Pacific Beach sunglasses start-up Blenders tackles work-from-home market with blue-light lenses

Blenders' "Coastal" style of blue-light lenses comes with rounded frames.

Pacific Beach e-commerce start-up Blenders, a sunglasses company that was recently valued at more than $90 million, is tapping into a new market created by the COVID-19 pandemic: the work-from-home crowd.

Blenders is best known for making beachy-looking shades, often with colorful polarized lenses or trendy frames. Founded by a local surfer, the brand exploded online and now hauls in tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue. Now, the company is expanding into blue-light lenses — clear glasses that are meant to block the blue light coming from laptops, cellphones and other screens.

“There’s increased demand for fun office fashion that makes sense as we spend increasingly long hours in front of our screens — more now than ever,” said Chase Fisher, the 32-year-old founder and chief executive of Blenders.

Blue-light lenses have become increasingly popular among office workers who spend the majority of their days in front of screens. Now, with more workers Zooming, scrolling or late-night streaming due to stay-at-home orders, the launch of the product line is timely.

The purported benefits of wearing blue-light glasses include reduced eye strain and better regulation of the wearer’s circadian rhythm, helping users fall asleep more easily after extended use of blue-light-emitting devices. Though the effectiveness of blue-light-blocking glasses has long been debated, the popularity remains strong.

Blenders has already sold out of two styles on its website — the colorful tortoiseshell Data Daze and the black rims of Hustle Up. Both styles are part of a new line called “L-Series,” which are lightweight square frames in the signature Blenders colors. The company also carries a rounded style called “Coastal.” All styles are available for less than $50.

The brand recently sold a majority stake of the company to billion-dollar Italian eyewear giant Safilo in a deal that pegged Blenders at a $90 million valuation.