Made in the Shade: SLYK Shades Sells Positivity

SLYK Shades isn’t your typical retailer. It’s a growing lifestyle brand that is focused on making a positive impact in our community by supporting non-profits focused on improving mental health and reforestation. This is done through proceeds from selling a super-unique and stylish product – wood-framed sunglasses.

Sometimes life’s biggest obstacles can open up life’s biggest opportunities. Local founder, Joshua Fitzmaurice, launched his company last August while overcoming a chronic iatrogenic illness. After having to leave his job as an accountant in Boston, and move back to Cape Cod to live with family, Josh was determined to fight through every challenge and not give up.

“I was really struggling and knew I needed to find a distraction to keep my mind busy and away from the pain,” he said. “I always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and decided I would try to learn fashion design through YouTube, which eventually turned into SLYK.”

Fitzmaurice’s mission is to inspire others to follow their dreams no matter their situation and create a supportive community around his brand. By sharing his story, he wants to instill hope in others fighting their own battles and he wants the products to be a daily reminder to keep going. More than that, SLYK is committed to donating a portion of all sales to greater causes.

Calmer Choice, for example, he said, is an amazing organization that teaches kids coping skills, mindfulness, and breathing techniques to deal with their emotions naturally. It partners with schools and community organizations across Cape Cod to deliver a low-cost prevention program that equips children with a suite of skills to increase inner resilience, reduce the impact of stress, manage emotional responses, learn self-control and increase their sense of well-being.

In addition to supporting organizations such as Calmer Choice, a tree is planted for every pair purchased through their partner, One Tree Planted. The idea behind this is to give back more than they take. Currently, they chose to plant trees in California due to the devastating wildfires.
The idea of wooden sunglasses came one day when he had an idea to engrave inspirational messages that go along with his story in each pair. “I wanted other people to be able to connect with the messages and give them a subtle reminder to never give up and be kind to others.”

Wood-framed sunglasses are not only more eco-friendly than plastic frames, Fitzmaurice said, but also over 33 percent lighter. Some models even float! Fitzmaurice is most proud of his seashell collection layered with genuine abalone. Every pair is one of a kind due to the differing wood and abalone patterns.

“Our glasses are all water sealed and polished and will last as long as they are taken good care of. We use a variety of wood from maple to walnut to ebony. All of our frames feature HD polarized lenses that are scratch-resistant, have anti-reflective coating on the inside and have sea water protection on the mirror lenses,” he said.

SLYK products can be purchased online at Fitzmaurice also sells at festivals and his products are carried in approximately 20 stores now, including Cape Cod stores such as Mermaids on Cape Cod, Robin’s Nest Coastal Emporium, Plum Porch, Goodies, Nauset Surf Shop, Nantucket Surf Club, Salty Crown Boutique, Wish Gift, Little Anchor Boutique and Jaks Chatham, to name a few.

All of SLYK’s frames can now be fitted with prescription lenses through its partner, Lensabl. If someone purchases a frame from SLYK, they can then swap out the lenses through Additionally, all customers get 20 percent off the prescription lenses. Traditional prescription frames will soon be released, as well.

Fitzmaurice hopes that SLYK continues to expand and continues to grow a loyal following of supporters. There is potential in growing online, wholesale and festivals. The online store currently carries sunglasses, watches and bracelets.

“I am really trying to build a supportive and uplifting community around my brand,” he said. “I want each customer – and potential customer – to feel like they truly matter, and I want to make a real difference as I continue to grow. Every product I put out there has true meaning behind it and is not just another brand trying to make money. I hope to inspire others through my story and to spread the message to never give up and follow your dreams.”

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
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