Hall Of Fame: Warby Parker

It’s time to highlight with you a company that I talk about all the time, Warby Parker. More than talk about them, I’m a big customer. I’ve bought a pair for myself and three pairs as gifts. They are a New York-based startup so they get a lot of love from the local community, their office and showroom also happens to be located in the Puck Building, the same place as the main offices for NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, a place I’m often stopping by to see a professor. Direct from them:

Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point. A collaboration between four close friends, Warby Parker was conceived as an alternative to the overpriced and bland eyewear available today. Prescription eyewear simply should not cost $300+. The industry is controlled by a few large companies that have kept prices artificially high, reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options. By circumventing traditional channels and engaging with customers directly through our website, Warby Parker is able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the price. We meticulously crafted our first collection of 27 limited run styles, plus one monocle, using the finest custom acetates and materials. The Warby Parker aesthetic is vintage-inspired with a contemporary twist. Every pair is custom fit with anti-reflective, polycarbonate prescription lenses.

Available exclusively through our website and showrooms, our glasses retail for $95.

Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses. This means that 15% of the global population cannot effectively learn or work – a problem that Warby Parker is determined to address. We’ve partnered with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.

We believe that everyone has the right to see.

I’ve worn glasses since I was 5. I connect 100% with what they say and their story. I’ve paid huge amounts for glasses my whole life because that is just what you did to have stylish glasses, which is important if yo’re wearing them daily – especially if you’re a kid. From a price standpoint, it couldn’t be easier. $95. All glasses plus prescriptions. Well my script costs a little more but trust me, it’s worth it.

The technology is also fantastic. If you can’t make it into the showroom, on the website you can upload an image of your face and try-on glasses. You can also order three pairs to be delivered to you at home to try and a you’re only charged for the ones you keep. That is revolutionary! It’s so hard to buy glasses online but Warby Parker makes is easy.

Then there is the one for one. Buy a pair, give a pair. It’s exactly what we (the consumer) want from a company today. Startup or not. I want to shop but I also want to give back. I want to combine the things I love. I want to love the culture (or the idea of culture) from the companies I buy from. We see that from TOMS and Zappos. It’s a culture-thing. So if you’re starting a company today and you’re not thinking about how to bake in cause from the very beginning and you’re not creating a culture that people want to be associated with, you’re missing out.

I’ve gotten to spend time with some of the Warby Parker crew, I’ve been to their “circus” at SXSW. I’ve gone tothe showroom and I’ve bought their glasses. I’ve read their annual report. I couldn’t love them more which is why I’m thrilled to name them to my Hall of Fame.

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