By Danielle Waters, Vira Sun Co-Founder & CE-Om
The idea for Vira Sun (pronounced veer-uh sun) was born about a year ago on the beautiful beaches of San Diego. At the end of 2014, my husband and I relocated from New York City to Southern California for a life reboot of sorts. While there, I received my RYT-200 hour certification at Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, and had the privilege of studying under renowned yogi Gerhard Gessner. It was an amazing experience that inspired me on so many levels.
Southern California is a magical place — people take great pride in cultivating a healthy lifestyle for themselves, practicing yoga is a way of life for many, and outdoor activities are the norm. The perpetually sunny weather is extremely energizing, and a good pair of sunglasses is a must!
My husband, Greg, and I have always wanted to start a business together. I have a background in fitness sales and I’m an exercise physiologist by education; Greg is a marketing professional with roots in the action sports world. When we looked at the yoga industry, we realized there were numerous brands focused on pretty much every product except sunglasses. So we set out to launch a sunglasses brand inspired by our mutual love and respect for yoga, as well as our appreciation for all things fitness, fashion, and art.
Our brand name was derived from the virtuous Warrior pose, or in Sanskrit Virabhadrasana. I’ve been practicing yoga for over a decade and have heard Warrior 1 referred to as Vira 1 on countless occasions. It stuck in my head, and “Vira Sun” became a play on words of “Vira 1.”
All of our sunglasses are unisex by design and feature polarized lenses with UV400 protection, lightweight polycarbonate fronts, metal spring hinges for enhanced comfort and fit, natural arms (either bamboo or wood), and laser-etched logos. "Namasté" is etched into each pair as a salute to our fellow yogis, and with retail prices ranging from $40-$60 our sunglasses won’t break the bank. From the outset, offering a quality product at an affordable price was very important to us.
Keep in mind you certainly don’t need to be practicing yoga when wearing our sunglasses, or even consider yourself a “yogi.” We’d love for you to rock our sunnies if you simply relate to the purpose of yoga, which to us represents personal growth, self-confidence, and an open heart. As we like to say, “From hatha to happy hour, Vira Sun has your style needs covered.”
We’ve only been in business for a year, which means we’re still very much a start-up, hustling each and every day to make it all happen. But we’ve been very lucky to collaborate with some awesome brands, artists, and studios including I.AM.YOU, Pure, Ohm K, Peloton, The North Face, Magda Love, and Horizon Light Productions, among others.
While Vira Sun was born in San Diego, we’re raising the brand in the New York metro area — we’re both east coast natives. When we headed west in search of excitement and new challenges, we thought it would be easy to leave it all behind; but it wasn’t. We realized that while Southern California is incredible in so many ways, NYC is home. So now we’re back in the gritty city a little wiser and a lot colder!
In the year ahead we’re looking forward to expanding our collection to include new styles and colorways, plus we have some exciting collaborations in the works. Right now we have about a dozen wholesale accounts across the country, and we plan to add more retail partners over time.
We’re also very excited about the charitable partnership we’re in the process of establishing with Yoga Foster — a NYC-based non-profit run by Nicole Cardoza that empowers school teachers with kids yoga fundamentals to create healthier, happier classrooms. We feel very lucky to be in a position to give back and support such a worthy organization that encourages healthy living from an early age.
Our first year in business has been a wild ride. We want to thank the incredible yoga communities on both coasts, and everywhere in between, for their amazing support. And a massive shout out to our fans — without you there would be no us. VS… we love you!
Now through February 15th, use promo code TheSweatLife at checkout to save 20% on your entire purchase. To shop our full collection, please visit virasun.com.
4 Vira Sun Sunnies to Shop For
We are the first to admit that we love ALL of our styles, but here are 4 frames we think are particularly special to start the year. And all of our sunglasses are named after yoga poses!
Danielle Waters is the Co-Founder and CE-Om of Vira Sun, the original yoga-inspired sunglasses brand. Born and raised in Freehold, NJ, Danielle attended Indiana University where she studied Exercise Science. She holds a Master’s degree in Physical Education, a RYT-200 hour yoga certification from Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, CA, and she is an accomplished sales professional with over a decade of experience in the corporate fitness industry. Danielle lives with her husband in the NYC area and is a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan.
Greg Waters is the Co-Founder of Vira Sun, the original yoga-inspired sunglasses brand. Born and raised in Rochester, NY, Greg attended the University of Vermont, where he studied Communications. Greg has deep roots in the action sports industry and has spearheaded lifestyle marketing initiatives for many top brands including Shake Shack, Zoo York, Oakley, Arnette, 5boro, Mountain Dew, among others. Greg lives with his wife in the NYC area where he enjoys cruising around the city on his skateboard and checking out the ever-changing street art landscape.