Owner and CEO Gary DiSalvo said he and his wife, Dana, stumbled upon Popticals, a collapsible sports sunglasses brand, when looking for potential business ventures to pursue together.
“It kind of fell into our lap,” he said. “We were really excited. After we did our due diligence and got sample sunglasses, we realized there’s something here.”
The DiSalvos had wanted to go into business together for a while, according to Gary DiSalvo. After watching Dana start a gift and home décor business from home, Gary said he felt an excitement different from what he felt in his corporate job.
Unlike other shades, Popticals sunglasses fold up into compact shapes using a rail system in the frames. Once folded up, the sunglasses measure about four inches wide and weigh about one ounce.
Popticals was previously under the direction of St. Louis businessman David Porter, who co-founded the FURminator pet-grooming company. Introduced in 2016, Popticles left the market in 2018 after being tied up in Porter’s contentious divorce from his wife and FURminator co-founder Angela Porter, according to Post-Dispatch reporting at the time.
The company’s new headquarters and warehouse are in Ellisville, where the DiSalvos live.
Popticals are geared to outdoor enthusiasts with collections for golf, fishing, skiing and everyday styles and retail between $149 to $209. The sunglasses feature include nylon lenses from Carl Zeiss Vision and Italian-made frames.
“There’s diversity within different frames and a lot of different applications you can put these to,” Gary DiSalvo said. He said he likes to wear Popticals sunglasses when golfing as the purple and violet-tinted lenses are designed to enhance players’ vision of golf balls on the green.
The global sunglasses market size was estimated at $29.72 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $31.26 billion by 2023, according to Grand View Research.
Technavio predicts the sports sunglasses market will have a compound annual growth rate of 7% from 2022 to 2027, continuing an acceleration the industry has seen the past few years.
Technavio attributed this to the growing awareness around the need to protect one’s eyes from sun-related medical illnesses and the increased rate of the ozone layer depleting which could contribute to such illnesses. Additionally, more people involved in sports and outdoor activities are viewing sunglasses as an appealing and trendy accessory, it said.
“There’s tremendous opportunity in the market. Who doesn’t own a pair of sunglasses?” Gary DiSalvo said. “If you’re going to a concert, you can just throw [Popticals sunglasses] in your pocket when the sun goes down. There’s all kinds of applications. The tagline says it all: ‘For everywhere you’re going.’”
Gary DiSalvo would not disclose the terms of the deal. Though they acquired the brand last December, Popticals have only been on the market under the DiSalvos a short time, at popticals.com. The DiSalvos say they hope to open a physical store one day but want to get their foothold online first.
“Sales have already started to roll in,” Gary DiSalvo said. “People on social media have been positive. We’re excited for the upcoming months.”
This article originally appeared on stltoday.com on 11/26/2023.