameras and GPS to enhance your experience, we work with a number of groups to help grow the sport’s base, including SOS, Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, and Bring a Friend. We host numerous premieres here in Boulder and around the world with our retail partners to fuel the stoke early season and you can find our reps and Airstream at events around North America promoting not just snowboarding, but what makes it fun – spending time in the mountains with your friends. And getting rad.

Clear up the worst misconception about your brand.
Interesting question. I think the biggest misconception is that we only make tech goggles. We've become very well known for bringing GPS technology to the market with the original Z3 and for eliminating the Teletubbies look with our integrated HD2 Camera Goggle and the HD before that. However, we have a broad range of goggle styles, 21 in fact, for all people and price ranges, featuring our never-ending focus to improve our lens technology and help you see the mountain like never before.

What do you see as the biggest problem in snowboarding?
Snowboarding is confronting a number of issues right now, but I don’t think they’re much different than what the sport has faced in the past. It’s expensive, resorts are remote, it’s cold, it hurts when you fall, and there has been a lot of negative press about injuries lately and the sport’s “demise.” I think this demise is greatly exaggerated and the data supports that view. At the end of the day, snowboarding is one of the most fun things you can do on earth and we all need to do what we can to share that experience, that stoke, and get people riding. 

We also face a real issue with traffic in congested areas such as Colorado. Driving up I-70 on weekends sucks and I know countless people that have stopped riding regularly because of it.

The other real issue we face increasingly is climate change. Snow and temperature patterns are changing drastically and while we’ve been getting more snow in CO this last year, the thermometer is a roller coaster making the backcountry increasingly unsafe.

Who is your target market?
We are all ZEAL. We are very inclusive and want to share the stoke with anyone with a desire to snowboard and to see life differently.

Any types of people you DON'T want representing your brand?
Haters. People that are too cool to share their passion and think they own the sport.

Zeal "Ambassador" Jussi Oksanen

Zeal "Ambassador" Jussi Oksanen

Where do see the company in 10 years?
As a strong, independent brand in the space that has just launched the first goggle-based teleporter. That’s the future of wearable technology ;)

Have you ever turned down a retail shop that wanted to carry your goods? Who and why?
Yes. I’d rather not name names, but it’s been shops that are solely into snowboarding for the money and don’t represent the sport or the brand correctly. We've also pulled out of a number of shops for discounting product. Our goal is to create a business based on demand, and production that matches it, not on fire sales. That cheapens all product and snowboarding in general.

What local shops carry your products?
Near Boulder, we work with: All Board Sports, Confluence Kayaks, Nod & Rose, Meta Skateboards, Cedar & Hyde, Progresh, Topo Designs, Curating the Cool, Green Mountain Sports, Powder7, Colorado Power Sports, and Christy Sports to name a few.

Anything else you want people to know about?
ZEAL Optics is a family. From our athletes, to our employees, to our customers, our advocates make up the brand and our goal is to welcome people into a community, not just have them purchase a product.