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Our Story

Rheos Phonetic Spelling

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." - Heraclitus

Our Story

Rheos is the Greek word for river current. A river is constantly flowing, constantly changing, and most importantly, it carves its own path. Looking back, it’s no wonder that is the only word that captures the essence of what the brand has become today.

In 2015, my now wife and I were on a road trip across the country. Every time we would go out on the water, we'd come back and I would inevitably have to get a new pair of shades after losing them in the water. Finally one day she turns to me and says, "You realize the most expensive part of our trip is your shades, right?"

I laughed at first until before that moment of realization hit me that we could fix this problem, and we set the wheels in motion. We started research about the eyewear industry only to discover that a single brand owns more than 80% of almost every vertical of the industry from design and manufacturing to retail and distribution. The owner is quoted on 60-Minutes saying "the illusion of competition is a powerful thing" (you can watch the full video on 60-Minutes here). While that is very true, we thought that actual competition might be a bit more appropriate for us as consumers.

We then found the perfect material that allowed us to make sunglasses that float in water. We spent the next 6-months obsessing over every detail; researching, designing, breaking, remaking until we felt finally ready to launch the highest quality pair of shades at the most accessible pricing possible. 

Most of this development action happened from the road sitting in the living room (I guess we can call it that) of a 1981 Airstream Excella II. We traveled the country working on projects, meeting new people, taking in the sights and of course working on a name for the business. "Rheos," Becca said looking up from her phone. It comes from an old Greek philosopher Heraclitus, "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for he's not the same man, and it's not the same river."

After our arrival back to home base in Atlanta, we launched our first true product line on the first day of Spring of 2016: the Lifestyle and Sport frames of our Rheos Gear Floating Sunglasses. We sold out of our first full shipment in less than 60 days. Scrambling to restock and meet demand, we knew we had struck a chord with others who shared our passion both for high-quality/affordably-priced sunglasses (that float) as well as a relentless desire to explore without having to babysit the gear that was meant to protect us and not the other way around.

We are thrilled to have your help in growing this brand and we cherish every customer, every referral, and every opportunity to make more great products for water junkies in the future. Quite literally, it keeps us going. Through an efficient supply chain, we operate with our friends and fellow startup businesses who share our passion for the water. It's the only way we know how to build the business we dreamed of to best support you, the Water Junky community.

We are as committed to making amazing sunglasses and outdoor water gear as we are to helping you, our fellow explorers, discover and carve your own path. We believe the biggest part of our job is helping you get outside more often because that is where the best of us comes to life whether it's a trek across the globe or the park across the street. After all, we don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing. Our story is hardly just beginning as we still have lots to learn, and I can't wait to see where the next adventure leads or where we'll be years from now.

Rheos Gear was born in Atlanta and raised in Charleston. We love to support our local communities. Don't hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do for you. Now get outside and #lookaround!


Jake Berton
Founder, CEO

Rheos and Charleston Waterkeeper clean up event Rheos & Charleston Waterkeeper clean up a local waterway for the first day of Spring 2019.