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How to Become a Sunglass Distributor

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Sunglasses are an important functional accessory in addition to their use as fashion accessories. Wherever there is sun you will find people of all ages wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes. According to the American Optometric Association, people need sunglasses to provide eye protection from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunglasses options range from basic inexpensive "shades" that can be purchased at a local dollar store to high-end designer sunglasses available from exclusive retailers. Those with sales skills and experience may find developing a sunglasses distributorship a rewarding small business start-up.

Register the new business enterprise. Apply for a business license from the local county or parish government agency. Business entities such as corporations or limited liability companies must also complete registration requirements with state government agencies such as the secretary of state. Obtain a taxpayer identification number (TIN) from the Internal Revenue Service. Open a business bank account.

Learn about the quality, form and function of sunglasses. Sunglasses take many forms, from simple specs to wrap-around frames. This includes understanding the types of lenses, such as polarized, photochromic or polycarbonate lenses. Start by checking out large industry players in the sunglasses industry such as Ray-Ban Sunglasses and Sunglass Hut.

Find wholesale distributors or manufacturers. A sunglasses distributor may purchase pre-designed and manufactured sunglasses products or find a manufacturer and provide specification for sunglasses products. Request catalogs from an assortment of sunglasses manufacturers. Online resources to sunglasses manufacturers are located at such websites as,, and

Write a business plan. A start-up business plan is a business road map. It includes the business mission and target market for goods or service. It will outline the required business facilities, tools, equipment and supplies needed. It also identifies specific start-up tasks and actions required, capital needs and available resources. For more information on drafting a business plan visit the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website which provides business planning instructions and business plan templates.

Finance the business. If the start-up owner does not have the capital resources to finance the business start-up there are a number of other options. This includes finding venture capital investors or securing a business loan from family or friends or through a commercial bank. The SBA provides online information about its guaranteed loan programs on its website.

Secure an office space with warehousing facilities. A sunglasses distributor will purchase sunglasses wholesale from either a manufacturer or wholesale-distributor. This requires housing bulk inventory for shipment to retail clients. Office space should be equipment with warehouse space and appropriate shelving, as well as an adequate shipping and receiving facility.

Promote the business. Advertise in business-to-business publications that target fashion retailers. Online publications such as Women's Wear Daily at provides fashion industry insights on style and fashion trends. Also, join industry organizations such as the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors to stay abreast of trends, news and information in the distribution industry.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice related to legal or tax matters.


Vanessa Cross has practiced law in Tennessee and lectured as an adjunct professor on law and business topics. She has also contributed as a business writer to news publications such as the "Chicago Tribune" and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Cross holds a B.A. in journalism, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in international business law.