The seed of the beginnings of what has now become Wud Sunglasses was planted some 5 years ago in 2013 when Co-Founder Kohen Grogan made it his mission to meet his entrepreneurial idol, Sir Richard Branson.
While this is an epic story in its own right - he actually managed to pull it off - what happened next was even more so.
Giving back and making a difference has always been at the heart of Kohen and was instilled by his parents Marlene and Vince from a young age.
Prior to his encounter with Richard Branson, his perception was that to be a philanthropist and make a big impact you had to make a lot of money and then give back. Branson changed this and everything around him began to change from that point on.
From little things, big things grow!
Classroom of Hope
Soon after meeting with his entrepreneurial Idol, Kohen was introduced to Duncan Ward - founder of the Classroom of Hope charity - by some mutual friends because he too had met Branson the same month after winning an award presented to him and both of them wanted to make an impact.
"Our mutual friends told us we HAD to meet, not only because we both met Branson...because we both wanted to make a difference to the world" - Kohen recalls.
Duncan shared the story of his charity - which is also epic.
Moved by the story and the cause Kohen promised Duncan that very day that whatever he could do to help he would.
To this day he has kept his word raising significant amounts of money for the charity and helping how and when he could.
Kohen's first trip to Cambodia took place soon after meeting Duncan in 2013 to open a new school where he also took his family and met others involved in the charity.
This trip ultimately changed the course of his and his families lives.
"You can't go to a country like Cambodia and not be changed. The poverty is hard to deal with, particularly when you get to remote areas of the country - and so is the incredible loss and trauma the locals have been through with the mass genocide that happened a few decades earlier ". Kohen explains.
"Seeing the difference in these children's faces now that they had a school was life-changing. Not only for me but for them"
"They now had hope. They now had a future," he said.
How passionate is Kohen about the cause and charity? Good question.
Well... passionate (and crazy) enough to become the first person EVER to ride a bicycle 20 KMs across open ocean from Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia to Rottnest Island to raise funds for it.
In 2016 Kohen met the love of his life, Laura, who also shares a passion for making a difference and giving back. Both wanting to create a social enterprise that created sustainable products and also gave back WUD Sunglasses was finally born.
After searching for quite some time for the right product it soon became apparent. Kohen and Laura spent the next one and a half years combing through manufacturers to make sure the product was of the highest quality and was also sustainable.
With the help of Chris and Mat who are both part of the team - Wud Sunglasses was born in 2018 in the beach suburb of Scarborough on the West Coast of Australia on December 3rd 2018.
"Not only is our product 100% sustainable but we are also giving back by providing 5% of all profits to the Classroom Of Hope Charity.
Wud Sunglasses 20/20 vision (Kohen loves a good optical pun) is to have raised enough funds to build a new school in Cambodia.
"By making a purchase, not only are you doing a great thing for the environment. You're also giving hope and opportunities to children in developing countries that otherwise wouldn't get them"
Wud does good and so do you!
K+L and the WUD Team.