INTERVIEW: Wes Stoody, Article One

You win the lottery. What happens next?

Assuming I won the huge MegaMillions jackpot of, say $100M, I would quickly make some dream purchases of a cabin in the Colorado Rockies and a cottage in Northern Michigan, but other than that I would not make any crazy purchases. I am not into nice cars, I wouldn't need to own a jet, and I really never want to have a huge mansion. If I were to be extremely wealthy one day I would dedicate the rest of my life and the rest of my wealth to redeveloping my home town of Flint. I would buy buildings in Flint to redevelop into community centers, office buildings, and recreation centers. I would start a non profit that focuses on creating equal opportunity to the disenfranchised populations within our city by working on financial education, access to health care, access to healthy food, and creating an equitable education system in Flint. I would also give many small business loans to entrepreneurs in Flint. I have great faith that our city is on an amazing path to redevelopment, but I’d more than welcome some lottery money to help us get there.

One thing you'd like improved in the optical industry. Why?

One thing I’d like to improve in the optical industry is the relationship between independent opticals and digital platforms. Our mission as a company, and my personal mission within this industry is to support independent opticians and optometrists as much as possible. That being said, no one can deny that the landscape of our industry is changing every year with shopping trends and changes in technology. I believe eyewear brands and independent optometrists and opticians can work together to recapture a large portion of the market that has moved to purchasing eyewear online. The first step in this process is to look at all digital platforms, including e-commerce, as a tool rather than the enemy. I hope to work together with independent opticals to educate customers throughout the US of the value and necessity of optical experts.

Who or what inspires you outside of the optical industry?

There are a few brands outside of the optical industry that inspire me to continue working hard to create amazing eyewear and a cohesive brand. I am a huge fan of cycling and through my love of everything cycling, I discovered Rapha, which is a high quality, thoughtfully designed cycling apparel brand. I love the clean lines and minimalism of Rapha’s designs as well as their attention to detail and obvious care for quality. Their branding is beautiful, and they are able to express their brand voice and values through imagery and the design of their select retail locations throughout the world. I had a blast watching the Tour de France in their flagship London store last year.

Travel -- where you going? Who you bringing?

My girlfriend and I are planning a couple trips over the next year that I am very excited about. First, we are planning to visit Cuba this winter. We are excited to see Cuba before it has been completely changed by American tourism.

I also plan to travel to Sri Lanka with my girlfriend in the next year or so, because my girlfriend grew up in Sri Lanka. I am looking forward to exploring the country and meeting her family.

 

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