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Sustainable eyewear made from recycled plastic water bottles in Flint, Michigan. Be the change you want to see.
Sustainable eyewear made from recycled plastic water bottles in Flint, Michigan. Be the change you want to see.
Sustainable eyewear made from recycled plastic water bottles in Flint, Michigan. Be the change you want to see.
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829 backers pledged $74,449 to help bring this project to life.

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GENUSEE - Eyewear made in Flint from recycled water bottles

$74,449

829

Genusee eyewear is Made in Flint, Michigan from recycled plastic water bottles as a result of the Flint Water Crisis. 

Our first frame style, the Roeper, is democratically designed to look great on everyone. It is available exclusively on Kickstarter as either prescription optical or sunglasses. 

Our goal is simple: do good for people and the planet using design and collaboration to be the change we want to see. 

Genusee is bringing a new manufacturing legacy to the city of Flint by creating jobs; turning the surplus of plastic waste caused by the man-made water crisis into closed loop eyewear.

It is not just about being able to recycle materials. We want to upcycle single use plastic into products that have more value and purpose. We are able to upcycle 15 water bottles with every purchase.

We will be launching with our first style, the Roeper. The original Made in Flint eyewear. 

Democratically designed to fit a variety of face shapes. The Roeper looks great as either prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses. 

Offered in two frame colors: Crystal Fog & Classic Black.

Every purchase includes a plano or prescription single-vision polycarbonate lens or CR-39 tinted sun lens or readers.

All lenses are anti-reflective and UV protective. 

Additionally we will be able to fulfill requests for high-index, blue filter, prescription sun, and progressive lenses at a competitive additional cost. 

The Roeper frame style was designed to fit the median range of face shapes and sizes. If you are wondering if they will fit you, please compare the measurements to those of some of your other favorite eyewear. 

If we reach our $100,000 stretch goal, all of our backers will automatically receive our multi-use case. 

The case is also made from food-grade rPET and has a water tight seal. So you can say "No" to single-use water bottles and to-go cups. Use the Genusee Multi-Use Case to store your eyeglasses, as a water bottle, or container for your favorite green juice on-the-go. It is our way of trying to help you towards living a zero-waste life. 

Genusee is committed to making long term social and environmental impact in Flint - and beyond. Our four main goals are the North Star of every business decision we make. 

Only about 23% of single-use plastic water bottles are recycled nationally. This is a problem because it takes 450 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose in a landfill. Which means any piece of plastic you have ever used in your life time is still on this Earth - and then some.

At the height of the water crisis, the city of Flint was using more than 20 million water bottles a day to meet their daily needs. This resulted in a surplus of plastic being brought into the city. Post-use these bottles have been collected for recycling, re-processed, and resold outside of the city. Other corporations have been benefiting off of Flint's disaster. rPET is a valuable recycled material that could be used to create jobs, boost the local economy, and benefit the community who has been without clean water since April 24, 2014. 

Genusee prioritizes the use of pre-existing materials in the supply chain over creating new ones. By redesigning the lifecycle of plastic water bottles and upcycling bottles into a product of need and purpose Genusee is able to bring the value of rPET back into Flint - where it belongs.

Over 88% of the population in Flint does not have a college degree, yet there are 5 colleges within its city limits. This is a community that has been greatly affected by the outsourcing of the auto industry. In the 1970’s over 50% of the population worked in manufacturing jobs, and today only about 12% do. Many of these workers have been displaced and cannot find jobs that fit their skillset. 

Over 41% of the population lives below the poverty line - earning less than $12,082 annually. For those who are employed, 40% of that working population makes less than $10/hr.

There is a drastic disparity of income equality in Flint compared to the state and national averages. We are committed to bridging this gap by paying our workers above average salaries.The per capita income in Flint is $14,765 - compared to the state's $29,547 and national $56,430.

Eyeglasses can be manufactured with a basic understanding of tools and on-the-job skills training. By bringing a new manufacturing legacy to the city of Flint, and creating jobs that anyone can be trained to do - we will put people back to work by retraining and employing them in new skills and crafts. We want to generationally impact the lives of people in Flint and believe creating living wage jobs in diverse fields of interest is a key to social and economic justice. 

We are currently living in a paradigm of “fast - fashion” and linear economies. We buy, use, and throw away with little to no curiousity or knowledge of where our waste ends up, or it’s impact on the world around us.

It’s not just about recycling but designing products and systems from the onset of ideation to be closed loop. 

We want to make circularity as easy as possible for our users. We designed a unique Buy-Back Program that allows us to partner with YOU (the consumer) to take responsibility for our eyeglasses in the eco-system. 

When you are done using your Genusee eyewear we will buy them back from you for a credit towards your next pair. Yes. You heard us correctly, we will pay you for your used glasses. 

We will evaluate the quality and wear of the used eyeglasses, allowing us to do 1 of 3 things. Recycle the materials back into our supply chain, refurbish and resell at a discount to a value customer, or donate to those in need.

1% of profits are being donated to the Community Fund of Greater Flint. Donations will be distributed to two funds that address children's health and education in Flint: Flint Promise & Child Health and Development Fund. 

Lead is a serious and very dangerous neurotoxin. There is no safe level of lead exposure. Once it enters the body, the effects (depending on age of the person exposed) can be immediate, devastating and long lasting. 

There’s no way to remove lead from the body once it’s been absorbed into the bones. Therefore, we must find other ways to mitigate the devastating effects. Positive early childhood experiences and good nutrition can help limit the effects of lead on children and improve their behaviors and readiness for school. However, much more is needed. 

As we grapple with the effects of lead exposure, the Community Foundation’s Flint Child Health and Development Fund is focused on providing health and development interventions to support Flint’s children, throughout this crisis and beyond. Your purchase of Genusee will help our efforts to meet the long-term health and development needs of Flint children exposed to lead. Our children are in a fight, and with your help, they will win!

The Genusee Journey

In early 2016, Genusee’s co-founder Ali Rose VanOverbeke was in her hometown of Detroit volunteering with the American Red Cross during the Flint Water Crisis. While there, she observed the community facing not only a man-made disaster but, also a localized environmental crisis due to the surplus of plastic being brought into the city by NGO’s and aid organizations to meet the community’s daily needs.

Feeling a need to do something, Ali shared her experience with long-term collaborator and co-founder Jack Burns. Together, Ali and Jack began working on a design solution to address issues of plastic waste that would simultaneously create living wage jobs in Flint. They didn’t have an answer to the city’s problems. They simply knew they wanted to help.

Genusee was one of six companies to participate in the inaugural Elaine Gold Launch Pad program in partnership with the CFDA and the Accessories Council. During their time in the program, the team was awarded a micro-grant to further their business venture in Flint.

         
 
      

Risks and challenges

We have spent the last 2 years researching, prototyping and testing our current products and believe the risks are close to non-existent. We are working with eyewear consultants on all levels to ensure and mitigate problems as they arise. We have put our entire selves into to making this project a reality and are now reaching out to the Kickstarter community to finance our first production. We feel confident in saying that we are very capable of executing whatever it takes to run a successful campaign, and most importantly, to deliver the product on time.

We are excited about delivering our first products to our backers, and we will be completely engaged with our supporters during this process with full transparency. Any updates will be relayed in a timely manner, and we are open to any feedback or questions that arise along the way.

With your support, you won’t just be helping us to fund Genusee; you’ll be part of developing the future of Flint.

Forecasting Risk : Of course there can always be unforeseen matters/delays that we cannot control. But fortunately this rarely happens. If a problem comes up, our backers will be the first to know.

Acts of God : Events outside human control, like flash floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, or other natural disasters that could delay delivery.

If the information provided is not sufficient, please send you questions to the creators of the project.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    Be The Change

    Every little bit counts! Help us bring our first frames to life and we will bring you along on the journey to #BeTheChange

    Includes:
    • Project Updates
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    71 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Community Mural Partner

    Support the beautification of Flint. We will include your name in a collaborative mural we paint in Flint with the Flint Public Art Project.

    Includes:
    • Your name included as a community partner in Flint mural
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    102 backers
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 79 or more About US$ 79

    1x Genusee glasses - Super Early Bird

    Save $50 off the planned retail price of $129.

    Be The Change with Genusee.

    Includes:
    • 1x Genusee Frames (Choose Color Later)
    • Lens: SV Prescription or UV Tinted Sun or Readers (Choose Later)
    • Polishing Bag
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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 300 backers
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  4. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 89 or more About US$ 89

    1x Genusee glasses - Early Bird

    Save $40 off the planned retail price of $129.

    Be The Change with Genusee.

    Includes:
    • 1x Genusee Frames (Choose Color Later)
    • Lens: SV Prescription or UV Tinted Sun or Readers (Choose Later)
    • Polishing Bag
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 9 backers
    $
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    1x Genusee glasses - Kickstarter Special

    Save $30 off the planned retail price of $129.

    Be The Change with Genusee.

    Includes:
    • 1x Genusee Frames (Choose Color Later)
    • Lens: SV Prescription or UV Tinted Sun or Readers (Choose Later)
    • Polishing Bag
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    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 221 backers
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  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    Earth Day Special

    Save $30 off the planned retail price of $129.

    Celebrate Earth Day with Genusee. For every purchase made on Earth Day we will plant a tree in Flint.

    Be The Change with Genusee.

    Includes:
    • 1x Genusee Frames (Choose Color Later)
    • Lens: SV Prescription or UV Tinted Sun or Readers (Choose Later)
    • Polishing Bag
    • 1x Tree Planted in Flint in your honor
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    Reward no longer available 4 backers
    $
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 189 or more About US$ 189

    Two Pack Special

    Get TWO pairs of Genusee frames for $70 off the retail price of $258 ($129 individually)

    You can mix and match your colors & lenses.

    Be The Change with Genusee.

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    51 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    Glasses for Life Membership

    Your support and belief in our mission means the world to us!

    For your extreme support we will provide you with glasses for life. That's right, once a year you can get a new pair of optical or sunglasses when you trade in your old frames.

    To start you off you will receive 2 pairs of your choosing. Every year you are entitled to one new frame style and lenses (includes single vision prescription or UV tinted sun lens or readers - high index, blue filter, or progressives will be available at a competitive additional cost)

    Includes:
    • Glasses for Life Membership
    • Your name included as a community partner in Flint mural
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    Pledge US$ 4,500 or more About US$ 4,500

    Named in Your Honor

    Your support and belief in our mission means the world to us!

    To start you off you will receive 4 pairs of your choosing. Every year you are entitled to one new frame style and lenses (includes single vision prescription or UV tinted sun lens or readers - high index, blue filter, or progressives will be available at a competitive additional cost)

    Includes:
    • Frame Style Named in your Honor
    • Glasses for Life Membership
    • Your name included as a community partner in Flint mural
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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)