Q & A with Fed Thrill Sunglasses Co-Founder Matt Mindel

| February 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

Former Federal Hill roommates Matt Mindel and Tyler Puckett launched Fed Thrill Sunglasses almost two years ago. SouthBMore.com caught up with Mindel to learn more about this South Baltimore-based company and its future plans, as well as the founders’ love for Baltimore.

What is Fed Thrill Sunglasses?

10561730_565323366906076_7803723750958994787_nFed Thrill Sunglasses is a local company that was started by two Federal Hill residents who wanted to bring style, quality, and affordability to sunglasses. Fed Thrill specializes in stylish polarized sunglasses with 100% UVA/UVB protection all under $40. Fed Thrill has a variety of colored frames and lenses for every taste, including locally-popular purple and orange.

How did you come up with the concept?

My business partner and I had always struggled between two choices: we would either have to overpay for high-end brands, which we would inevitably lose or break, or go to a gas station for cut-rate cheap sunglasses that weren’t very good quality. We asked the question, why we can’t find a stylish pair of sunglasses that has good quality without breaking the bank? That is how Fed Thrill was born.

What is the process for building a pair of Fed Thrill sunglasses?

We started off by reaching out to many sunglass manufacturers (the same manufacturers used by high-end brands) in order to find a good fit. We sent them designs and tested samples. We focused on clarity and quality of polarized lens as well as a stylish, comfortable, and durable frame. Once we chose a manufacturer, we worked – and continue to work – closely with them on our designs. The manufacturer then builds the parts and we then put them together by hand in our Federal Hill rowhome before shipping. This way we can ensure the quality of each pair.

Obviously the name Fed Thrill sounds a lot like a South Baltimore neighborhood – tell us about the correlation.

We named the company “Fed Thrill” as a tribute to the neighborhood that we call home. Baltimore has some amazing neighborhoods from Canton to Catonsville and Towson to Hampden, each neighborhood has its unique charm and character. This name was meant as a tribute to not only Federal Hill, but also Baltimore as a whole and all it has to offer. Ravens, Orioles, crabs, music, art, the Inner Harbor, and great restaurants – this city has something for everyone and we hope to be a part of what makes this city great.

10615959_574355569336189_6670527430999629210_nHow do you market Fed Thrill and where can people find your shades?

Fed Thrill is spread mainly word of mouth. We also use social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We don’t spend money on billboards, commercials, or celebrity endorsements; however, some local celebrities have been spotted wearing our shades, such as Justin Tucker, Manny Machado, Bud Norris, and Jack Barakat (the lead singer of All Time Low). We are able to use this savings (and share it with our customers) to make sure we are putting out a quality product.

People can find our shades on our website at www.fedthrill.com and have them delivered straight to their door.

What are Fed Thrill’s goals for growing the company and expanding the product line?

We have several plans for the upcoming year to continue our growth. We have recently begun a campus rep program where college students have a chance to be a part of the Fed Thrill team and spread the brand across the country. We also plan on working on getting into many boutiques and stores this coming spring. We will be selling at Floaters Pool Bar and Capital SUP in Annapolis. Pixilated Photo Booth has already signed on to carry our line in their Cross Street location, which I believe is planned to open in April. You can also look for us at some of the Federal Hill street festivals, tailgates, and other events in the area.

We are also planning to expand our line by adding more styles and colors. Be on the lookout for aviators this summer as we hope that is our next style. We are also always welcoming suggestions from our customers for things they want to see from Fed Thrill.

What do you like about living – and running a company – in Federal Hill?

Federal Hill is great because it is located right in the heart of Baltimore. You can walk to the Inner Harbor, as well the stadiums, and it has a great social scene. The neighborhood has a mix of old and young residents, who seem really passionate about the neighborhood and our sunglasses. People in Federal Hill are very active in a lot of areas: social sports, hiking, boating, and going to the beach – all activities where one could use a good pair of sunglasses.

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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