Boston-based eyewear design company IGo’s fashionable sunglasses make you look good while doing good.
“An eye for an eye helps the whole world see.” That’s the philosophy at IGo Eyewear, a sustainable, affordable, and fashionable line of eyewear that focuses on the improvement of eye care awareness and treatment for underprivileged sub-Saharan African children. Pursuing a strategy of “buy one, give one,” with every IGo Eyewear purchase made, an underprivileged child in a developing country will receive a much-needed eye exam and/or prescription glasses. In addition, IGo boasts sustainable products made out of materials such as wood or bamboo that are both eco-friendly and stylish. Partners such as A Ray of Hope, UNESCO, and ACILD help IGo continue this mission through continued support.
Adey Jaiyeoba is the founder and CEO of IGo. He is a chemical engineer with a passion for sustainability and style and, although these interests are seemingly unrelated, Jaiyeoba has found a way to beautifully merge them into a product that seeks to benefit both the environment and a community with which he is familiar. Jaiyeoba is from Nigeria, and his vision for IGo is for it to “be able to give back to the community,” and in particular, the community in Africa that raised him. He is an incredibly passionate businessman and changemaker, and IGo reflects his passion for creating well-crafted products that simultaneously improve people’s lives. Take recently had the chance to chat with Adey about the creation and motivations behind IGo.
Where did IGo start?
IGo started early last year while I was in between jobs and I was thinking of something I could do differently. I’ve always had passion for fashion. [I wanted to] make an impact on the environment that I was from. Your vision is one of the most important features, so starting an eyewear company that gives back to the community or that pays for a child’s eye exam seemed like, for me, the perfect marriage of my passions, and also my passion for giving back to the community that actually raised me.
The name of the business is in Yoruba, which is my language. I’m actually from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, and IGo (pronounced eye-go) is actually a Yoruba name for ‘glasses.’
How has being located in New England attributed to your success?
So we’re located at Hyde Park in Boston, MA. I think that being in Massachusetts has played a significant role in what the brand stands for. We are pretty much fashion-forward which is something we think Boston also stands for, [as well as] the whole New England area. We’re known for fashion, and that has helped the brand in ways that I can’t even express. It’s helped us be able to reach out to more people and has allowed people to reach out to us. The reception is great.
Was the idea of having a sustainable product something you always knew you wanted to do or was it developed along the way?
It was my thought from the beginning. It’s what I always wanted to do – something sustainable, so not only are we giving back to the community, we’re actually not affecting the environment in an adverse way. Most of the wood we use comes from commercial forests, which are specifically there for commercial purposes, so we’re not tampering with any natural resources out there. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials. Our goal is for all our products to say “100 percent organic,” which is what we stand for.
What are you working on for the future?
We currently have a clothing line in the works, so we’re looking at t-shirts, hoodies, long sleeves, short sleeves, and really cool graphic tees. And we’re still going to be within that sustainability. We’re also looking at the products to be made out of African fabrics.
Where can we find IGo products?
Right now the majority of our work is online, at igoville.com, and we have some retail outlets around but we’re trying to work on getting the product into more stores. We’re selling on Amazon and Etsy, but our main channel comes from our website.