In sleepy Watkinsville, Georgia one will find beautiful handmade ceramics, community, and the unexpected – a high energy, successful, athletic sunglass company, Tifosi Optics. Founded in 2003, Tifosi Optics was the brainchild of husband and wife team, Elizabeth and Joe Earley. They saw a need in the athletic sunglass market that could be filled: high quality sunglasses at affordable prices.
Walk into Tifosi’s headquarters and you might be greeted by Nala, the Earley’s family dog. Nala welcomes a head rub but is affectionately known for her ability to wrangle a treat from the employees by simply giving them her puppy-dog eyes. You will find some employees pulling up to work on their bikes or taking part in a lunchtime ride or run. Sweaty? No problem, Tifosi provides a shower for those that need to clean up (their office mates encourage this!) While Tifosi Optics has an organic vibe, it is also serious about making premium products.
Before taking on this venture, Elizabeth and Joe were independent cycling reps and noticed that high-end sunglass brands were not moving off the shelves as quickly as other products. They knew that they could match these brands on quality and beat them on pricing, thus selling more sunglasses. To do this, they found ways to cut costs, like not paying professional athletes to wear their glasses. It was a simple strategy: bring the savings to the consumer while not sacrificing quality. Joe likes to refer to the “3 pillars of performance” as the blueprint for the company: 1. make the best quality product, 2. bring value to the consumer and 3. provide hands-on customer service to both retailers and customers alike.
Tifosi is family, literally and figuratively. There are family members who work for Tifosi including Elizabeth and Joe’s teenage sons. Elizabeth believes that it “teaches the boys about the business world while instilling hard work ethic. It’s a win-win: the kids benefit and the staff loves having them here. The kids add a fresh, vibrant energy.” Tifosi’s family values blanket all who work in the company, from the meals they share together to giving everyone extended time off to celebrate the holidays in December.
Tifosi is a team. They practice what they preach or rather they wear what they create. Their employees stay healthy in a variety of ways. The lunchtime rides or Frank’s 4 o’clock circuit workouts are just a couple of ways that Tifosi’s staff stays healthy. Staff members enjoy being active at all levels. Encouraging each other to feel their best both physically and mentally is just part of Tifosi’s DNA!
Tifosi is a success story. Big ideas take a lot of hard work. Elizabeth and Joe knew this and logged the hours to prove it. Dedication and hands on work made the company what it is today. Elizabeth and Joe were the first husband and wife to be awarded SGB’s 40 Under 40 leadership award. Tifosi is the #1 brand in cycling and has landed a leading position in the golf, running, outdoor, and leisure sunglass markets. Tifosi’s reach extends to 60 countries, 3,500 retail stores, and has a large presence online via social media and the Tifosi Optics website.
Tifosi is a brand, yes, but Tifosi is so much more than that. We are moms, dads, coaches, players, volunteers, survivors, team, success, and family. We are Tifosi.