Retail Pioneers: Warby Parker Rx glasses are charitable, cost-efficient and cool
Remember the 1980s? Or the 1990s? I definitely do. I remember growing up with glasses was definitely not cool. My first pair of glasses were these ugly thick rimmed fuschia glasses that my mom had to pay “way too much money for” and I hated them. Fast forward almost 20 years later, we have contact lenses, Lasik eye surgery and new social entrepreneurs like Warby Parker who make wearing glasses ultra cool, and affordable.
Warby Parker was founded in 2010 by four American innovators who had met while attending The Wharton School, with the notion of creating a brand that was built upon good business and creative inspiration. Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffery Raider put their heads together and formed the name Warby Parker, inspired by characters from Jack Kerouac’s journals.
So what’s the fuss about and what makes these glasses different than other prescription eyeglasses? Warby Parker eyeglasses and sunglasses are designed in store, with the cost of $95 USD per pair, include the cost of prescription lenses and have a unique “five days, five pairs” policy where they can have five days to try their new glasses.
About the glasses: There are currently 27 styles of 100% carbon-neutral eyeglasses, sunglasses and 1 monocle designed for both men and women. To shop online or check out the Spring 2014 collection please visit: www.warbyparker.com/spring-collection-2014.
Glasses are named after legendary literary greats, and a portion of proceeds go to VisionSpring, a non-profit that helps produce and distribute low cost eyeglasses in India and El Salvador. For more information on VisionSpring check out their story here: http://visionspring.org.
There are limited retail flagship locations in the United States: Retail stores are located in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston as well as showrooms in Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Miami Beach, Chicago, Richmond, Nashville, Charleston and more.
In addition to building a company that is focused on doing good, great design, being environmentally responsible, Warby Parker is also dedicated to creating and maintaining a cool corporate culture. Every new employee receives a custom care package (how awesome!):
- Free pair of Warby Parker glasses (whether they need prescription glasses or not)
- Copy of The Dharma Bums (Jack Kerouac’s semi-fictional novel about the days after the On the Road adventures)
- Gift certificate to a Thai restaurant of their choice (the cuisine of choice during the founders’ start up days)
To date, Warby Parker has distributed over 500,000 glasses to individuals in need. To find out more, check out the video from the founders, Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, below:
As a huge Jack Kerouac fan, and spectacles wearer- I highly recommend checking out Warby Parker’s collection! If you live in Los Angeles or New York and you know of anyone who needs a new pair of glasses, or just looking to update their look, please go visit their stores- they are gorgeous too. My first visit to a Warby Parker was in 2013, when I went to the Soho flagship store in NYC with one of my best friends to help him pick out some new frames.
For more information, to shop online or to look up a store near you: http://www.warbyparker.com.