With a Jack Kerouac inspired name, Warby Parker possesses a vintage-inspired fashion sense, a strong global awareness and a desire to make the world a better place.
If Warby Parker were a person, he would be born out of the collective traits of creators Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, Jeffrey Raider, and David Gilboa. Like Kerouac, Warby Parker inspires a generation to see the world through a different lens.
The 3-year-old company is the latest trend with a “rebellious spirit” and aim to “create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point.” But the company, founded in 2010, not only focuses on trendy frames at affordable prices, it has a much bigger world vision as well.
For each pair of prescription glasses and sunglasses sold, Warby Parker donates money to nonprofits that offer affordable eyewear to those without access to glasses. This gift of sight can, “bring dignity, greater independence and a 20 percent increase in income potential,” according to the company’s website.
The website also features stories of people around the world whose lives have been changed by the 250,000 pairs of glasses distributed in 2012 alone.
As a social entrepreneurship major, Belmont sophomore Haley Harris has studied business practices like Warby Parker’s and was impressed with its mission.
“Their focus is on quality and a good product,” said Harris. “It’s a great mission, but they’re not just selling their mission, they’re offering a great quality product as well, which is a sustainable social entrepreneurship business practice.”
By cutting out the middleman, it is able to provide glasses that are higher quality at a fraction of the price, helping the company trend quickly with college students and young adults.
“I think the most important thing for us is being a conscious fashion and lifestyle brand, but the do-good part is also ingrained as well as the revolutionary price point,” said Lauren Collins, Warby Parker Customer Experience Associate.
Imogene+Willie, the trendy refinished service station on 12th south in Nashville features a wall of Warby Parker frames. With most of its glasses costing $95, including both frames and prescription lenses, its price point is a major contributor to their appeal.
“Being a college student, surviving on Easy-Mac, they’re super affordable, sturdy, and look just as nice as $300 Ray-Bans,” said sophomore, Alla Smilnak, who owns a pair herself.
The look is catching on quickly.
Based in Manhattan, the company has caught the eye of some big names and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and GQ.
But Warby Parker is only getting started. In the next few years, “we are definitely trying to expand audiences, create different products and different styles of glasses and just increase our brand recognition,” said Collins.
Warby Parker currently has 13 showrooms across the country including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Chicago, Miami, Charleston, and Nashville.
All frames are sold online where you can upload your picture to the virtual try on, and speak to an actual person to assist your customer service needs.
“At the core of our company, we believe customer service should be above and beyond, and we do whatever is necessary to give them the best experience possible,” said Collins.
If you’ve ever wondered how well you could pull off a pair of hipster frames, the company offers a free at home try-on. For the exchange of an email address, they will send you five pairs of glasses to wear around for five days and try out before making your selection.
“We hope your new glasses will provide all the style you need to travel your road with class,” says the company’s website, “and the price will leave you with some extra cash to use on your journey.”