One day “avid runner” Stephen Lease looked in the mirror and had an awakening: He looked like the biggest tool in the world. Lame hat, dorky shades, compression everything, giant arm sleeves, run belt with gels, and a performance diaper. (Okay, the performance diaper is a joke, but everything else is true). "What the f*** am I wearing right now?" he wondered.
After hitting rock bottom, Stephen noticed most runners weren't wearing overpriced high-performance sunglasses. They wore cheap sunnies from gas stations. There was a huge opportunity for stylish, fun, functional, affordable shades in the running space. This was the seed of goodr! (A pink, flamingo-shaped seed, watered with piña coladas.)
SDL co-founded goodr with two friends from high school: recovering lawyer Ben Abell and biology major turned rappin’ actress Keri Blunt. (In HS, Ben and Keri were voted “Most Likely To Take Over The World.” Stephen was voted “Best Hair”.) On March 15, 2015, they launched the company with a Kickstarter campaign, shipping sunnies from an apartment. Stephen, Ben, and Keri created goodr's brand: $25 active sunglasses for everyone. All of our badass shades speak to the four Fs: Fun, Fashionable, Functional, and 'Ffordable. We exist to give you permission to be unabashedly yourself… unless you're an asshole. And the mascot is a drunk kleptomaniac flamingo named Carl. It just makes sense, people.
For the first two years, the trio kept the brand afloat while working full-time jobs. Did we mention Stephen created five failed companies before goodr? The sixth time is the charm! The brand quickly grew from three old chums in an apartment to 20 buddies in The Cabana (Playa Del Rey store) to 100+ lifelong BFFs in The Lagoon (Inglewood HQ and warehouse).
During its seven-year overnight success, goodr added five verticals (RUN, BEAST, BIKE, GOLF, GAME), expanded to seven frames (OGs, BFGs, Runways, Circle Gs, Mach Gs, VRGs & PHGs), collaborated with major brands (Warner Bros, The Rolling Stones, PBR, Dunkin'), and increased to 2,500+ stores in 20+ countries. In 2021, the brand launched The goodr Cabana, an experiential retail store located in the heart of the Abbot Kinney shopping district in Venice, CA. (It's not a store. It's a party! But it's also a store.)
goodr sunglasses have won several product awards, including Runner's World Gear of the Year (three times!), a GQ Fitness Award, and a Women's Health Fitness Award. Also, the brand received press coverage so good it FEELS like getting an award (Oprah Daily's Must-Have Gear, PGA Buyer's Choice, Rolling Stone’s Favorite Sunglasses For Athletes, Men's Health Best Buy, Outside's Best Cross Country Ski Touring Gear, Inc. Magazine's Best Places to Work).
But despite all the glitz, glamour, and piña colada-fueled shenanigans (what happens in The Lagoon stays in The Lagoon), goodr still boils down to that fateful moment Chief Executive Octopus Stephen Lease looked in the mirror. "We sell fun, not eyewear," says Lease. "For $25, we can put a smile on your face. And that is a very powerful thing."