C.J.: Sunglasses creators can make it anywhere but Minnesota

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 21, 2014 - 8:08 PM

Minnesota-born Coco and Breezy’s sunglasses are sold internationally.

Sunglasses entrepreneurs Coco & Breezy hang with Beyoncé, Prince and Tommy Hilfiger but can’t get their products in any Minnesota boutiques. Really?

Mixing business with family, the Minnesota-born twins popped into town last week to surprise their mother, Diana Aponte. Saturday they had a photo shoot in a Minneapolis space for some of their latest creations. Things are going well for the Apple Valley transplants, who moved to NYC in 2009 at 19 years of age with less than $1,000 between them and no place to stay.

So how many Twin Cities area stores are carrying their products?

“Zero,” said Coco. “They don’t believe in us? Joking.”

She laughed.

One look at cocoandbreezy.com and it’s easy to see why the twins can laugh off a hometown slight. They’re not suffering a shortage of media coverage or sales from what I can see.

“I don’t know if our glasses are too wild or not,” said Coco. “We’ve reached out to a few stores here.”

“And they didn’t reach back out to us,” said Breezy.

But Coco & Breezy are doing fine in NYC. For example: Milly in NYC only carries Coco & Breezy’s sunglasses, and their reach far exceeds New York.

“Greece,” said Coco.

“Australia, Paris, Japan, Portugal. We’re in over 20 countries. I could keep going,” said Breezy. “L.A.”

They told me Prince invited them to the Essence Music Festival this month.

“We danced on stage with Prince in front of about 35,000 people. It was crazy,” said Coco. “We used to dance; it used to be our passion. Prince is so inspiring. When we first met him in New Orleans, after we showed him our dances, he’s like,You guys are going to make us famous.’ ”

“And we’re like, ‘No, Prince,’ ” they said to me in unison. “I think it’s the other way around,” Coco said to Prince.

The Twins, whom Vogue Italy has described as “fashion icons,” appeared in Beyoncé’s “Party” video in 2011.

A couple of months ago, Beyoncé rented out a New York Dave and Buster’s and the twins were invited.

“We were there. Drake was there, J Cole. We were at Dave and Buster’s playing games …” said Coco.

“ … like big kids, playing games,” added Breezy. “I was like, we’re hanging with Beyoncé. She remembered us. [She’s] so sweet and humble.”

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