Spy Optics’ Travis Tomczak and Michael Marckx Talk Happiness

The Sessions @ SIA | Then CEO, Michael Marckx & current Snow Cat. Manager Travis Tomczak on Happy goggle technology

Happiness. That's what Spy Optics explains as their core mantra – the base for decisions, product initiatives, and overall lens advancement. Their two-year-old Happy lens is yes, in fact, the underlying point of differentiation in the optics market, but their company culture is what then CEO, Michael Marckx, and current Snow Category Manager, Travis Tomczak, spoke of when we sat down with them in January at SIA for The Sessions. "It's the reason I work here," says Tomczak when discussing the happy culture and the Happy lens. Every Friday afternoon is Happy Hour, a 3pm 'Ted Talk,' and conversations on innovation, fulfillment, and of course, happiness. "It's about fulfillment as individuals. How we can be fulfilled in our lives?" asks Marckx. "We found the more people who are engaged in that, and pondering on what makes them feel fulfilled and happy in their own lives, it ends up contributing in really interesting and fun ways to the business."

It's about fulfillment as individuals. How we can be fulfilled in our lives?" asks Marckx. "We found the more people who are engaged in that, and pondering on what makes them feel fulfilled and happy in their own lives, it ends up contributing in really interesting and fun ways to the business.

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Travis Tomczak, category manager for snowboarding and motocross at Spy Optics.

The Carlsbad, Cali. based company launched their Ace lens, a mid-sized goggle with the Happy Lens technology and a quick-change system, at the January 2015 show. When prefacing the Ace goggle, Marckx explains the beauty of their tech innovation comes from the culture of collaboration and, ultimately, happiness. "Any success of a team comes from the chemistry of teamwork. When there's a general sense of happiness and collaboration, we've found magic happens. We've seen a great growth in the recent years, and we've found it mirrors our happy culture."

That attitude extends to the retail floor. "We have a 100% "happiness" guarantee," said Marckx. Spy will give a 100% refund, regardless of where the goggles were purchased, if the customer is not 100% happy with their new buy.

Spy's Happy Lens technology has been available in their goggle line for just one year, and the reaction from customers and retailers has been strong. Marckx opening explained that in the last few years they've only received 13 requests for a money-back guarantee – pretty strong for a global eyewear company.

It's the first patented therapeutic lens," explained Marckx. "There's an actual benefit from wearing the lens. It provides a physiotherapeutic benefit when wearing these lenses.

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Michael Marckx, CEO for Spy Optics at the time of the interview.

The Happy lens has both aesthetic and physio benefits. Tomczak explains that, for the price point, the lens technology is unique, allowing the wearer to have more dimension in what they're viewing — something that's a huge benefit when wearing the goggles in an environment like flat light on the mountain. "It's the first patented therapeutic lens," explained Marckx. "There's an actual benefit from wearing the lens. It provides a physiotherapeutic benefit when wearing these lenses."

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