FLINT, Mich - Ali Rose Van Overbeke, the creator behind Genusee, understands the concept of turning lemons into lemonade. Though she actually turned plastics water bottles into eyeglasses.
Originating from the Flint water crisis, Van Overbeke saw the millions of water bottles being passed out, and ending in landfills as they typically do. She said that's where the idea for sustainable eyewear came from and helped her find a purpose.
"I had heard about Genusee and the awesome things they were doing for the environment. I knew they were based in Flint, Michigan, so I thought hey, why not send the CEO a message. Honestly, I was floored at how it took 15 reusable water bottles to make one pair of glasses. I had no idea what would come of this collaboration, but after connecting with Ali, I knew this was meant to be. I don't think there has ever been two eyewear brands that collaborate." says Bryan Reedy, CEO of Gamer Advantage.
Gamer Advantage is a company on a mission to create products that genuinely improve the well-being of all gamers. The company says they are committed to the wellness of every gamer worldwide, and will continue to invest in science that produces meaningful results. These glasses block harmful blue light, and according to Reedy, it comes from all devices, computers, phones, and even late-night TV watching. So for a good night's rest, he recommends wearing these glasses when doing any of these activities at least a couple of hours before going to sleep.
"When Bryan reached out, my first thought was, "What are gamer glasses?" but then I realized that it was no different than a football helmet, or a seatbelt in a car. What Bryan was creating was a fashionable piece of safety equipment to help promote better sleep and reduce fatigue when sitting on screens for a long time. I figured, if it's good enough for a gamer, it will probably work for me, and after trying it for a few weeks, I was right. Bryan has something different here." said Ali Rose Van Overbeke.
Photo from Genuse's Facebook Page
And thus began the collaboration between these two Michigan-based eyewear companies. They came together to promote and provide sustainable eyewear products with a purpose. Though each company had a different message. Genusee eyewear focuses on environmental sustainability and up-cycling. The company uses 15 plastic water bottles per frame, to create their fashionable eyeglasses. While Gamer Advantage focuses on helping gamers sleep better, so they can perform better.
Operating out of Flint, the majority of the company’s supplies come from within 188 miles of the city. Genusee hires locally and donates 1% of its net profits to address the health and education of children affected by lead in the city.