From the DDDepths
In September 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. APO’s manufacturing and marketing evolved from a demand for quick turnaround promotional specialty optics. Today, with a staff of 44 employees, APO manufactures more than 14 different types of specialty paper 3D glasses in an unlimited number of 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 one and a half billion 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. In September 2010, Inc. 500 Magazine ranked American Paper Optics number 1,316 on its list of the top 5,000 fastest growing private companies.
A DDDeep History
With over 12,000 active customers throughout the world, the colossal numbers of 3D glasses produced include 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 1996, APO built a 13,000 square foot manufacturing and office facility in Bartlett, Tennessee. The new manufacturing facility had a complete line of gluing, folding and die-cutting machinery, making APO the only vertically-integrated company in the market. These complete, in-house production capabilities provided APO with a key competitive advantage to execute quickly on large-scale projects. The new facility was instrumental in the Company winning several large, high-profile orders.
In the summer of 1997, APO produced 20 million 3D glasses for Televisa, a major Mexican 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 followed by another seven million Eclipsers for Africa’s June 2001 eclipse. Later that same year, APO successfully produced and distributed a 10 million-piece decoder order for a web sweepstakes promotion.
Using our exclusive HoloSpex™ lenses, APO introduced a retail phenomenon into the mainstream marketplace with Holiday Specs and Happy Eyes 3D glasses. Over 12 million glasses in this highly successful line have sold in a variety of stores ranging from seasonal specialty stores to major retailers. This same HoloSpex™ lens technology has been successfully implemented countless times in the marketing, promotional and entertainment sectors.
In 1999, APO acquired DayShades USA, a long-time Denver-based competitor. After an eight year history of manufacturing ChromaDepth® 3D glasses, APO acquired the technology and assets of Chromatek Inc. in 2002, adding another patented technology to our list of exclusive 3D products. APO now owned the exclusive license for the ChromaDepth® technology as well as the manufacturing equipment for the proprietary optics. With a long and proven track record for high quality products, competent customer service and fast turnaround, APO was poised to take ChromaDepth® 3D glasses into the Third Dimension. Since then, ChromaDepth has been used in a multitude of business segments including marketing, entertainment, publishing and toys. In the area of toys, Crayola successfully marketed ChromaDepth glasses with their ever-popular and award winning 3D sidewalk chalk, sidewalk paint and Color-Explosion markers.
In 2000, APO continued its successful track record by producing six million 3D glasses for the Discovery Channel’s successful “3D Shark Week. Later in the same year, APO acquired The Added Dimension, a patented line of stereoscopic viewing devices. This acquisition gave APO one more product in an already extensive array of 3D options for its clients.
Three years later in 2003, APO signed an agreement for the exclusive rights to manufacture ColorCode 3D glasses. This turned out to be a key move for APO as ColorCode was used in several multi-million glasses projects including one of the largest marketing campaigns in history. This project involved the manufacturing of 134 million ColorCode 3D paper glasses in 90 days to be used with a 2009 Super Bowl commercial promoting the animated movie “Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D” and an episode of the Emmy Award winning television show “Chuck”.
Immediately after the completion of the Super Bowl project, APO manufactured 16 million ColorCode 3D magazine inserts for Time, Inc. to be included in their March 2009 issues of Time, Fortune, People, Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated magazines. The popularity of ColorCode has continued with APO manufacturing 10 million paper 3D glasses in 2009 for a Channel 4 television broadcast in the United Kingdom, followed by back to back two million glasses promotions in 2010 for V.M.M., a Belgium cable company, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
In 2006, APO continued its dominance in the 3D world by manufacturing over seven million Anaglyph 3D glasses for the hit TV show Medium and in 2007, APO manufactured 6.5 million Anaglyph 3D glasses for Sports Illustrated’s popular swimsuit edition. As if we were not busy enough, that same year we received what was at that time the largest order in APO’s history. This order was for 130 million McDonald’s Happy Meal toys using our exclusive HoloSpex lenses. These enormous projects continued in 2008 when APO manufactured over 40 million Anaglyph 3D glasses for the television broadcast of the 3D Hannah Montana concert movie and DVD.
By June 2009 the business had outgrown its current space and therefore moved into a state of the art manufacturing plant. The new facility, which more than doubled our size to 27,500 square feet, accommodated our needs and allowed for continued growth and expansion. The move occurred just in time to add equipment required for the manufacturing of over 60 million 3D glasses using multiple lens technologies to be included in DVDs and Blu-rays for the hit titles “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, “Monsters vs. Aliens”, “Jonas Brothers 3D”, “Coraline”, “My Bloody Valentine” and “Final Destination”.
2010 has proven to be a busy year for APO beginning in January when we manufactured 14 million Anaglyph 3D glasses in less than three weeks for a 3D Michael Jackson tribute during the CBS production of the Grammy Awards. In April and May, APO manufactured over four million Anaglyph newspaper inserts for The Sun’s World Cup promotion in the United Kingdom. APO also provided 4.5 million ChromaDepth newspaper inserts for a Verizon advertisement that was distributed in 11 major U.S. newspapers including the L.A. Times, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Houston Chronicle. Subsequently, APO produced millions upon millions of 3D magazine inserts for large promotions in multiple magazines including Maxim and GQ.
A DDDominating Vision
Our amazing 20 year optical journey at American Paper Optics has lead us to continue to search for new opportunities, create new 3D configurations, and push technologies to allow us to continue to serve this 3D world at its most exciting time. Our knowledge, experience, in-house manufacturing, distribution channels, and focus on customer service will continue to allow us to service all our clients both old and new as they look to push the depth of their advertising and marketing promotions. We are dddeeply committed to helping you as we strive to produce our 2nd billionth glass and beyond. Our goal is “3D for all and all for 3D”.