Founder Q&A

How An Eyeglass Company is Improving Our Relationship With Technology

How An Eyeglass Company is Improving Our Relationship With Technology

We chatted with Felix Gray Founder, David Roger, on how he’s building a mission-focused company that actively supports our relationship with technology and ways to improve our modern lives. 

For the members of our community who are not familiar with Felix Gray, what is it that you do as a company and what is the main takeaway you would like everyone to know about what the brand stands for?

At Felix Gray, we’re improving the relationship we have with technology.

We know how it feels to spend hours staring at the computer, balancing endless emails with an overflowing to-do list, scrolling, swiping and watching Netflix to unwind. We’re focused on mitigating the negative effects that come with screen time. 

We do that first and foremost with our proprietary and best-in-class Blue Light glasses that pioneered the market. We developed the most effective blue light filtering lenses (15x better than other clear lenses!) and paired them with timeless, hand-finished frames.

As we focus on improving your digital wellbeing, we’re starting to expand beyond blue light glasses. Ultimately screen time affects our eyes, our sleep and our general ergonomics. We’ll continue building a product suite that addresses these issues.

As a follow up to that; you began Felix Gray just two years out of college at the age of 24. It seems you were very clear at a young age that there was a need for this product. Can you please tell us what inspired you to start the company?

I was working for the former CEO of Zappos, Tony Hseih, who has since passed. He was simultaneously running the Downtown Project, in which he invested $350mm of his own money into revitalizing Downtown Las Vegas (where Zappos is based).

I arrived and we had no idea if projects ranging from $1-25mm would make or lose money, so I was tasked with figuring it out. I didn’t know finance well, but I jumped in and ended up spending 10-12+ hours a day mostly in Excel. My eyes started killing me and I didn’t know why. Many of my friends and coworkers complained about similar issues. 

So, I started talking to eye doctors and learned much of this had to do with Blue Light and glare: two outputs from screens. If you could filter Blue Light and eliminate glare, you could mitigate many of these issues. However, at the time, the only glasses that did that were clear lenses that I was told were ineffective (still true today) or yellow/orange lenses that made you look like one of the X-Men.

I knew there had to be a better way, and ended up diving into the optical world and designing the Felix Gray lens. But a great lens wasn’t enough, we also designed beautiful frames. To us, it was important for you to feel as good as your eyes would.

As we’ve grown, we’ve been focused on the larger mission of improving our relationship with technology. The time we spend in front of our screens is often the least healthy part of our day, and it’s a large majority of our day. That doesn’t have to be the case. We’re devoted to changing that.

Since 2018, Felix Gray has partnered with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) every October to help see an end to breast cancer. As we acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness month, can you please share what brought Felix Gray to align with such an amazing annual initiative?

In 2018 BCRF reached out to us to partner and it was an obvious yes. We’re always looking for do-good missions as a part of practicing gratitude (a core tenant at FG) whether that’s charitable, sustainability focused (avoiding waste by QC’ing a reusing product), or something else. Many of us know family or friends who have been affected by breast cancer and we felt this was an amazing way to give back.

We’d love your tips for the best gift picks from Felix Gray? 

I’m partial to my Haros. I used to wear Turing in Amber Toffee, but I fell in love with the first metal frames we developed. The nose pads also ensure they’ll never slip.

On a non-eyewear front, we just launched Insight by Felix Gray. It’s a supplement designed to further improve short term eye comfort and potential long term eye health. We use a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin that is clinically shown to improve eye comfort by increasing blood flow to the eye. Additionally, well-known minerals and vitamins (like lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin A, C, E), that have been shown in clinical studies to help with macular health. This allows us to also promote long term eye health.

As a Founder/ CEO, can you share what YOUR favorite thing is to do for yourself in order to make sure you maintain your personal wellness?

I try to exercise 3-4x a week without any sound. I’m constantly consuming something: in meetings, listening to a podcast, on phone calls. Being able to turn off my brain during exercise is meditative and restorative.

To date, what is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Everyone is going to have a different take on what you should do with your business. Always listen, but don’t act if it doesn't feel right. Your gut is a compilation of everything you’re processing consciously and subconsciously. If something feels right, explore why. If something doesn’t feel right, explore why too. Understand why you’re feeling something, make sure you feel good with it, and then act.