Brooks Dame grew up in the wood industry. In the 1950s, his grandfather started a humble sawmill that eventually grew into a successful family business. Every summer, Brooks and his brothers, Tanner and Taylor, would work in the mill, leading them to learn about wood, as well as appreciate it.
Brooks subsequently began making glasses using the familiar material for family and friends, who told him he should sell them. So in January of 2011, he and his brothers started Proof Wood Eyewear. Based out of Boise, Idaho, the company offers prescription glasses, sunglasses, and accessories made from sustainable woods like bamboo, ebony, and lace wood.
Shortly after launching the then-small business, the Dames participated in the MAGIC accessories show in Las Vegas. Brooks recalls that they didn’t know what to expect. The day they were setting up their booth, the vendor across them told them not to expect too many visitors at first, due to the fact that they were newcomers to the industry. That night, Brooks returned to his hotel room wishing he had waited until after their brand was more established. Fortunately, however, their products were a hit. By the end of the show, 13 stores had signed on to carry Proof glasses.
Proof Wood Eyewear now sells up to 1,800 pairs per month in 120 stores and chains. While Brooks holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, he has never used a business plan. “I think you can overthink a product,” he says. “You want to perfect it and make it right, and that stifles you, and by the time you get it out there your time has passed. I think if you believe in your product, you should go for it.”
Proof’s slogan is, “Look good. Do good.” Hence, the company is involved in various projects that make a positive impact in the world, such as supporting eye clinics in India and replanting Haiti’s forests. The Dames have also initiated the eyewear industry’s first sunglass recycling program.