Warby Parker

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JAND, Inc.
Warby Parker
Private
Industry Retail
Founded 2010; 8 years ago (2010) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Founders
  • Jeffrey Raider
  • Andrew Hunt
  • Neil Blumenthal
  • David Gilboa
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Key people

Neil Blumenthal (Co-CEO)

David Gilboa (Co-CEO)
Website www.warbyparker.com
The "Beckett" glasses from Warby Parker

JAND, Inc., doing business as Warby Parker, is an American online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses, based in New York City.[1] Warby Parker primarily sells products through their website, but also feature retail locations in the U.S. and Canada.

History[edit]

The company was founded in 2010 in Philadelphia by Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider,[1] and is headquartered in New York City. The name "Warby Parker" derives from two characters that appear in a journal by author Jack Kerouac.[2] The company's official corporate name is JAND Inc. and "Warby Parker" is the company's trade name.[3]

The company was started in the Venture Initiation Program of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where the founders all studied.[4] The company received $2,500 seed investment through the program and launched in February 2010.[4] Shortly after launching, the company was covered by Vogue.com.[1] In May 2011, Warby Parker raised its first round of funding totaling $2.5 million. In September 2011, the company raised a Series A round of $12.5 million.[5] In Fall 2012, it raised a $37 million Series B round,[6] with an additional $4 million announced in February 2013 with noted investors American Express and Mickey Drexler.[7] In 2011, Warby Parker shipped more than 100,000 pairs of glasses and had 60 employees.[8] By the end of 2012, the company grew to around 100 employees.[9][non-primary source needed] As of April 2015, the company was valued at $1.2 billion.[10]

In 2016, the company announced plans to create an optical lab in Rockland County, New York to create and manufacture their glasses in-house instead of paying external manufactuers. The space would be a 34,000-square-foot and would employ 130 staff. The company would be investing $16 million to create the production facility.[11] The optical lab was opened in 2017.[12]

On March 14, 2018, Warby Parker raised $75 million in Series E funding, making its total funding about $300 million.[13]

Retail model[edit]

The company primarily sells eyewear online and through its New York City headquarters. It also maintains a number of showrooms in boutiques elsewhere in the United States. Warby Parker's "Home-Try-On program" allows customers to choose five frames from the website, which they receive to try on at home for five days, free of charge. Customers can also upload a photo and try on frames virtually.[14]

As of 2017, Warby Parker operates around 71 locations in 28 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., along with two stores in Toronto. Following the opening of its retail stores, the company announced the company's intention to build its own point of sale (POS) system. One feature planned for the system is to charge the customer when their product is shipped, instead of when it is first ordered in-store.[15]

Products[edit]

Warby Parker designs glasses in-house and sells directly to customers.[14] In addition to eyeglasses and sunglasses, Warby Parker sells monocles, which are available with prescription lenses.[16]

The company's frames have been featured in ELLE,[17] Esquire,[18] Vogue,[1] and GQ.[19]

Donation program[edit]

Warby Parker uses a "buy one, give one" model, where for each pair of glasses purchased, the company pays for the production of another pair of eyeglasses for the non-profit organization VisionSpring.[20] VisionSpring in turn sells the glasses to consumers or companies in developing countries as a way to encourage entrepreneurship. According to the Christian Science Monitor, this model provides positive marketing for the company, and the use of VisionSpring as an intermediary company may address some of the criticisms that have been leveled at Toms Shoes, which uses a similar model.[21] In June 2014, Warby Parker announced that it had distributed 1,000,000 pairs of eyeglasses to people in need.[22] The company also claims to be 100% carbon neutral.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Bahrenburg, Genevieve (February 22, 2010), "In Focus: Warby Parker Eyewear", Vogue 
  2. ^ "Warby Parker Co-Founder Says Initial Vision Was All About Price", The Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2012 
  3. ^ "How did Warby Parker get the name "Warby Parker?" – OpticalOwl". OpticalOwl.com. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Corbyn, Zoë (September 24, 2012). "Take one start-up, add expertise and grow with care". The Financial Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ McMhana, Ty (September 22, 2011), "Stylish Eyewear Maker Warby Parker Tries on $12M In Funding", WSJ.com 
  6. ^ Primack, Dan (September 9, 2012), "Warby Parker raises $37 million", CNN Money 
  7. ^ de la Merced, Michael J. (February 24, 2012), "J.Crew Chief and American Express Invest in Warby Parker", The New York Times 
  8. ^ "At Warby Parker, the power of branding is easy to see", Gigaom, March 26, 2012 
  9. ^ The 2012 Warby Parker Annual Report 
  10. ^ Douglas MacMillan (April 20, 2015). "Eyeglass Retailer Warby Parker Valued at $1.2 Billion". Wall Street Journal. 
  11. ^ "Warby Parker is opening an enormous new optical lab in Rockland County". Fast Company. June 27, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2018. 
  12. ^ Juang, Mike (June 6, 2017). "Sloatsburg, NY, town of around 3,000, offers a peek at the future of eyeglasses". CNBC. Retrieved January 9, 2018. 
  13. ^ Thomas, Lauren (March 14, 2018). "Warby Parker raises $75 million in latest round of funding". CNBC. Retrieved March 16, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b Mitroff, Sarah (September 12, 2012), "With $37M, Warby Parker Sets Its Sights on More Than Just Eyeglasses", Wired.com 
  15. ^ Del Ray, Jason, "An Unlikely Startup Enters the Point-of-Sale Business: Warby Parker", All Things D 
  16. ^ Redick, Scott. (May 16, 2012), "When Big Ideas Come From Small Companies", AdAge 
  17. ^ Levinson, Lauren (October 15, 2012), "Sophia Bush Poses for Warby Parker x Pencilse of Promise", Elle.com 
  18. ^ Soller, Kurt (April 20, 2012), "Exclusive: Warby Parker Launching Prescription Shades", Esquire 
  19. ^ Sebra, Matthew (February 12, 2013), "Exclusive First Look: Warby Parker's Hayworth Collection", GQ.com 
  20. ^ Fitzgerald, Michael (February 10, 2015). "For Warby Parker, Free Glasses Equals Clear Company Vision". Entrepreneur. Retrieved January 5, 2018. 
  21. ^ Gerber, Monica (December 22, 2011). "Warby Parker may have a better 'buy one, give one' model". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  22. ^ Chokkattu, Julian (June 25, 2014), "Warby Parker Hits One Million Glasses Sold, Distributed", TechCrunch 
  23. ^ Zelman, Josh (February 24, 2012), "In Focus: Warby Parker Eyewear", TechCrunch 

External links[edit]