Born in the Virgin Islands, Raised on the Gulf

Maui has Jim, but Orange Beach has Maho

Maho Shades is escaping the ordinary, one pair of glasses at a time. 

When Kris and Alex Anderson moved to the Virgin Islands, the last thing they expected to move back home with was a business idea.

However, for the young couple, finding a new business venture was a complete accident. 

“When we were living in the Virgin Islands five years ago, we went paddleboarding. During the excursion, we both lost our sunglasses in the water, namely, Maho Bay. When we went to get them replaced, we realized it would have cost $500. Sunglasses should not cost $500 to replace, so we set out to change things.” 

Over the next year, the Anserdons set out to see the world, but with a different agenda. 

“We went everywhere including Asia, Italy, and back to the Virgin Islands to find the best manufacturers we could get to make the best sunglasses. We knew something was missing in the market, and we were determined to fill the gap.”  

However, in 2015 and 2016, the Zika virus hit the Caribbean, and the Andersons moved back to Gulf Shores. After moving back to the Gulf Coast, Maho Shades’ brand was established. The sunglasses were top quality, all polarized, came with a lifetime warranty, and were only $40 to replace if lost or damaged. The sunglasses were also comfortable for long days on the water with an added stylish twist. 

Since Alex is an interior designer, having a pair of stylish yet classic sunglasses was important. “We use only Italian materials for each pair we make. In addition, the sunglasses each have a tie to a location worldwide–we name pairs after locations we have traveled. We want people to feel good putting on our sunglasses. I would describe Maho’s sunglasses as a modern touch on an active lifestyle. When you look good, you feel good.”

The next step was putting the shades into retail stores nearby, which was successful for a few years. However, 2020 had different plans. After losing out on normal accounts due to retailers shutting doors during the pandemic, Flora-Bama Yacht Club had a solution. 

“We decided to put an airstream at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club and are so thankful we did. People were coming off the boat with lost sunglasses and were coming to us. For people who had sunglasses already, we simply made them put on a pair of ours. It was wonderful. People were buying our glasses over larger retail brands. It really kept our brand ” 

Alex emphasizes that, “during our time in the airstream, people related to us because we were local and knew the local way of living. Since 2020 was so beneficial for us, we used that as an opportunity to expand. We knew we wanted another retail space, and since Kris is an attorney for the Wharf, it was a no-brainer. The Wharf had heavy foot traffic, hosted events, and held several concerts, so we knew we would get a lot of business.” 

Currently, Alex's designs are in over 150 retail stores across the southern U.S. and the Virgin Islands, and the brand has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. 


Related Businesses

Related Articles