(Photo courtesy of Ripclear)
Quite literally, visionaries Ryan Doherty and Zach Hines have created the solution to the wear and tear your goggles, camera lenses and smartphones go through in their lifespan. Born from firsthand experience with Mt. Bachelor’s inclement winter conditions, the Ripclear team found that the elements of ice, snow, tree sap and general scratch incidents and accidents needed a solution.
After on- and off-mountain testing on shape, durability and functionality, Ripclear produced universal lens protectors for both flat and spherical lenses. Customizing their product by researching a slew of goggle types from numerous manufacturers, they came up with a protective, transparent and adhesive layer that has everyone covered with little to no alterations needed for all styles of goggles.
“I went online to try to find anything to protect my lenses, I would go through three to four pairs of goggles a season, and they’re expensive,” says Doherty. “We couldn’t find protective lenses and so we created our own.”
Both Michigan natives with five winters at Bachelor under their belts, Doherty and Hines first conceptualized Ripclear in 2014 and have since found Bend’s response to their product much welcomed by local consumers and the business community as a whole. Ripclear recently was a third finalist at the Bend OutdoorWorx Conference where they presented their company, and made the semifinals at the Bend Venture Conference.
“Bend has been so supportive of our company, we’ve had an absolutely fantastic response. There is a lot of support here for startup companies,” says Doherty who runs Ripclear’s headquarters in Bend in a quaint and productive garage where design, production and conceptualization takes place. “Our biggest feat was we were told it could not be done, but we did it. After testing and researching plastics, we found we could make our own. It’s one of things were most proud of.”
At this point sales are made mainly online, but a handful of mom and pop shops and specialty stores across the country also carry Ripclear’s designs. Doherty runs the Bend HQ and West Coast sales, and Hines works out of New York with East Coast sales.
“People say once you use them, they can’t live without them,” Doherty says. “It’s like when you feel naked without your screen protector.”
What’s next for Ripclear? Branching out from the ski/snowboard industry into limitless lens protection needs in the outdoor industry.
“We have a lot of opportunity to go into other markets but right now we’re very ski industry based,” he says, adding that sunglass lens protectors are in the works. “It’s kind of unlimited.”