How It All Began... We wanted them for our own baby!
ro•sham•bo baby is owned and operated by San Diego family Scott, Julia and their little girls, Avery and Chloe. The idea started in 2012 after realizing that nobody was making high-quality practical kids sunglasses while at a Padres baseball game with a four month old staring up at the bright sun with no protection. Scott put his adult sunglasses on her and lightning struck: Little People Deserve Big People Shades. That means making our stylish baby shades in Italy. That means assembling them by hand in the USA. That means all polarized lenses. That means making them prescription friendly frames. That means making them safe, durable, flexible, ultra-light and chewable for little mouths. And that means making them just as stylish as designer adult shades but without charging designer prices.
After two years of working nights and weekends around our full time jobs, we had the world’s best, high-quality baby sunglasses ready for your little one and ours! Scott didn't want stop there though, he wanted to wear matching unbreakable pink shades with Avery, so we eventually made kids and adult sizes so the whole family can match!
The ro•sham•bo shades name: rock, paper, scissors (shoot)!
The name "ro•sham•bo" is a reference to the nostalgic game we all grew up playing... most people know the game as “rock, paper, scissors,” but we grew up calling it ro•sham•bo! It also pays tribute to our autism support mission: special education teachers have told us that playing ro•sham•bo with children with autism can be a valuable teaching tool when they need a quiet, calming, and personal interaction with a teacher. We have autism in our family, so this has been and always will be a pillar of our business.
The ro•sham•bo Cause: Supporting Autism Charity with Every Sale
We are proud to provide a portion of all sales to autism charity through our current partner, Surfers Healing.They take kids with autism and their families out for a day of surfing and confidence building... it's all about what these kidscan do, not what they can't.You can learn about what they do atsurfershealing.org(we are a featured corporate partner on their website).
That's all great, but why kids sunglasses made in Italy?
When our founders Scott & Julia started this company, it seemed strange to them that nearly all high quality adult sunglasses were made in Italy, but basically all kids sunglasses were made in China. Why can't kids have high quality shades too?? After about 2 years of searching, we found a independent, family owned Italian sunglasses manufacturer with a background in toy manufacturing. When we told them we wanted flexible, child-safe, ultra-light, virtually unbreakable frames, but they could not have any toxins, including: BPA, lead, latex, phthalate, cadmium, etc etc, they understood why we demanded that and how to make it happen. They were able to custom blend a perfect formula for us that is what we have used ever since. As far as we know, we are still the only kids sunglasses line made in Italy and assembled in the United States.
What materials are in ro•sham•bo shades?
While we cannot divulge the exact composition of our material as it is a trade secret and something competitors would certainly want to try to copy, we can tell you our line has been fully tested and certified against all types of common toxins, as well as small parts tested for little hands and mouths. Certificates of product stewardship and UV lens testing are always available on our website.
We also believe in removing all unnecessary paint in our product as it just winds up in little mouths! We injection dye all of our colors (that is why you will not see designs or tortoise shell pattern on our frames - just color blocks). This process locks in all the color into the material so it cannot leach out. We also build our logos into our molds, so our name does not have to be painted on. Our logo is laser etched on our lenses instead of painted as well. In fact, the only paint on our product is the required "Made in Italy"stamp and product name.
Carbon Neutral E-Commerce Store & USA Assembled
Beyond the product safety standards we demand, we also are proud to let you know that as of January 1, 2020 we are now certified as a carbon neutral e-commerce store, offsetting all of our e-commerce shipping on our website (which is the large majority of our sales). We are certified by CarbonFund.org if you want to check them out. We also just launched new retail packaging that is entirely plastic free and made in the USA (as is our online packaging). We also do our own product assembly in house here in San Diego, California, custom building each pair of sunglasses to order depending on the type of lens requested (standard polarized, or one of 5 mirrored lens colors) - so we are very proud to say we are made in Italy and assembled in the USA.
The Evolution of a Small Business:
1. Crowdfunding Beginnings
We unofficially launched our company in June 2013 with acrowdfunding campaignto test the market for stylish unbreakable baby sunglasses and build up needed capital to fund more inventory and build this website. The result was overwhelming and the customer support and glowing feedback we received further fueled our ambition to make this dream of producing and selling high-quality baby sunglasses a reality. But we still kept our day jobs for a couple more years...
2. Shark Tank?
As word slowly started to get out, Scott finally took the leap and left his day job as a lawyer in 2016 and the company really started to gain steam. As we grew, we even tried out forShark Tankin 2017 and had such a great time presenting our awesome unbreakable sunglasses to the producers. We got all the way to final consideration! But sadly, did not make it to the carpet :( Check out the video we were invited to make for the producers and learn a little bit more about our company, why we wanted to make flexible kids sunglasses, and how far we have come! Julia was even able to join full time in 2017! A full time family business!
3. Prescription Glasses? Yes, Please!
Our frames have always been prescription friendly, but we kept having to tell customers to take the sunglasses to their own optician if they needed prescription lenses... we knew there was a better way! In 2018, we partnered with a team of licensed opticians to provide single vision prescription lenses, prescription sunglasses, polarized prescription sunglasses, and transitioning lenses to fit our awesome, bendable, durable, lightweight frames!
We offerprescription glassesthrough our website in all 5 sizes (baby through adult) starting as low as $69, along with free home Try On Kitsto make sure they are the perfect fit before you buy. We are kinda like Warby Parker for kids, but with Italian made, unbreakable frames. The feedback from customers has been incredible and it makes our day every time we get a photo of of a kiddo (or their parents!) in our unbreakable glasses! Nothing cuter than little kids in glasses.
4. Hiring an Awesome Team
At some point, Scott and Julia realized there was more work to do than they could handle alone. Enter our incredible team of moms, dads (and a grandma!) to make this a real family business:
Stacy is our Creative Director, mother of two little kids (who you'll see featured in many of our photos), children's book author, mom blogger, and generally is in charge of making sure everything we do is creative, bright and fun - website design, emails, marketing materials, and so much more!
Jen is our Warehouse Manager, mother of a San Diego State Aztec student, and makes sure that all of our customers get their orders on time and with a little bit of extra love packed at no extra charge. She goes out of her way to make sure the Saved by the Bell trading card in every order matches the vibe of the sunglasses you get...
Linda is our Customer Support Superstar. She prints all the orders for shipping every morning and responds to all the sunglasses questions, shades emergencies, and prescription glasses FAQs with smiles and endless patience. She is also a grandmother, mother of four, and an amazing person with an unbelievable personal story you wouldn't believe if I wrote it. It deserves a blog all it's own. Maybe ask her about it sometime if you have to email us!
Leana is our Prescriptions Glasses Specialist. She has years of experience cutting prescription lenses and teaches us all the fancy optometry terms we need to know to feel smart. She also has a seemingly endless supply of corny optometry jokes she likes to share while busy on our edging machine cutting your lenses... Q: How do opticians listen to music? A: Eye-Tunes.
Rob is our new Chief Operating Officer. Rob went to college with Scott and Julia back in the day and wanted to escape a life of corporate litigation in Los Angeles. Streamlining operations at a kids eye wear company with his friends (and maybe playing some warehouse football with Scott once in a while) is just what the doctor ordered!
Not to mention our amazing local college students that help out in the warehouse when we are in peak sunglasses season. That's the team for now, it takes a village to raise a sunglasses company!
5. Zappos Adaptive Partnership
In keeping with our mission to support individuals with special needs, in 2019 we started a partnership with Zappos Adaptive. Zappos Adaptive caters to the needs of people who have challenges getting dressed every day with a range of "adaptive" clothing and shoes. The items featured in the Zappos Adaptive line are designed for people with a range of conditions including autism, diabetes and mobility issues. Within the range are brands including 4Ward, Independence Day, PBS Kids, Under Armour, Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive, and now ro•sham•bo baby!
6. San Diego Padres Giveaway!
[NOTE: COVID-19 put this one on hold... hopefully 2021!] In June 2020, we are super fired up for a promotional giveaway day featuring our kids sunglasses! Being a lifelong Padres fan, and having the inspiration for the business come while sitting in the outfield at Petco Park, this is a particular dream come true for Scott. We hope this partnership is a jumping off point for the next phase of our business' growth and exposure both in our hometown and on a national level. Despite all of our successes to date, we are still very much a small family company with a long way to go. Here's to the future (and go Padres!)!
As we all know, our world and every person and business in it was impacted by the devastating COVID-19 virus. Scott & Julia have never physically or mentally worked harder than the 3 months from March 13 when the lockdowns began in Southern California to mid June when we started to get some of our staff back. It was a great problem to have: people still supported our business and wanted their unbreakable kids shades and prescription kids glasses delivered to their front door. We are forever grateful for that. But we can't wait for better times and normal summers. Our thoughts are with our retail family and hope they all can come out of this stronger than ever.