In Sept. of 1990, John Jerit founded a “start-from-scratch” company with only one main product. Soon sales for American Paper Optics (APO) “3D Fireworks Glasses” grew, as did the demand for other variations of paper promotional 3D glasses. APOs manufacturing and marketing evolved from a demand for quick turnaround promotional specialty optics. With a staff of 20 employees, APO manufactures 12 different types of specialty paper 3D glasses in over 70 different frame shapes.
Since the company originated, APO has become the world's largest manufacturer of paper 3D eyewear. During this time, owner and 3D aficionado, John Jerit, transformed a "silly" paper novelty business into a 3D-eyeglass empire with products distributed worldwide. Named "Small Business Executive of the Year" in 1998 by the Memphis Business Journal, John attributes aggressive marketing and diversification to the company's successful production of more than 500 million 3D glasses. In November 1999, Entrepreneur Magazine selected John as one of the nation's outstanding small businessmen for his masterful marketing of 3D glasses for movies, television, web sites, theme park attractions, laser light shows, and fireworks displays.
A Brief History
With over 4,000 active customers throughout the world, the colossal numbers of 3D glasses produced includes many back-to-back multimillion-piece orders. In 1991, APO received national notoriety as the manufacturer of 11 million 3D glasses for the “Nightmare on Elm Street” sequel, “Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare.” Soon, APO followed up by producing six million 3D glasses in 1994 for a television promotion of Fox's “Married with Children” and “Revenge of the Nerds IV.” In the summer of 1997, APO produced 20 million 3D glasses for Televisa, a major network television station, for a month-long 3D broadcast in Mexico City. Undaunted, APO embraced the challenge of manufacturing over 21 million 3D viewers in less than three months for the August 1998 international distribution of “National Geographic” magazine. During the last eclipse of the millennium, over seven million solar eclipse-viewing glasses were manufactured and distributed to more than 20 European countries. In the summer of 2001, APO simultaneously produced seven million Eclipsers for Africas June 2001 eclipse along with a 10 million-piece decoder order for a web sweepstakes promotionall in the span of less than two months!
Using our exclusive HoloSpex™ lenses, APO introduced a retail phenomenon into the mainstream marketplace with Holiday Specs and Happy Eyes 3D glasses. Over five million glasses in this highly successful line have sold in a variety of retail stores ranging from gift and greeting card shops to floral and seasonal specialty stores. Our latest innovation, True-Vue 3D, a patented paper stereo viewer, is destined to be a huge promotional success as the best 3D technology in the industry.
In 1999, APO acquired DayShades USA, a long-time Denver-based competitor. This acquisition further increased our presence in the west and added several patented DayShades designs including the highly successful Tropical Palm Tree paper sunglasses to already extensive product lineup. After an eight year history of manufacturing ChromaDepth® 3-D Glasses, APO acquired the technology and assets of Chromatek Inc, adding another patented technology to our list of exclusive 3D products.
Effective in Oct. 2002, APO is now the owner of the exclusive license for the ChromaDepth® technology as well as the manufacturing equipment for the patented optics. With a long and proven track record for high quality products, competent customer service and fast turnaround, we are looking forward to a great future in taking ChromaDepth® Glasses into the third dimension.
The Future of 3D
In 2004, APO eclipsed six million dollars in revenues for the first time. Jerit attributes this to the steady growth of promotional sales and an increase in 3D glasses sales abroad. Coupled with a major order for DreamWorks™ Home Video and partly due to a “Shrek 3D” DVD order for 20,000,000 glasses, the company was propelled into a record sales year. These colossal orders and a continued increase in the retail sales line were key in this phenomenal success.
In the first quarter of 2005, nearly 4,000,000 3D birthday cards for Southwest Airlines followed by a monstrous 16,000,000 piece order for Mattels release of Barbie® Pegasus in 3D. This project alone was worth in excess of $1,100,000.00. As always, APO delivered on time. This fall Dannon® Danimals® drinkable yogurt product will distribute nearly 14,000,000 units of ChromaDepth film for an on-pack and online promotion tied to a Nickelodeon program. Driving APO sales to expected record sales of $8,000,000 for 2005 will be two major television programs airing this fall. In late October, VH1® will air its popular “I Love the 80s™” program complete with 3D ChromaDepth effects that can be seen using APOs 2,000,000 glasses distributed by Best Buy® Electronics. Flying even higher on the radar will be TV Guides distribution of 7,000,000 3D glasses inserts for NBCs November 21st broadcast of the hit show “Medium” in 3D. As the program is broadcast abroad and syndicated, APO expects additional substantial orders.
Our 13,000 square feet manufacturing facility, the only one of its kind in the world, is solely dedicated to the state-of-the-art production of 3D paper eyeglasses. APO continues to diversify and "see" into the new millennium by striving to reach an ever-expanding world marketplace with our custom manufacturing capabilities, in-house graphic arts department, 3D conversion specialists, and retail divisions. We look forward to serving our markets and changing the world, one pair of 3D glasses at a time, well into the 21st century. APO is indeed poised for a bright future-- a future "so bright, you gotta wear shades."