EIGHT. It is crazy to think that my baby boy is turning 8 years old. Reflecting back on the last 8 years brings back a lot of emotion, as my journey into motherhood was not at all what I expected it to be. I’ll never forget those first 24 hours after Jonas was born, as those were some of the most precious hours during which Ben and I had a son with no known health issues. Those were the hours when everything was just as it should be and Jonas was healthy and perfect.
After that first day, things took a turn for the worse when we found out our sweet, perfect son was born with Peter’s Anomaly, an extremely rare eye condition that could leave him blind for life. After 21 eye surgeries, Jonas now has low vision, and we are so very thankful for the limited sight that he does have. He changed our lives and inspired us to start a business that would change so many other lives.
I never would have imagined having a son who was born blind, but I’ve learned from Jonas that you can overcome the obstacles that life throws at you, no matter what. When we were told that Jonas might need a white cane for mobility, I really struggled. I didn’t want one more thing to show the public that Jonas was different or that he needed assistance in getting around. But, it has been amazing to watch him learn to rely on his white cane, gain the confidence to get around independently, and encourage so many people with his zest for life.
Another obstacle was when we made the decision for Jonas to learn Braille as a primary language. That was such a tough decision to make, and even today there are times I wish our situation was different and normal. Braille is not easy for sighted people to learn and is hard for Jonas (and will continue to be), but it’s amazing to watch him overcome the challenges he faces in education. I’m so incredibly proud of Jonas and I love that we can incorporate an amazing product written in Braille on our website to inspire and encourage others.
As I reflect on these past 8 years from a business perspective, it is so fun to see how our product offerings have grown and changed. Since the beginning of JPE, our frames have been named after significant people in my and Ben’s lives, such as the Paul/Paige frame. This frame was named after my grandfather, and the shape was inspired by a photo of him from the 1920’s wearing a circular shaped frame.
Another original frame that has been offered since day one is our Jonas/Joyce frame! This was one of the original designs Ben and I came up with when we were dreaming up this business, and we love that it is a more retro style that will never go out of style. Because Jonas is growing up, we decided this was the year to grow the frame up with him and expand into our teen size. We hope you love it and the fun new blue colorways as much as we do! I can’t wait until he can fit into the teen size so he can rock the new Jonas Slate Tortoise color.
Among so many other amazing memories, a few highlights include the growth of our Buy Sight, Give Sight program (we have impacted over 500K lives so far!) and our feature on NBC’s Today Show. This feature happened when Jonas was just 2.5 years old (and Sophie, his little sister, was just a few months old), and I was so nervous the day NBC’s crew was shooting the footage. Jonas absolutely nailed it, though! It was so wild watching our story air to millions of people - who knew this little idea we had back in 2013 would continue to impact thousands of lives.
Family means everything to us and we hope you feel that through everything we do here! We even have some product launches coming this spring (shhh!) that were inspired by two sisters who are a part of the Jonas Paul team. Anna and Libby are two incredible women, and we are so excited to launch a brand new collection named after them!
Thank you for your support of Jonas Paul Eyewear these past 8 years - it truly means so much to me and my family. Jonas has made such an impact on so many of us when he entered the world, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this sweet child of mine.
Laura, Co-Founder of Jonas Paul Eyewear