Oakley. The Success Story Of A Former Motorcycle Parts Rep.

Everybody loves success stories. And me even more when the guy behind it comes from the motorcycle industry. In 1975, a motorcycle parts salesman named Jim Jannard languished at his dead-end job in California. Along the way, he developed a space-age meterial called “Unobtanium” that he sold for motorcycle grips. He quit his job, and with $300 he started Oakley, named after his pet English Setter. He marketed his grips to local riders at motor cross events. The material was an immediate hit, and in the late 70’s, with the BMX scene taking off, he modified the design for them as well. With a lot of design ideas in his head, he created a pair of motocross goggles with his logo prominently displayed. They, too, were a huge hit, but by then the young genius was thinking of sports sunglasses, a market which until then did not exist. Oakley has been the most successful sunglasses company in the last 30 years, creating technological breakthroughs, spawning hundreds of imitators and basically re-inventing the concept of sunglasses. Oakley has made sports eyewear into a technological marvel. Lightweight, durable and impact resistant, the lens, coatings and frames are all designed with advanced materials, blocking all UV light while creating extensive visual clarity and the contrast needed for athletes. Each pair of Oakley’s today can have over a hundred patents built into the frames and lens Due to the extreme competition of the sunglass market, Oakley’s designers invent new techniques and materials in ultra-secret bunkers. The last few years has introduced not only more advanced sports eyewear, but wearable technology such as MP3 players and cell phone technology. Oakley.

7 Responses to “Oakley. The Success Story Of A Former Motorcycle Parts Rep.”

  1. 1 Damien Nov 16th, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Good story I had no idea Oakley started out making motorcycle grips.

  2. 2 Rick Azura Nov 16th, 2007 at 9:16 am

    I love to read your stories. Always great stuff, Cyril.

  3. 3 Asa Nov 17th, 2007 at 10:29 am

    I was one of those 70’s motocrossers that had some of his grips but had never put the two together as being the sunglass biggie . Ab

  4. 4 Bruce Lowe Nov 18th, 2007 at 10:28 am

    Loved the story because I wear Oakley. expensive, but the best.

  5. 5 laurence zankowski Nov 19th, 2007 at 3:08 pm


    Jim sold the company this summer and is at it again with the red camera, just go to http://www.red.com and see what I mean

    he is a disruptive force in the digital acquisition field.


  6. 6 laurence zankowski Nov 19th, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    cyril, Sorry but one more.

    his eyewear is the regulation protective gear for the army.
    can handle a 12 gauge shot gun blast from 12 feet.. good for shrapnel to the eyes

    but take a look at peter jackson’s short done on red cameras


  7. 7 warren Apr 1st, 2010 at 5:09 pm


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Cyril Huze