Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Eyewear Company Folds

by Benjo

The new year is not happy for everyone. We forget this simple fact all too easily. Case in point: the company that makes those 200x New Year's Eve glasses went out of business this morning. Story follows.
COOKEVILLE, TN – Derek Bulworth lifted his glittery blue 2009 glasses and wiped a tear from his eye. “Thus ends an era,” he said, turning his key one last time in the door to the factory he helped build. At 12:01 AM on the morning of January 1st, Bulworth's company, New Year's Eyes, which has made millions of pairs of New Year's Eve glasses over the past decade, announced plans to cease operations by March.

Bulworth went into business with his partner, Frank Bart, in 1998. Success did not come immediately.

“My idea was to have the glasses say 'NYE', which is an acronym not only for New Year's Eve, but also New Year's Eyes, our company name. The stem of the Y would align precisely with the bridge of the nose, and the branches of the Y extended upward, following the curvature of the eyebrow. It was perfect.” The rest of the acronym, however, proved less ideal. “We had 100,000 of these things made, and we learned, based on customer feedback, that N- and E-shaped lenses are not conducive to vision, which is a key part of the glasses-wearing experience.”

Bulworth and Bart retooled over the following year, and they released their first numerical lenses in time for the new millennum. “The zeroes worked perfectly,” Bulworth said. “You look through the middle zeroes, you can see; you look through the last two zeroes, and you can still see—it's almost crazy. We had an embarrassment of zeroes that year.” Shaking his head, Bulworth continued, “God, what I wouldn't give for one of those extra zeroes now.”

This winter, after a decade of success, Bulworth made the difficult decision to close shop when the majority of his retailers informed him that they would be significantly scaling down their 2010 orders.

Asked to explain their cutbacks, Bulworth said, “it's simple. The number of orders we got for next year is exactly the same as the number of one-eyed people out there. Nobody but them will tolerate a 1-shaped lens.”

Bulworth considered completing the limited number of orders, but it was not worth the overhead of keeping the factory open. “We were offered a generous bridge loan by a pirates' trade group, but it just wasn't enough.”

Still, Bulworth remains determined.

“We're not done yet,” he says. “This company will be back stronger than ever when the year is optic-ready again. Whether it's me running the company or my grandkids, you can bet that this market will be ours for the taking in the 2990s and 3000s.”

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