Saving the Planet in Style with WOOED Organic Shades
Who says you have to sacrifice design or style to save the planet? WOOED by Wood is a company that builds new and innovative wood products that are designed by nature — born from their team’s love for life, travel, outdoor pursuits and the environment. Their handmade sunglasses made from reclaimed wood are turning heads on beaches everywhere with their cutting edge style and unique ability to re-connect people with nature in their daily life.
I caught up with one of their founders, Joh Olson, about how he and his girlfriend Julia started the company and what’s in store for the future of WOOED.
Conscious Connection: It’s great to be with you, Joh. So what inspired you guys to start WOOED?
Joh Olson: Julia and I were looking for a unique way to give back to nature and realized we also needed an outlet for our creativity that would engage and inspire people like us. We began with our first pair of glasses (the “La Mer” style) in beautiful rosewood and people’s response has been overwhelmingly positive!
Conscious Connection: Tell me about the benefits of a reclaimed wood product.
Joh Olson: We have been inspired by the team at NorthCal woods (who specialize in sourcing reclaimed wood materials). They put a top ten list together and we have updated it to be part of our story.
Reclaimed wood is vintage. Old. Whatever you call it, reclaimed wood is aged wood. And with age comes wisdom and perspective. We love to bring new life to old, reclaimed wood.
Using reclaimed wood reduces the amount of emissions associated with the logging, processing, and transportation of new wood. We have reclaimed and repurposed hundreds of board feet of lumber, most of which would otherwise end up in landfills or burned. Using reclaimed lumber products helps to further reduce landfills and saves trees.
Reclaimed wood is 100% original and not mass produced like other wood products. It is real. It is what it is. If you are looking for a material that is both personal and distinctive, look no further than reclaimed wood.
We often refer to reclaimed wood as “historical wood” or “story wood” because every piece tells a story about where it came from and how it arrived in your hands. We love sharing these stories with our customers! From furniture making in San Francisco to oak stumps in Santa Rosa, reclaimed wood has a storied history and offers an unique glimpse into our past. If reclaimed wood could talk, the stories it would tell…
Most reclaimed wood is old growth wood and was harvested at a time when the trees grew slowly. Slow growth means a tight, dense grain. Simply put, reclaimed woods offer superior quality and durability that you can’t find in today’s market.
One of the main reasons we love reclaimed wood is its character. The worming, staining, checking, knots; all of these natural and man-made imperfections add to the character of reclaimed wood. We especially enjoy designing projects that accentuate the character of the reclaimed wood.
With everything that reclaimed wood has to offer (age, quality, originality, stability, etc.), perhaps the greatest attribute is its incomparable beauty. No other wood comes close in our view. The seemingly endless variations in color, grain and texture transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Our clients often tell us, “Reclaimed wood just looks and feels right.” We could not have said it any better.
Reclaimed wood is a one-of-a-kind product. Like our customers, no two boards look exactly alike. Its uniqueness is yet another compelling feature that draws people to reclaimed wood products.
There is something magical and inspirational about transforming wood that is old and weathered into something new and useful. It strikes a chord within our collective soul and reminds us all that life not only has a cycle, but also that life can be extended if we are resourceful and use our imagination. We are constantly inspired by working with reclaimed wood and the many ways it can be used to enhance our customers’ lives. Reclaimed wood is the perfect choice for inspiring fashion designs.
Conscious Connection: Can you elaborate on the variety of wood products harvested / used by WOOED?
Joh Olson: We will reclaim much smaller pieces of wood than most industries. Home building and furniture making need large pieces of wood for all but the most detailed work. We are able to reclaim the smaller pieces of wood from these industries (as well as others) that would normally be sent to the landfill or burned. We always ensure that the source wood was sustainably harvested as well. Examples of wood we use include cocobolo, rosewood, zebrawood, bamboo, redwood and many others. We are always looking for new and exciting inspiration.
Conscious Connection: It’s really inspiring how you and Julia started this company together. How did you two first come to meet?
Joh Olson: Julia and I met at a family birthday party. She is a friend of a friend and now she’s part of the family! We began discussing ideas for changing the world (at least a small part of it) on the first day we met and I was inspired by her ability to think of ideas and begin working out how to make them happen. She has great ideas and it’s wonderful to be a part of making them reality.
Conscious Connection: What’s in store for the future of WOOED? Any exciting new products on the horizon?
Joh Olson: We just released a redwood line of limited edition glasses –response has been very positive and that has been exciting. We have some collaboration projects on the way that I’ll have to keep quiet about for now. We’re working on a line of watches that Julia is designing. Keep an eye out for those next year.
Conscious Connection: What’s your best piece of advice for other aspiring social entrepreneurs looking to be successful and make a difference?
Joh Olson: Find a stable source of income outside of design… just kidding! There are a lot of people willing to make great sacrifices to work in design. Be one of them and you will do great things. Anyone working half-heartedly in design should be ready for disappointment. It’s not easy, but it’s a world class high when it works and you can see the positive impact you are having on others!