Reclaimed wood is making its way into more and more facets of Detroiters' lives these days. Homes Eyewear, which manufactures wooden sunglass frames, is one of the latest businesses to make use of this resource in its product line.
The Eastern Market-based company uses wood harvested from blighted homes that have been dismantled by Reclaim Detroit
. The Homes Eyeware also makes a line of wooden sunglasses that are made from non-reclaimed wood, but the glasses made from hardwood recycled from old houses are the firm's distinctive products.
"I needed something that would set my company apart from other wood sunglass manufacturers," says Achille Bianchi, founder of Homes Eyewear
Bianchi, who graduated with a journalism degree from Wayne State University, worked for several years as a copy editor for The Michigan Citizen
and as a community manager for Mode Shift
before launching Homes Eyewear.
"I just like working with my hands," Bianchi says. "We have a laser cutter in our shop and I wanted to be my own boss."
Bianchi operates Homes Eyewear
from the OmniCorpDetroit
hacker space. He was inspired to start the business after a friend showed him the wealth of heartwood that Reclaim Detroit has collected. Bianchi has since sold 50 pairs of the sunglasses, which retail for $150 to $200. He hopes to scale those production numbers with more online sales and establish the company's presence in local retail stores this year.
"I want to keep making the product better and build the product's online presence," Bianchi says.
Source: Achille Bianchi, founder of Homes Eyewear
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.