JP Residents Start Donkey Beach Gear Selling Sunglasses and Clothing

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Donkey Beach Gear is a new business created by Jamaica Plain residents Mike and Jamie Steinfeld -- and naturally there is one question to start -- why is the business called Donkey Beach Gear?

Jamie and Mike Steinfeld launched Donkey Beach Gear in early 2019, selling sunglasses and clothing.

Jamie answered questions from Jamaica Plain News about Donkey Beach, sunglasses and the company's launch party.

Q: Why is your company called Donkey Beach Gear? Are there donkeys on Donkey Beach?

Steinfeld: We named our company after a beach we found in St. Lucia. It was secluded and hard to find, but once we stumbled upon it we spent hours there just the two of us. There weren't any donkeys on the beach, but I bet there used to be and that's where the name came from! It was one of the most beautiful, untouched beaches we've ever seen.

Q: You and your husband are Donkey Beach Gear -- and you met in elementary school?

Steinfeld: We grew up on the same street back in our hometown of Dobbs Ferry, New York. We went to school together from elementary through high school. We didn't start dating until after college and we got married in 2017. We actually got married at the Loring-Greenough House in JP. We started talking about DBG as an idea in 2016 and we just launched in the beginning of 2019.

Q: What does Donkey Beach Gear sell?

Steinfeld: Our first product is a line of sunglasses called The Rozzie, named after my mom, Roslyn. We have five styles in this first collection. We also make and sell clothing. We've started with a line of shirts.

Donkey Beach Gear sunglasses are protective from the sun and fashionable.

Q: Where are your materials sourced?

Steinfeld: Our shirts come from various sources, mostly USA-made. I create the designs for the shirts and print them by hand from our JP home. Our sunglasses are manufactured in China.

Q: Where can someone buy Donkey Beach Gear products?

Steinfeld: Right now we sell our products directly from our website. We will be at Levitate Music Festival in Marshfield on July 13 and 14. We will also be at the JP Flea Market on July 20 at the Eliot School. We're always interested in opportunities for pop-up retail shops in the Boston area. We hope to set up shop at some local farmers markets this summer and next fall.

Q: You have a unique pair of sunglasses called the Rozzie -- what makes them unique? And you live in Jamaica Plain, but your first pair of sunglasses are called Rozzie -- how come?

Steinfeld: The Rozzie sunglasses are unique, functional and fashionable. We wanted to create a pair of shades that was protective from the sun and also a fashion statement. The frames are made of TR-90, which is a high end, durable, stress-resistant and lightweight material. They bend, but don't break. The lenses are all polarized, which reduces glare and harmful effects from UV light. The anti-reflective coating adds an extra layer of protection against blinding light and further reduces glare. And the foldable shields are perforated blinders that block side sun for extra protection and a unique look. They are called the Rozzie because we named them after my mom, Roslyn.

Jamie Steinfeld creates Donkey Beach Gear designs for the company's shirts and print them by hand from her JP home.

Q: What did you do before you started Donkey Beach Gear?

Steinfeld: We both still work full-time outside of DBG. Mike works for a technology company in the Seaport and I work for a non-profit in Newton. The combination of Mike's business experience, entrepreneurship and education from Babson College and my background in art and design helped bring Donkey Beach Gear to life.

Q: You're have a launch party on June 22 -- is it open to the public? How do you RSVP?

Steinfeld: We're having a launch party on June 22. It is being held at our home in JP. You can RSVP on our Facebook page. A message will be sent to everyone who RSVP's online with the final details and address.

Q: What else would you like someone to know about Donkey Beach Gear? 

Steinfeld: We really love our sunglasses and have fun designing our shirts. We hope that people will love them too! We are aware that the price of our Rozzie sunglasses are on the higher-end ($90-99), but they are made of quality materials, extremely well made and provide exceptional sun protection. They are a pair of shades you'll have for years to come. The Rozzie sunglasses are great for the beach, the mountain and just walking around town.