Wiley X Commemorates 30 Years of Saving Eyes and Building a rugged Brand for all civilians
The testimonials are sobering. Read-ing through the accounts from military and law enforcement personnel who credit Wiley X tactical eyewear with saving their vision, one gets a crystal clear picture about the critical role of this company’s safety gear. Often, it’s life or death.
While Wiley X—founded by Myles R. Freeman and now run by his sons, Myles J. and Dan—got its start with ballistic eyewear and protective gloves that, to this day, remain standard issue with the U.S. Armed Forces and elite Special Forces units, the company smartly chose to expand into commercial markets that rely on impact resistance. Wiley X eyewear exceeds ANSI Z87.1 high velocity impact safety and optical standards and ASTM F803 standard for high velocity impact resistance and optical clarity.
The company’s optical accounts are now more than 5,000 with its three categories of sport, workplace and youth protective eyewear. Myles J., co-owner and president of sales, reflected on the 30th anniversary.
VCPN: What significant moments stand out for the company?
Myles J. Freeman: The soldier testimonials never get old, and of course there was our product being featured in a blockbuster movie like American Sniper, but it’s more than that. When we made the decision to set ourselves apart from our respected competitors in this category, that was the day that I think things really took off for us. To be the only premium sunglass manufacturer to insist that all of our products exceed tough ANSI Z87.1 occupational safety standards was definitely a game changer. We made safety cool, and now we get ‘consumer’ and ‘weekend warrior’ testimonials in the hundreds every year, which sums up the true significance of the brand.
VCPN: What do you think are Wiley X’s most prestigious accomplishments in optical?
Freeman: That we’ve practically carved out an exclusive section in many ECP brick-and-mortar locations as the only multi-functional sunglass brand that will protect both the worker who needs ANSI safety rated eyewear (on the job) and that same person who needs it for their active lifestyle.
VCPN: What is unique about your sales force?
Freeman: They’ve bought into our philosophy which is all I could ever ask. When you believe in a product like they do, it makes the task of selling easy. We use a unique inside sales model that is not very common, but it’s efficient, customer-service driven and I believe the best model in the industry for a family-owned business like ours.
VCPN: What do you think has been the most important factors for Wiley X being in business for 30 years?
Freeman: Adapting to change. In the early years we were mostly known for being a military/law enforcement eyewear company. And, we soon realized that if we didn’t do something quick to adjust our model to fit the consumer market, we might not be as successful as we are today. We have diversity now which is something we’re very proud of. We sincerely thank all of our dedicated employees and our strong dealer network for their support. Here’s to another 30 years!