Shades with a social conscience

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(Published in The Cayman Book magazine, Nov. 2018 – Nov. 2019)

The Cayman Book Shades With A Social Conscience PDF

Local lifestyle brand Peripheral is helping individuals and groups achieve their dreams, one fashionable pair of shades at a time.

When you live in or visit a sunny locale such as the Cayman Islands one of the most important accessories are a pair of shades. Cayman-based lifestyle brand Peripheral has added a new twist to the myriad of sunglasses available; functional shades with a social conscience.

Worn by the likes of celebrity photographer Nigel Baker, famed chef Jose Andrés, and NBA All-Star Devin Harris, Peripheral’s range of fashion forward shades are designed to help individuals, groups, and causes to overcome social and financial boundaries to achieve their goals and dreams.

Founded by Douglas “JR” Cameron in 2011, the Peripheral brand has helped a myriad of Cayman-based individuals and charities.

Charitable organisations include the Cayman Islands Breast Cancer Foundation, One Dog at a Time, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands, and Feed our Future Cayman Islands, to name just a few.

Individuals – or “Dreamers” as the team at Peripheral call them – that you can support with a purchase of Peripheral shades run the gamut, from those looking to achieve their goals of representing Cayman on the international stage, to others who need financial assistance to achieve their dreams.

Community first

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So, how does it all work?

“We have two parts to our company,” JR explains. “First, we spend our time meeting with individuals and groups to help them define their goals, and second we create products that these individuals and groups can promote for sale.”

He adds: “Because our website traffic is being driven by these individuals and groups we give them the retail mark-up which is 50 percent of the sale. People get to purchase products where they know a portion is going to help someone achieve their dreams.”

Currently, Peripheral’s sunglasses are available to purchase on their website, with shipping offered to the U.S., Canada, and Cayman.

Giving couldn’t be easier. Simply pick your sunglasses, choose which cause, group, or individual you’d like to support, then wear your shades with pride.

The sunglasses are also stocked in 22 stores island-wide, including at the Peripheral Flag Ship Store located in The Strand, Seven Mile Beach, although purchasing direct from retail outlets means that just 10 percent of the retail price is donated.

In addition, you’ll also find Peripheral shades at pop-up shops and events across Cayman, where you can buy them direct from the cause, individual, or group you will be supporting, with the full 50 percent being donated.

There are more than 15 different frames to choose from, with many designs offering more than 15 different colour combinations.

Shades range in price from a purse-friendly US$40 to $150. These include The Base Line which features a selection of light-weight stylish polycarbonate frames with polarised, salt-water resistant lenses, and The Timber Line, made from a wood and acetate hybrid frame, which is hand-finished by a team of skilled craftsmen.

New designs are constantly in development with plans afoot to launch a bespoke range handmade in Cayman, featuring design accents from locally sourced materials such as Caymanite and silver thatch.

JR explains that the on-trend sunglasses are designed to offer functional fashion that fits into people’s busy day-to-day lives.

“We cater to active people in both business and lifestyle, so all our products are designed to look good but be durable,” JR says.

Achieving dreams

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JR is originally from Ontario, Canada, and has called Cayman home for more than a decade. He says he was inspired to create the business with his partner and co-creator Kiristen Cousins, out of his desire to help others achieve their dreams.

“It all started with two simple questions; what makes us happy and how do we want to spend our day?” JR comments.

After some brainstorming, JR says the answers to those questions were clearly defined.

“We decided we are most happy talking to people about their dreams and having the ability to help them achieve them.”

JR says that the Peripheral brand gives the socially conscious an opportunity to spend their money and help others at the same time.

“By choosing Peripheral, you are showing that you are conscious about where you spend your money. There are lots of ways you can create a positive impact on people’s lives, if you simply know who you are giving your money to,” JR says.

So, what’s next for the socially conscious brand? JR is dreaming big.

“Elon Musk started with an online payment processing company and now he is sending people to Mars,” the entrepreneur enthuses.

“Peripheral started buying and selling sunglasses to raise money for people’s dreams; now we are driving a plastic recycling programme to make our own products. This will help with the fundraising while helping our planet,” JR says.

“Next, we will be setting up our own manufacturing facility right here in the Cayman Islands with plans for similar facilities in both Canada and the U.S. that we will use as examples to help other groups set up their own facilities, all based on the same ethos.”

JR adds: “Everything we do directly impacts our planet and our community, so we have the choice to impact both in a positive way.”

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