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When you open a package of Transparent Sunglasses, you'll see a picture of a 6-year-old girl wearing a large pair of aviators. That little girl couldn't have known it then, but that image foreshadowed her future.
Margot Hogan—native Houstonian, mother of three, and local entrepreneur—grew up to found her own eyewear brand, Transparent Sunglasses, and recently hit a unique milestone: Her products were featured in the official 62nd Annual Grammy Awards Gift Lounge—just three months after she founded the brand, no less.
Hogan believes sunglasses can be both fashionable and affordable—hers retail online for a base rate of $120—and says the accessories are essentially for self-expression. That philosophy has been the driving force behind her brand and has gained her some well-known fans such as Cyndi Lauper, Tish Cyrus, and Lizzo, to name a few.
We sat down with the Memorial-area native to talk about her journey, her style, and being a working mom.
What's the story of your brand name?
The idea was to be transparent, which meant to be honest with my customers, and to also encourage my customers to honestly celebrate their personalities. It's a dual concept. By definition, 'transparent' is allowing light to pass through so that objects can be distinctly seen, which is cheesy enough, but it is exactly what I'm trying to do. Sure, they're sunglasses, but with my sunglasses you're showing people who you are when you wear a certain pair. Our whole mantra is honest relationships with our customers and just the mutual appreciation of being transparent and celebrating who you are. I live by this.
How do you practice work-life balance as a mom of three?
It is a huge balance and, to be perfectly transparent, I am still learning. When I launched this business, I really had no idea how much goes into it. You have to set boundaries, so I try and keep it 9 to 5. What’s cool about being a working mom and running your own business is I don't have a boss, which is perfect for my personality. I get to take my kids to school and I can pick them up from school if I don't have a meeting. My work time is time I would have spent not pursuing my dream. As a mom, I think it's good for my children to see me pursuing and striving for my goals.
What advice would you give other moms pursuing their dreams?
Try, and don’t give up. It's never too late to start. You could always say, “I'm too old to start this" or "I'm too busy,” but I feel like you make time for things that matter—and it mattered to me to create something. Whether it tanked or didn’t tank, it's very enlightening to follow your passion. There is this saying, "when you allow your soul to follow its true passion, your soul sets on fire." I think that's true in life. So for mothers that feel like their little children are all they can handle, start researching at night after the children go to bed. When they're napping and you feel like all you do is put them down for a nap, start Googling ideas. No one is going to do it for you, so you have to commit to believing in yourself. You really have to believe in your vision in order to sell anybody on it, so if you're not believing in yourself, no one else is going to believe in your product. The great thing is showing your children you are capable of anything, which is what my parents taught me.
What goes into naming each pair of your sunglasses?
Every pair of sunglasses is designed with someone in mind, so when I'm reviewing materials or when I'm looking for a design, I'm trying to envision who would wear that. I'm envisioning what personality, what character, what musician, what actor, or who does it remind me of, so I can feel close to it. For example, my standard pair of wayfarers are a classic named after my husband, Brett, but then I have another pair called Bam, named after Bam Margera, a famous skateboarder, and it's made out of skateboard wood. Some of the sunglasses are named after women or men that took a chance on my sunglasses and were willing to support and follow me.
If you had to pick a song that best represents your brand, what would it be?
I believe music and Transparent align beautifully because of our shared purpose: self-expression. The genre of music you're listening to, similar to the style of sunglasses you're wearing, says something about your vibe and who you are. Currently on repeat: "Walking On A Dream" by Empire of the Sun.
Where do you see your brand in five years?
Our goal at Transparent is to ignite fun in self-expression and encourage people to celebrate who they are with sunglasses. I hope everyone reading this article owns a pair of Transparent Sunglasses and feels inspired to be more transparent in this crazy world we live in.