It all started with a stroll down Fifth Avenue in New York City. Approximately 40 years ago, Wayne McGee and his wife, Jenny Lynn, were passing by an optical shop showcasing Diane Von Furstenberg eyewear. At the time, DVF was practically the only licensed brand in the industry. The logos and display conveyed an impactful brand story, and the couple was captivated by what they saw. Wayne and Jenny Lynn went into the store and became fast friends with the owner, who put them in touch with Ed Winer at Optique Du Monde, the DVF licensor. The McGee Group went on to become Optique Du Monde’s largest distributor and its mission was born: To translate brands into the eyewear space and give customers a story to tell.
This year, The McGee Group marks its 40th anniversary. Still a family-owned business run by the father-and-sons team of Wayne (President), Matt (Vice President) and Weston (Sales and
Operations Manager), the Marietta, GA-based eyewear company is all about southern hospitality, creating head-turning frames and supporting American labels.
The McGee Group is also closely aligned with breast cancer research; Jenny Lynn, who had won the titles of Miss Georgia and Miss Atlanta and was an accomplished college graduate, passed away from the disease in 2008.
The McGee Group’s continued commitment with long-time licensing partner Vera Bradley, which also has a strong foundation in this cause, shows the company’s true heart and soul. “The McGee Group and Vera Bradley have a common cause-ending breast cancer. The McGee Group is a generous contributor to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer,” Matt said. “After such a personal loss, the necessity of breast cancer research is an integral part of our company.”
In addition to Vera Bradley, The McGee Group’s roster of licenses comprise Badgley Mischka, XOXO, Argyleculture by Russell Simmons, Ducks Unlimited and its house brand Totally Rimless. The company continues to tell compelling stories about all of its brands. After four decades in the business, the company has grown from three employees to more than 100, and it has witnessed some major shifts. “The industry has changed incredibly,” Matt said. “Forty years ago, eyewear was a medically driven industry. Fashion and branding has now entered the picture, turning eyewear into an accessory.” But what hasn’t changed is the pride with which the company services its customers and builds relationships within all levels of the business. “We are proud of our people, from our factories to our customers,” Matt said. “We are proud of our staff that represent us as a family-and a company-to create the team we are today.”
The McGee Group • 800.966.2010800.966.2010 FREE • mcgeegroup.com