Warby Parker

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JAND Inc.
Warby Parker
Private
Industry Eyewear
Founded 2010; 7 years ago (2010)
Philadelphia, U.S.
Founder David Gilboa, Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, Jeffrey Raider
Headquarters New York City, New York, U.S.
Number of locations
44
Area served
United States, Canada
Products Prescription Eyeglasses, Sunglasses
Website warbyparker.com
The "Beckett" glasses from Warby Parker

Warby Parker is an American brand of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses founded in 2010. Warby Parker sells online and has a limited number of showrooms in the United States 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] As of April 2015, the company was valued at $1.2 billion.[10]

Retail model[edit]

The company primarily sells eyewear online and through its New York City headquarters. It also maintains a limited 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.[11]

As of 2016, Warby Parker operates around 30 locations in 16 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.[12]

Products[edit]

Warby Parker designs glasses in-house and sells directly to customers.[11] As of 2012, frames typically cost around $95.[13]

The company's frames have been praised by ELLE,[14] Esquire,[15] Vogue,[1] GQ,[16] and others.

In addition to eyeglasses and sunglasses, Warby Parker sells monocles, which are available with prescription lenses.[17]

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. 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.[18] In June 2014, Warby Parker announced that it had distributed 1,000,000 pairs of eyeglasses to people in need.[19] The company also claims to be 100% carbon neutral.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 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 2016-07-29. 
  4. ^ a b Corbyn, Zoë (September 24, 2012). "Take one start-up, add expertise and grow with care". The Financial Times. Retrieved 20 June 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. ^ a b Mitroff, Sarah (September 12, 2012), "With $37M, Warby Parker Sets Its Sights on More Than Just Eyeglasses", Wired.com 
  12. ^ Del Ray, Jason, "An Unlikely Startup Enters the Point-of-Sale Business: Warby Parker", All Things D 
  13. ^ Pack, Amy. (June 11, 2012), "Warby Parker's Vision for Growth", CNBC 
  14. ^ Levinson, Lauren (October 15, 2012), "Sophia Bush Poses for Warby Parker x Pencilse of Promise", Elle.com 
  15. ^ Soller, Kurt (April 20, 2012), "Exclusive: Warby Parker Launching Prescription Shades", Esquire 
  16. ^ Sebra, Matthew (February 12, 2013), "Exclusive First Look: Warby Parker's Hayworth Collection", GQ.com 
  17. ^ Redick, Scott. (May 16, 2012), "When Big Ideas Come From Small Companies", AdAge 
  18. ^ Gerber, Monica (December 22, 2011). "Warby Parker may have a better 'buy one, give one' model". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  19. ^ Chokkattu, Julian (June 25, 2014), "Warby Parker Hits One Million Glasses Sold, Distributed", TechCrunch 
  20. ^ Zelman, Josh (February 24, 2012), "In Focus: Warby Parker Eyewear", TechCrunch 

External links[edit]