Monday, August 30, 2010

Trip to Oakley

About week-and-a-half ago I was at Oakley's headquarters on a business trip, in Foothill Ranch, Orange County, southern CA.  Last time my wife and I were in their neck of the woods was back in '05 on our vacation when we enjoyed a trip from San Francisco to San Diego, and all kinds of points in-between.

So I forgot how incredibly sweet the place is since 5 years ago till I landed in John Wayne and drove out.  This place is truly a paradise, there are no 2 ways about it.  Their forecast is boring - it's sunny and 75 basically every day.  Yes, with fires and earthquakes, I do not care - I waged enough war with Northeastern winters to call southern California a paradise, and wanting to move here as soon as we're able.  Here are the shots of Oakley's headquarters and their lobby (photos from Oakley site):


I remember when they opened this building back in '97, I was looking at the shots on their website and seriously thinking this is fake.  Nothing drove the point of how real it is home more than physically being there - They call it "the bunker" which is exactly what it looks and feels like, straight from a Hollywood set of Star Wars, Mad Max and Blade Runner.  It's located on top of a hill in Foothill Ranch, surrounded by majestic mountains and southwestern desert landscape.  On the road up the hill, the company "sign" greets you and lets you know you've arrived - except unlike a typical company logo sign by the entrace, they have an actual tank with Oakley logo that definitely lets you know you're "not in Kansas anymore."  The excitement builds as you enter their lobby and notice a row of actual fighter-jet ejection seats.  I'm not even going to start comparing it to other places I've worked at, it's in a category of its own.

This is Bruce Irons, one of the world's top surfers sponsored by Oakley, taking a joyride on their new toy (photo credit: Matt Murray/Oakley):


From their large product line of eyewear, watches, action/extreme sports apparel, luggage, and accessories, here are couple of my favorite designs - Gascan sunglasses, and Minute Machine watch:


I love their attention to detail, authentic use of materials, "nothing but the best" design/technology approach, and probably more than anything thoroughly authentic "born and bred in southern CA" style.