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Taylor, Brooks and Tanner Dame

Brothers turn idea into fashion statement with Proof

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Nothing says you've reached a certain level of success like a giant check. It's something the crew from Proof wasn't taking for granted as they posed for pictures with the giant check they were preparing to present to an eye clinic in India.

The donation--and subsequent creation of an eye clinic in rural India named after the Boise-based company--is just the latest gold star for the family business that has gone from an actual garage to celebrity endorsements in just a few years.

"It helps that we have such a unique product," said Taylor Dame, who, along with brothers Brooks and Tanner, started making the wood-framed sunglasses that are quickly earning a devoted following.

The stylish wooden frames have been photographed balancing on the noses of celebrities like Beyonce and Snoop Lion, giving the fledgling company cred in a competitive fashion industry.

It's a long way from the Dame family's Fruitland sawmill, where the three brothers spent their summers working. But that background in wood products served as the catalyst for what they hope to build into an eco-friendly fashion brand.

Proof (iwantproof.com) offers three lines of glasses: the Wood, Eco and Skate collections. As it sounds, the Wood collection uses woods, including lacewood, ebony and mahogany, while the Eco collection is made from both wood and an acetate made from biodegradable cotton cellulose. The Skate line is made from repurposed skateboard decks.

"We try to keep everything eco-friendly," Dame said, adding that a portion of proceeds is earmarked for eye care in India.

Proof really hit its stride after being selected for the ABC television show Shark Tank, in which entrepreneurs pitch their companies to high-profile potential investors. While Proof ultimately turned down offers for investment capital, the national exposure boosted sales threefold and crashed Proof's website the day the show aired.

The company retails its glasses for between $90 and $130, and has expanded its product line to include wood wallets and Zippo-style lighters. While its website--iwantproof.com--has been a mainstay of the business, Proof is opening a retail location in BODO in August 2013.

Word of mouth has still been Proof's best tool. And while it's nice to have celebrities sporting their wares, Dame said they're putting their faith in the product.

"We want it to be organic," he said. "We want these people to wear it because they want to."