Jul 4, 2021
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Garrett Leight names Barney Waters president

Jul 4, 2021

Los Angeles-based eyewear lifestyle brand Garrett Leight California Optical (GLCO) announced last week the appointment of Barney Waters as president, on the heels of a $20-million investment from The Untitled Group. 

Barney Waters and Garrett Leight. - Garrett Leight

In this position, Waters will lead the executive team to help achieve the company’s ambitious goals including 20 percent top line growth year-over-year to double volume over the next five years. He will also lend his marketing expertise to projects spanning sustainability initiatives and partnerships to the addition of some limited drop ancillary products.

Waters joins GLCO from K-Swiss, the American heritage sneaker brand, where he served as the brand's president since 2016. During his tenure, K-Swiss went from multimillion dollar annual losses to profitability, with renewed energy and relevance in the market. 

Prior to that, he entered the sneaker industry by way of Puma as its VP of marketing for seven years, and later landed at the K-Swiss-acquired, French heritage boot brand, Palladium that Waters’ ultimately led from $15 milliobn in global sales to $110 million, in under five years. His career began at the software company, Lotus. 

“I'm thrilled to bring in a footwear industry legend who understands that marketing, PR and design are the bloodline of what makes our brand special and simultaneously knows what it takes for us meet our business goals,” said founder, Garrett Leight. 

“His experience at larger companies will help us achieve our targets and the potential we believe GLCO has, not only in optical but beyond. Having Barney on the team will allow me the opportunity to get back to focusing on the creative parts of the business that I most enjoy.”

Last month, the company announced a strategic investment from The Untitled Group to drive growth for global expansion. Untitled, an investment platform that specialises in emerging consumer brands, invested $20 million in exchange for a majority share of the company. 

GLCO is now expected to open multiple boutiques in both the U.S. and abroad, with a new location in Brooklyn, NY and the Silverlake area of Los Angeles to debut in late 2021. Launched in 2010, GLCO currently has six proprietary stores including its first international location in Toronto, which opened earlier this year.

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