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by sandy bennettPublished: June 01, 2012

Oakley CEO Colin Baden
Founded: 1975
Headquarters: Foothill Ranch

Regarded for its innovation, Oakley is recognized as one of the most coveted brands in performance technology and fashion. The Orange County-based company manufactures and distributes high-performance sunglasses, prescription lenses and frames, goggles, apparel, footwear and accessories. Among its design philosophies: “Deliver the unexpected.”
Jim Jannard, who opened a shop in his garage with $300 after having his ideas rejected, founded Oakley in 1975. Since then, the company has been awarded more than 600 patents and 1,100 trademarks for its market-leading technology. Today, Oakley’s fastest growing product lines are optical gear for all branches of the U.S. military and some foreign countries as well.
“We believe everything that has been made can and will be beaten,” Oakley CEO Colin Baden says. “Our mission is only to have to beat ourselves. We want our gear to be the best. That’s our connection with our customers.”
In 2007, the Italian luxury glasses manufacturer Luxottica purchased Oakley for $2.1 billion, providing a global platform to showcase Oakley’s brands. Today, Oakley’s products, worn by a number of high-profile athletes, are sold in more than 110 countries.
Development and manufacturing continue at Oakley’s 600,000-square-foot headquarters in Foothill Ranch, where many of the company’s nearly 5,000 employees work. The community is further supported through in-kind donations of Oakley’s premium products, direct financial support and employee volunteerism. “We strongly believe that the more real you are, the more sustainable you are,” Baden says.

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