Shining with a limitless entrepreneurial spirit, the future is so bright for Chesco Sanchez that he had to make his own shades.
The 37-year-old branding specialist with a flair for fashion designs his own brand of sunglasses from the Village of Key Biscayne. Authentic and undeniably unique, the sunglasses have been appropriately named “Biscayners.”
A native of Murcia, Spain, the Key resident felt his new home was the right environment for his latest business venture. “I met my girlfriend in Spain, who is now my wife, and she is from Key Biscayne. She invited me to come because it was her hometown, and I went, and I had a normal reaction: I fell in love with the island paradise Key Biscayne,” Sanchez said. “I said, ‘This is amazing,’ and I went back to Spain and told everybody about my girlfriend and the island.”
A few short years later, Sanchez and Annette Rasco got married and began making a new life together in her hometown, bringing their immediate future into focus. “I had a branding agency. I create brands and I’m a brand manager for a small company,” Sanchez said, adding he has already done business with big clients like the University of Miami. “One of my dreams was to create my own brand and my own product…but what?”
An avid fan of outdoor activities and style, his own needs were the catalyst to his invention.
“I love the fashion world, and it’s hard to find sunglasses I like,” he said, sharing how he found a marketable solution to his problem. “I said, ‘Maybe I can start my own brand and do something unique and different here in Miami by trying to find a Key Biscayne look’ I think Key Biscayne is so inspirational, and it’s a paradise, so let’s create a brand that represents Key Biscayne.”
And represent he did.
The wood-framed shades with the sun-retardant lenses form an immediate connection with nature. “I’m trying to capture nature,” Sanchez said, searching for best words to describe his mix of ideas that went into creating product. “The sunglasses are made from wood and bamboo materials, so we’re ecological. On Key Biscayne, you need UV protection. Also, they have a nautical style, because Key Biscayne is next to the ocean and you have the yacht club and the whole boating vibe, but authentic boating, like sailboats, a more pure nautical style.”
Sanchez’s affection for all things Key Biscayne is apparent in the names he has chosen for the various styles of Biscayners he offers.
“It’s perfect,” he said about the way he can market the Key and the glasses at the same time. “I created the name Biscayners, and every model of the glasses is named after a street from Key Biscayne. For example, we have a model called Crandon, Heather, Westwood, Sonesta and Sunrise, Ocean Drive. In total, we have about 15 streets.”
The glasses are manufactured in Asia and made from products around the world. “We make them in China, but the lenses are from Germany,” Sanchez explained. “The wood is from Hong Kong and Colorado, so we’re trying to bring materials from around the world. It’s not easy, but we are trying.”
The handmade wooden sunglasses with the polarized lenses received worldwide exposure when Major League Baseball purchased a pair for all players in the All-Star game in Miami last year.
Meanwhile, Sanchez is on a grassroots campaign to grow his brand. They are a popular item for tourists staying at the Key Biscayne Ritz-Carlton, people flying through Miami International Airport, and at events the brand manager visits around South Florida.
“Every weekend we are in different markets in Miami like Wynwood, trying to show Biscayners – it’s fun because the tourists love it,” Sanchez said, mentioning his packaging is promotional as well. “The cases are colorful, and the people love the style and ask me about Biscayners and the tourists ask about the name and we explain about the island.”
The sunglasses, which range in price from $65 to $130, can be viewed at the company display room located at 120 Southwest 8th street near Brickell, and of course on the company website. The site includes pictures of Key Biscayne that associate the brand with the island.
The European transplant said he includes information about the brand and Key Biscayne as part of his packaging, and some of his glasses even float in case they fall overboard during an Island Paradise sailing adventure.
Sanchez and his wife are doing it all with only the help of a social media manager and assistant.
“The main channel is the website; we launched one year ago at the same time we launched the company, and of course we have Facebook and Instagram. Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for us, because people go from there to the website,” he said.
Fredie Rodriquez is a Key native who is a friend of Sanchez’ and fan of his sunglasses. “I bought two pairs for my sister already because she had a pair and she liked the ones I had, so she wanted them,” Rodriquez said. “I like the designs, and they’re made of wood and everybody compliments me on them when I’m wearing them.”
The Key Rat is proud of his friend and all the success he is experiencing building his American dream one pair of sunglasses at a time. “I’ve known his wife since we were kids, and he came over and he barely spoke any English, and he’d say, ‘Talk to me in English so I can learn it better.’ And now he knows it really well. He’s helping all these brands, which is awesome for him. As long as he keeps expanding, at first it was friends and family, and now they’re getting more sales from people who just happen to see them.”
Daniela Alzuru proudly sports her Biscayners around the Village and throughout South Florida, happily marketing Sanchez’s eyewear while complementing her style along the way. The Key Biscayne native, who has a background in promotions, communication and community outreach, said Sanchez hits the market with his brand in a variety of ways that she believes will ultimately translate to major success.
“I definitely say that with the project itself, he’s done a really good job,” Alzuru said, noting the creativity and consistency. “It shows how well he understands the market. He’s brought fresh designs with a classic edge to them. He’ll take a timeless design like an aviator and he’ll add a fresh color lens or wood details. He has a way of making it his own. There’s a continuity in the brand, and it has an interwoven theme.
“The best part is you can tell they are very high quality, but he has priced them competitively because he wants to make them available to every consumer.”
Living in the Sunshine State, playing soccer every morning while enjoying sailing and running in his spare time, Sanchez is enjoying life in the Village while making new friends. Seeing the world thorough rose-colored glasses is a metaphor, but one that applies perfectly to Sanchez as he navigates life in a new world he now calls home, promoting his brand and living his American dream along the way.
“I’m so proud to be a part of Key Biscayne and proud to be a part of this country,” he said.
For more, visit biscayners.com or follow Biscayners on Instagram (@Biscayners) and Facebook (Biscayners).