In 2012, Chuck Mumford and Chris Garcin had a vision to create a sunglass company that embodied the wild and adventurous spirit of their youth. This vision led to the birth of Pit Viper, a Salt Lake City-based company that has made a name for itself by offering outrageously bright, military-grade sunglasses designed to stand out in a sea of mundane eyewear.
When Pit Viper first launched, Chuck Mumford took to the streets with an old Samsonite briefcase that he had spray painted in neon colors and filled with the vibrant sunglasses he had designed. This unique approach, which the founders refer to as “briefcasing,” became a hallmark of their marketing strategy. By carrying the briefcase with him wherever he went, Mumford was able to attract attention and spark curiosity, ultimately leading to more and more people reaching in to try on the vibrant sunglasses.
The company’s website proudly advertises its “wildly colorful wraparound sunglasses” and emphasizes its commitment to taking a lighthearted and playful approach to life. With styles suited for various activities such as beach sports, cycling, snow sports, and ball sports, Pit Viper aims to cater to adventurers of all kinds. The brand’s mission, as stated on its website, is to embrace the party lifestyle from sunrise to sunset, whether it’s on reef breaks or ridge lines, and everything in between.
From the design of the website to the content of their social media feed and the quirky emails they send to customers, the Pit Viper experience is an unapologetic throwback to the neon-colored, potty-humor-filled, throw-down vibe of the ’90s. This bold and eccentric approach to branding has helped the company carve out a unique niche in the eyewear industry.
As of 2022, Pit Viper has experienced significant growth, currently employing approximately 100 individuals and generating millions in revenue. While the company keeps its financial information private, a 2022 Wall Street Journal story reported that Pit Viper saw revenue upwards of $40 million in that year alone. Mumford and Garcin have struck a chord with their low-tech design aesthetic, embracing dirtbag ski culture, and fostering unwavering customer loyalty. Their following includes a diverse range of individuals, from outdoor adventurers to professional athletes, and even weekend warriors. Notable fans of the brand include extreme skiing pioneer Glen Plake, as well as NFL players Patrick Mahomes and Rob Gronkowski, further solidifying the brand’s appeal across different segments of the population.
Pit Viper’s success can be attributed to its ability to tap into nostalgia, while also staying relevant and current. By blending retro elements with modern marketing strategies, the brand has managed to capture the attention and loyalty of a wide-ranging audience. Ultimately, Pit Viper has proven that sometimes, embracing the absurd and unapologetically standing out in a crowd can be the key to success in a competitive market.