Warby Parker – A Brand of Eyewear with a Purpose

April 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

Warby Parker is transforming the optical industry and creating a new model for how for-profit companies should act, thinking about the needs of all stakeholders including customers, employees, communities and the environment. Warby Parker is building a unique brand.

Warby Parker was founded by four MBA students at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. Warby Parker was conceived as an alternative to the overpriced eyewear available today. They figured out that it was less expensive to buy an iPhone than a pair of prescription glasses. They felt that prescription eyewear should not cost $300. The eyewear industry is controlled by a few dominant players who make incredible margins. Their idea was to develop an indie, antibrand with good prices and hip designs. They named the brand Warby Parker for the obscure Jack Kerouac characters Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker.


Warby Parker delivers on its promise by designing stylish frames using premium materials and offering them at a $95 price point including prescription lenses.  The company also has a “buy a pair, give a pair” program that helps low-income men and women start their own businesses selling affordable glasses and is one of the only carbon-neutral eyewear manufacturers. Warby Parker exists to demonstrate that you can be profitable and do good in the world without charging a premium.

This positioning has resonated with consumers. Today consumers will support brands that align to their values and are meaningful to them. As we saw with Tom’s Shoes, the giving back to society is important for brands.

The brand delivers a great user experience through an innovative Home Try-On program and a beautiful user-friendly site. Today most of Warby Parker’s business is done online. The brand has benefited from very positive word of mouth.

Warby Parker has excellent growth prospects. Mickey Drexler, CEO of J.Crew has invested in the company and is providing advice on expanding into retail. American Express has also invested in the company. Warby Parker is opening its first store in New York this week and has plans to open in Boston. Previously the brand has operated pop-up showrooms in partnership with other brands.

Warby Parker is a great example of a brand with an innovative product and a purpose to do good.

Have you heard of Warby Parker?



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