There isn’t a parent out there who hasn’t lathered their child in sunscreen to protect them from the harmful rays of UVA and UVB exposure.
Eyecare professionals (ECPs) know that the same message of protection and prevention is equally essential to eyes, especially young eyes.
So how do you get children to wear sunglasses regularly? Make the sunglasses cool. And by cool, we mean hot.
“More than ever parents are seeking their tweens/child’s approval when buying products. This means that kids today have more influence when making purchases than in the past,” said Jeanine Navarro, Lacoste Regional Brand Manager at Marchon. “This can be challenging as both are looking at eyewear from very different perspectives. Eyewear needs to be both fashionable and design oriented for the tweens, while the durability and functionality of the frames need to appeal to the parents.”
The Young Athlete Sun collection satisfies both, with sunglasses designed to fit ages 8 to 14 years old.
“Kids eyewear today is about self expression,” Navarro said. “Patterns and playful design details that add a certain cool factor to the eyewear. Ultra lightweight frames with colour, colour, colour.”
He says the 2014 collection is infused with vibrant colours and design details such as flash mirror lenses and tonal colour combinations. And for that extra edge of fun, the series will introduce five new glow-in-the-dark optical styles, including Wayfarers.
Rene Gerber, Marketing Manager of Eyewear at Bushnell Outdoor Products Canada, knows education is key when it comes to buying the right protective sunglasses for young eyes.
So is choice.
“Today more than ever parents are aware of the dangers and negative impacts of the natural elements and they want to protect their children. But at the same time they are also aware of the myriad of products in the market and that it is important to do your homework before going out to shop for something as important as sunglasses to protect your child’s eyesight,” Gerber said.
She points to two eyewear lines that embrace practical protection and outright playfulness: Cébé Junior and Cébé’s XSF (Extra Small Fit).
“In this way Cébé’s XSF not only appeals to the emotional side of a parent, but also the logical and rational side. The fact that Cébé Junior and XSF is distributed through Centennial Optical, gives this brand a lot of credibility, and parents are more confident when purchasing sunglasses at a store that specializes in sunglasses.”
Noting that children’s sunglass styles are mirroring adult trends, she’s seeing everything from retro looks and big frames for girls, to wrap-around sports frames for boys. But colour helps kids really stand out. It also makes sunglasses more likely to become a daily accessory, which is important in sun protection.
“We have a lot of new fun colours. Thus in the Cébé Junior collection you will find a myriad of two-tone colours in fun combinations like pink and orange for girls and blue and
green for boys,” Gerber said.
She explains that XSF is new to the Cébé line, specifically targeted to the teen market.
“There seemed to be a shortage of teen sunglasses in the market and styles that appeal to that in between age,” Gerber said. “The Cébé XSF collection has style with attitude but
most important it offers the protection needed.”
She adds, “At this age it is still all about style. Cébé has done a great job in this area and has something for everyone, from the cool retro look to the aspiring athlete.”
Technology is an important factor in building this brand. For example the more sporty styles for the active teen has Symbiotech incorporated into the temples, featuring a V-shaped temple for perfect and even distribution of the weight of the sunglass resulting in advanced comfort and increased stability.
“If something feels uncomfortable then no one wants to wear it, but these sunglasses are so light-weight and comfortable they will want to sleep with it on,” Gerber said.
Steve Trippi, Nike Vision Marketing Director, knows what his target youth audience wants: “Head to toe coordination in colour and style. Kids are much more in tune to their outfits and they expect performance and style.”
Nike is bringing in a new collection with the Young Athlete Sunglasses, a marketing segment featuring five new styles for boys and girls ranging in the demographic of ages six to 13 years. Knowing that brand recognition begins early, Trippi understands that loyalty is based on a quality product.
“As kids are growing up, they can expect the same benefits from Nike’s Kids Sunglass collection as they would get in the adult version, with the added benefit of lenses specifically tuned to the developing eye,” he said.
Known for keeping pace with an active, healthy lifestyle, the same holds true for the Young Athlete line.
“Nike is great brand for kids and parents,” Trippi said. “It is often the first brand kids are exposed to and it doesn’t compromise in its product offering to kids. Kids like to move and be active and parents appreciate products that are durable, protective and look great too.”