This week we sat down with our friends at Randolph to learn more about their story. Known for their rich heritage in manufacturing certified military eyewear, they produce some of finest and most durable eyewear we've ever seen. They also make the perfect holiday gift if you're shopping for some premium, built to last American made eyewear. Shop here.
Tell us a little about Randolph and how/why their products are made in the US.
Our founders, Royal Air Force navigator Jan Waszkiewicz and machinist Stanley Zaleski immigrated to America in the years following World War II, they had a dream: to build the world’s finest eyewear. Together, they used their expertise to design the tools and machinery to build a proprietary 200-step manufacturing process, and engineered nearly indestructible frame joints. In 1973, Randolph Engineering was born - named after our home-town of Randolph, Massachusetts.
We began to see traction with our Authentic Aviators in 1978, when we became a sub-contractor for the US Military. In 1982 we became the premier supplier of Military Aviators for Fighter Pilots, and we’ve held our Military contracts ever since. Our founders believed in doing things the right way. That’s why we handcraft our frames in the USA - it’s not the cheapest or the easiest way of doing things, but that’s not the point. We are focused on quality, authenticity and durability. We believe our American workforce are some of the best in the business. Our factory is a hive of highly-skilled talent and engineering - true artisans, some of whom have been with us for over 30 years(!). Today, we’re still handcrafting our frames out of our factory in Randolph, virtually the same way we did when we started over 45 years ago. One of our mottos is “Never compromise.” - this is something we live by.
“The American dream of being successful was entirely achievable through hard work, perseverance, passion, a targeted direction and a strong emphasis on quality.”
- Peter Waszkiewicz, President & CEO
Does Aviation play a big inspiration still today in the design and craft of Randolph eyewear?
Randolph sunglasses are - and always have been - purposefully engineered. Whether that’s for use in the cockpit or fishing on the water. Our sunglasses are designed with both fashion and function in mind. While some frames are more style oriented than others, they’re all built with the same integrity as our Authentic Military Aviator. “Respect where you come from. Reinvent where you’re going.” - these are the words of our founders, and we still live by them today. We are inspired by our customers who choose independent brands, risk-takers, tastemakers and adventurers who go against the grain. They inspire us to create new styles that will last a lifetime of experiences. Our frames will always have a nod to the aviation industry - whether that’s in the bayonet temple tips, designed to make our sunglasses easy to slide in and out of a pilot’s visor - or our military-style wingtip logo. Aviation always has - and always will be - a huge part of Randolph USA. Just take a look at our Instagram tagged images to see hundreds of pilots wearing our framers both in and out of the cockpit.
What's the must-have pair this season everyone should have?
It’s got to be our latest release, the 23k White Gold Aviator, paired with our Polarized Cobalt SkyTec™ mineral glass lenses. These frames mean business. Built to the same specs as our Military Aviator and finished with luxurious 23k White Gold applied at 5x the industry standard. You can wear these frames for almost any occasion - from a hike in the mountains to a lake-side wedding. Our Cobalt lenses, released in 2019, have been a huge hit with our customers and it’s easy to see why. Their stunning blue iridescent mirrored outer grabs attention in the best way, but it’s the outlook that makes them even better. The Cobalt lens features our signature AGX green based lens, which is engineered to highlight nature’s relaxing green/yellow wavelengths, with premium polarization to protect from harmful glare. You really have to give them a try to see and feel the difference. For the months of November and December 2020, we’re also donating to an incredible non-profit called Angel Flight NE. For every frame sold, we’re making a donation to help them on their mission to provide free life-saving flights to those who need medical care outside of their geographic location. Since they were founded in 1996, they have provided over 80,000 free flights with the help of 400+ pilots who donate their planes, fuel and time. We’re so proud to be supporting this amazing cause.
Why do you think it is important for American made products and brands to support each other?
For us, it’s about independence, quality and authenticity. By making our frames by hand right here at our factory in Massachusetts, we’re able to have full control over our manufacturing processes and adjust them accordingly - we craft our frames in small batches and they’re all tested for quality and integrity. We know our frames inside-out. We know what works and what doesn’t, we’ve been perfecting our craft for almost 50 years, and it shows. When it comes to authenticity, our frames were originally designed for aviators (hence the name). We aren’t pretending to make ‘pilot style’ glasses - we have the heritage and the engineering background. We think this is the same for many other truly American brands like us, they know their history, their material, their craft and their customer. We often find our values align perfectly because of these things. It’s important to keep eachother going and sharing the word to our customers because they too share these values. We believe everyone has the right to choose, and many conglomerates are taking that away from the customer by launching ‘new’ brands that appear to be independent. Smaller, independent brands like ourselves are the ones founded on the American dream - and we think it’s imperative to keep that spirit alive.