As Sean Holmes was looking for a place to relocate his sunglasses company, Nectar, he knew he wanted to be somewhere on the East Coast near the ocean. “The water is healing in so many ways,” he said. “Ultimately, I had buddies in Charleston, came to visit, and just fell in love with this area, the marsh, the low country, and the people here.”
Surrounded by a maze of rivers, lakes, and the ocean, the area offers plenty of opportunities for surfing, fishing, paddling, and boating. “The best of all the worlds are down in Charleston,” Holmes said.
Holmes, who built the company in Atlanta, Ga., and Richmond, Va., before moving to Charleston, wants to promote the East Coast adventure scene, believing this side of the country has as much to offer as the West Coast. “We still have sunsets, mountains, oceans, and lakes—all the things that they have,” he said. “We grew up surfing crappier waves and snowboarding on ice. But then if you put us on fresh powder or better waves, we can hold our own.”
Each pair of sunglasses in Nectar’s collections is named after an iconic East Coast landmark, paying tribute to the awe-inspiring places that call to us, from Harpers Ferry and Bear Mountain to Anna Ruby Falls and Emerald Isle. Many of these locations are places Holmes has visited on his adventures, like growing up surfing Hatteras and the Outer Banks. “It’s this really unique area on the East Coast that does produce some of the best waves and has so many different personalities to it, from the waves you surf and the people you meet there,” he said.
Nectar’s new premium acetate line is made from a thin resin block of wood pulp. “These are all blended and hardened, so when you cut out the frames with the CNC [router], each one is slightly different, which I think gives a little character to each one,” Holmes said. By 2022, the company aims to have all of the sunglasses in the classic collection made from recycled plastic bottles.
For the full Charleston experience, it’s best to try multiple modes of transportation. “There’s just a whole different experience when you’re on the water in Charleston versus when you’re walking downtown, seeing the buildings and history,” Holmes said. “Both are equally amazing.” You can regularly find Holmes surfing the waves at Folly Beach or hiking in Francis Marion National Forest.
From the convergence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers out to the barrier islands, Four Hole Swamp, and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, you can’t go wrong no matter which direction you choose to go.
Check out the entire article in Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.