If San Diego’s unemployment rate is any indication of a healthy economy, things are looking a bit sunnier in America’s finest city. The March numbers show that San Diego’s unemployment rate has dipped to 7.7 percent, down from 9.3 percent just a year ago. It’s been over four years since San Diego has seen the unemployment rate dip below 8 percent, which is great news and certainly creates some cautious optimism that San Diego’s growth may be steadily improving.

The housing market has seen some significant changes with both inventory and prices. Fall 2012 into Spring 2013 has seen supply diminish and as well as increased demand, with inventory in some parts of the county at all time lows and a surge in home prices. With short-term home prices increasing at a fairly dramatic rate, we could expect to see some sellers looking to exit over the summer months, which may help inventory levels stabilize.

If the sun is any inspiration to the growing number of entrepreneurs in San Diego, there’s no question this town is making its mark as a hub for start-ups. From ideas and incubators to venture funds, San Diego is putting its place on the map as being a leader in creativity for the entrepreneurial world. There’s no better place on the planet to chase a dream than San Diego.

When hearing the word start-up, most people instantly think biotech or software. Fortunately for San Diego, that term goes far beyond technology and medicine. There are very few cities in the nation where you’ll find an entire lineup of microbrews on draft at a restaurant, all made locally. And being the microbrew capital of the U.S. is just a start. The list goes on, from lifestyle brands to action-sports companies; San Diego is a breeding ground for ideas.

Executing on an idea has never been easier with an amazing support system in place for a number of start-ups through non-profit programs such as CommNexus, Connect.org and SDSI, to name a few. These nonprofits are incredible places to take ideas. These programs allow companies the ability to refine their business plans and give these entrepreneurs the confidence to both execute on a business plan, as well the knowledge they need to market their idea and raise capital.

Some people say it doesn’t Raen in San Diego, but this company is out to prove that theory wrong. This month we will go behind the scenes with Raen Optics. Born in Encinitas, Raen has been bringing style to the optic world since its inception. Run by Justin Heit and a team of very talented designers, Raen is poised to make a big run in 2013.

About Fred Segal x Raen

Raen and Fred Segal have teamed up for a limited, 25-piece collection. Inspired by the classic shapes donned by James Dean in the 1950s, Raen fused its top-selling Squire frame with rare, European Mazzucchelli acetate found on a past trip in 2012.

With modern, high-quality aesthetic for similar consumers, the product speaks for itself. Each handmade and heartfelt piece of eyewear features Optics by Carl Zeiss Vision and custom-embossed Fred Segal logo details. The limited edition frame features metal screw temple detailing and a keyhole nose bridge, as well as a mixed ivory and mocha colorway. The collection’s most unique feature is the special numbering 1-25 inside the interior.

About SM13 Collection

Raen has conceptualized and designed a novel collection full of vibrant prints and new colorways for SM13. Stemming from the roots of a wanderlust lifestyle, the Aloha print as seen on all five new styles was created off a vintage airline brochure. *Refer to the SM13 Lookbook


Four El: When and where did the idea of Raen emerge?

Raen Optics [OR SHOULD THIS BE JUSTIN HEIT???]: Raen was created in 2008 by the designers at Libre Design.


It sounds like you guys recently had a big launch at Fred Segal. How did the launch go and tell us a bit more about your plans for 2013.

Raen is working on new, exclusive collaborations this year. [Writer’s note: the SM13 Collection was scheduled to launch around May 15.]


Has it been difficult to run a company in San Diego that has some many ties to the fashion industry in both New York and Los Angeles?

No, it’s been refreshing because we can stay authentic and true to our designs. Also, we’re designers who love to surf, so San Diego is a perfect place to build our company.


Where can find Raen in San Diego?

Go on raen.com and click on Stockists!


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