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The story so far

by Chris Loock on
When Tommy Sheridan moved from Riddells Creek to Perth at 18 he didn’t know anyone outside the Fremantle Football Club, let alone anyone in Western Australia. That’s the nature of the AFL Draft. Home one minute, gone the next. The first proper friendship he forged outside the Dockers was with Coen Rodgers.

Two years after first crossing paths, the pair sat down for dinner one night in Cottesloe, overlooking the ocean, and it was there where the idea for RIXX Eyewear was born. Tommy and Coen both wanted to enter the e-commerce space, but they didn’t know how. When they realised they couldn’t name a single Australian eyewear brand they knew there was an opportunity in the market, especially for two blokes in their 20s living in the west. That chat was midway through 2015. Fast forward five years, RIXX Eyewear is racing towards its fourth birthday. Time flies when you’re both juggling two different careers at the same time.

The RIXX Launch Party - 2015

With a background in commerce and accounting, Coen is the brains of the operation, ensuring everything is in order, while Tommy is the peoples person who leans on his marketing and networking nous. When RIXX was born, Coen was still working as a commercial accountant in the mining and gas industry, finding creative ways to work on the brand while in the office. He would come home from a day at work and spend the rest of the night building the side hustle. While Tommy would race away from the club at lunchtime to pack orders so that sunglasses could be delivered as quickly as possible, before returning to the club for afternoon meetings, weight sessions and everything that comes with playing AFL. As they say, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

When they look back at what transpired from the idea being born to the product finally being ready – from tearing one business plan up and replacing it with another, to searching far and wide for the best manufacturer – they can’t believe they made it past the first year.

But they have. It all started at the launch party at Stables Bar in October 2016. In the early days, Tommy and Coen set up a RIXX stand out the front of Gesha Café in Fremantle and bought people coffee to spread the message. It worked and RIXX gathered steam across the first 12 months. Although one moment stands out from the early years involved one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Tommy had just landed in Brisbane ahead of a game against the Lions when he received a text message from his sister while sitting on the Dockers’ bus to the hotel. Margot Robbie had been snapped in a pair of RIXX less than 12 months after the launch. And then a month later, NFL superstar Odell Beckham Jnr. posted a video on Instagram in a pair. Two special moments that helped take RIXX to the next level. Plenty has changed since then. Tommy moved from Perth to Sydney a couple of years ago to continue his career with Greater Western Sydney, while the team has expanded to include members in other states and abroad.

One of the first RIXX Eyewear Shoot - Elizabeth Quay

And Coen is no longer captive inside the ‘gold plated prison’ working in the finance team, as just another cog in the machine.

He decided to take a risk midway through 2018, resigning from his job to go chips in on RIXX full time after juggling two jobs for too long to the point of exhaustion – he literally was struck down with chronic fatigue due to burnout months before making the major decision. Now they both work on separate sides of Australia, but the mission hasn’t changed.

The focus is more lifestyle, less luxury than in the beginning; anywhere eyewear for any and all occasions. They know they wouldn’t have got anywhere near as far without the tremendous support around them. It has opened countless doors and shown them a whole world they never knew existed before heading down this path.

For someone who loves human connection and seeing people smile, it is the driving factor for Tommy, who has also loved the outlet RIXX has provided him from the grind of league football. Tommy is still chasing his AFL dream, but it is far from his only dream.

Taking RIXX to the next level in Australia and abroad is what drives him and Coen to get better every day. We look forward to taking you behind the curtains and bringing you along for the journey.
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