Oakley: The Early Years
In 1975, Jim Jannard started Oakley with an initial investment of just $300. The name came from Jannard's English Setter dog. The company began selling grips for motorcycles, with production from Jannard's garage.
In 1980, Jannard launched the O-Frame goggles with the iconic Oakley "O" on the strap. This was the start of the Oakley brand, and in 1983 the company began making and selling ski goggles.
Following years of successful sales and growth, Oakley went public in 1995. The company began developing their iconic line of sunglasses as well as goggles, apparel and accessories. Currently, Oakley holds more than 600 patents related to eyewear, performance gear and materials.
In 2007, the Italian group Luxottica merged with Oakley in a deal worth $2.1 billion.
One of Oakley's key strategies is to match its brand with athletes through sponsorship. Oakley maintains a large roster of sports stars across a wide variety of sports. Athletes who have been, or are currently, sponsored by Oakley include: Michael Jordan, Shaun White, Fernando Alonso, Valentino Rossi, Ryan Sheckler and Lindsay Vonn.
Oakley In Golf
With their extensive research and development of sunglasses, Oakley sunglasses have been worn by professional golfers for years. Throughout the peak of his career, David Duval was known for wearing Oakley's M Frame glasses, wearing them to win the 2001 Open Championship in addition to his 59 at the 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
In 2011, Oakley signed a deal with the then 22-year old Rory McIlroy to wear Oakley sunglasses and apparel. McIlroy went on to win two majors in Oakley gear (2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship).
When McIlroy left Oakley in 2013, the company added Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson to their roster of golfers that includes Ian Poulter, Ricky Barnes, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Brendon Steele, Yani Tseng, Annika Sorenstam, Ryan O'Toole and many more.