Ryan and Andrew Shapiro from Levittown, NY, transformed their eyewear company, Tomahawk Shades into a global brand that sells lifestyle goods including sunglasses, wallets, and watches.
Ryan and Andrew created Tomahawk Shades while going to school at CW Post College. They always wanted to start their own business and decided to create their own sunglass brand. “I kicked down the door and said dude, we’re starting an eyewear company. Remember how much you spent on your last pair? We can do the same thing,” exclaimed Andrew Shapiro, CEO of Tomahawk Shades.
Instead of branding themselves as local, the Tomahawk Twins decided to think big. Ryan and Andrew decided on the name for their company while playing Call of Duty Black Ops. “Ryan threw the tomahawk in the game across the map and screamed tomahawk really loud and I looked at him, that’s it, Tomahawk Shades,” shouted Andrew.
After that, the Tomahawk Twins talked to a manufacturer and decided on a logo. Since they didn’t want to borrow money from their parents or take out a loan, these college seniors used $140 combined to buy 300 pairs of sunglasses and sold them for $20 each.
Once Instagram became popular, influencers reached out to Tomahawk Shades about repping the brand. “Midway through 2014, Major League Lacrosse player, Greg Gurenlian, reached out and said he loved our stuff. […] we sent him 5 pairs of glasses and that’s when things really took off. At the same time, we had guys from the San Francisco 49ers including fullback, Bruce Miller, and players from the Jaguars reaching out on Instagram,” said Andrew Shapiro. Even Matt Martin, Winger for the New York Islanders, wears Tomahawk Shades.
Shortly after, Andrew and Ryan quit their 9-5 jobs and made Tomahawk Shades their full-time gig and a year later, rented out an office space. Even though Tomahawk Shades is an underground brand, all of their products are made with high-quality materials including spring loaded hinges (so your sunglasses don’t get stretched out), blue light filtration, and UV400 protection (to protect your eyes.) Tomahawk Shades have styles similar to the mainstream eyewear brands Ray-Ban, Maui Jim, and Oakley, but without the high price tag.
“Every pair can work in every lifestyle, but this one can work for a wedding, this one I can wear to a business meeting tomorrow, and this one is for The Hamptons. Tomahawk Shades is affordable so you can buy all three pairs and always change up your look,” said Founder and Owner of Tomahawk Shades, Ryan Shapiro.
NYFW may have ended, but you can still update your fall accessories with Tomahawk Shades.