Local Company, Global Vision
“Proof Eyewear Does Good Around The World”
By Michelle Ochsner
Every so often we come across people so extraordinary, so inspiring that it’s impossible not to tell their story. The Dame family gives the term “pay it forward,” a whole new meaning.
Brooks, Tanner, and Taylor Dame launched a business in a garage with good old fashion elbow grease just like their Grandpa Bud and their father, Kelly, who is now President and CEO of Woodgrain Millwork. These three brothers jumped into an entrepreneurship venture with both feet and haven’t looked back since.
With genuine ethical principles and sawdust in their blood, this third generation wanted to keep the family tradition of working with wood. From bamboo to Canadian maple, imagination and ingenuity are limitless. With the support of their family, these three men take a simple product and make the world a better place with it.
The Dame brothers built a company that manufactures the world’s finest sustainable wood eyewear, eye-glass cases, knives, and wallets since 2010. With a give back more than you’ve gotten motto, their product is an internationally recognized brand that is environmentally safe as well as unique, and has proven that being good does not mean boring.
Tanner came aboard bringing marketing and sale skills. He’s always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to reinvent and sell wood products. “It’s nice to see where the company is going. We now have our flagship store in downtown Boise which is a great fit for us.”
The new store’s site is 439 S Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID between W Myrtle and W Broad. Taylor, Tanner, and Brooks encourage customers to drop in and check it out. Tanner claims much of their success is because they’re surrounded by good people who encourage and support them to do something different. “We are pioneers in sustainable and environmentally safe eyewear with strong family roots. Proof delivers a consistent good product.”
Taylor finds creative ways to sell and advertise. In November he promoted Proof with the companies insignia on a trampoline used for cliff diving at Laie Point in Laie, HI. As Devin Graham filmed the jumps for YouTube, the world watched thrill-seekers jump off the point and on to the trampoline that promoted the brand.
The wood used is sustainable and eco-friendly. Some sunglasses are made from recycled skateboards and Proof is the first to offer a sunglass recycle program. The brothers also donate their time and a percentage of Proof Eyewear revenue to charities worldwide. As sales from around the world add to their capital, Taylor, Brooks, and Tanner also succeed by giving back to those in need.
Tanner says when on a mission in India, he experienced firsthand the lack of basic medical care in the rural areas. “We want to give back. It’s important to care for others and the environment. This year we invested $25,000 to help Aravind open a clinic in southern India. The center tends to rural patients who can’t afford basic eye care or surgery. We are always in search of different charities.”
The India Project is a non-profit fundraiser in association with Aravind Eyecare Systems to end needless blindness in rural India. One-fourth of the world’s blind population lives in India. Seventy percent of India’s population has little to no access to professional eye care and the government does not have the resources to help.
Aravind’s mission is to end treatable blindness and is committed to building one hundred clinics in rural India by 2015. These facilities will be equipped to perform cataracts surgeries and offer eye care treatment to the poorest communities.
The Dame brothers committed to raising funds and open an eye care clinic in Pathamadai, India. In June 2013 they announced The India Project; a limited release of sixty custom pairs of wood sunglasses and sixty wood wallets with one hundred percent of profits paid to the charity. Not only did this contribution break ground on building this facility, within two years the Proof Eye Clinic will be self-sustaining and will give permanent treatment and surgeries for a poor rural community and its surrounding villages.
Brooks also holds a seat on the board of HELP; an international volunteer and internship placement organization that sends people to impoverished communities across seven countries. The volunteers determine projects that will educate that community to become self-sufficient.
In college, one year after of being added to the bone marrow registry as a donor, he received a call advising that he was a match. A married man with children battling leukemia desperately needed Brooks’ help. With his family by his side, he decided to step up and help a stranger fight for his life.
The Dame’s don’t believe in luck. If you want it bad enough, than just do it. It’s unknown what the future holds for these brothers or their company. One thing is for certain, it’ll be extraordinary!
If you think you have a good idea or project that Proof can help get involved with please email us and let us know:
The Mission of HELP International is to empower people to fight global poverty through sustainable, life-changing development programs.