|Founded||2010Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.in|
|Neil Blumenthal (Co-CEO) David Gilboa (Co-CEO)|
JAND, Inc., doing business as Warby Parker, is an American online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses, based in New York City. Warby Parker primarily sells products through its website, but also features retail locations in the U.S. and Canada.
The company was founded in 2010 in Philadelphia by Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider, and is headquartered in New York City. The name "Warby Parker" derives from two characters that appear in a journal by author Jack Kerouac. The company's official corporate name is JAND Inc. and "Warby Parker" is the company's trade name.
The company was started in the Venture Initiation Program of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where the founders all studied. The company received $2,500 seed investment through the program and launched in February 2010. Shortly after launching, the company was covered by Vogue.com. 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. In fall 2012, it raised a $37 million Series B round, with an additional $4 million announced in February 2013 with investors American Express and Mickey Drexler. In 2011, Warby Parker shipped more than 100,000 pairs of glasses and had 60 employees. By the end of 2012, the company had grown to around 100 employees.[non-primary source needed] As of April 2015, the company was valued at $1.2 billion.
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 manufacturers. 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. The optical lab was opened in 2017.
On March 14, 2018, Warby Parker raised $75 million in Series E funding, making its total funding about $300 million.
The company primarily sells eyewear online and through its multiple locations throughout the United States and Canada. 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.
Warby Parker began operating online exclusively in 2010 and opened its first store in 2013. As Warby Parker's revenue started to grow, the company began opening brick-and-mortar showrooms across the country to build its brand. It also expanded in 2015 with the brand's first national retail partnership with Nordstrom, which allowed the company to establish six precisely curated "pop-up" shops nationwide. The brand has been keen on partnerships and pop-ups ever since. As of 2017, Warby Parker operates around 71 locations in 28 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., according to Slice Intelligence, Washington DC is only the 21st largest market in the U.S., but has three Warby Parker stores, making it Warby Parker's fourth largest market, along with two stores in Toronto. According to CNBC, due to steady growth and the success of the physical storefronts, the company plans to operate nearly 100 stores across the U.S. by the end of 2018. 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.
Each of their stores focuses on a unique experience, for example, the Miami location is “designed to look like you're inside a pool,” the store is equipped with an overhead camera that allows the customer take photos and to try on the merchandise while it simulates the appearance of lounging at a pool. Another example of the company's in-store experiences provided for consumers is their “green room” at the Melrose Avenue location, which is the brand's fourth store in Los Angeles. This location features a green screen photo booth where customers can record their own video with props and try on glasses. The brand also utilizes social media interaction with customers with custom hashtags. Specifically, at the most recent store event, there was a location-specific Snapchat filter which both promotes the event and adds a sense of exclusivity for consumers who attended the event. By creating unique, entertaining and social media-friendly in-store "experiences," the brand can increase profitability and consumer-awareness.
Warby Parker designs their product in-house, and sell directly to consumers through their website, stores, and interactive showrooms. Most importantly, they order their own materials such as acetate from Italy and then manufacture frames at the same Chinese factories as their high-end competitors, like Luxottica. This manufacturing process enables Warby Parker to keep costs low, at less than $100 for lensed glasses, prices go as low as $95. The brand offers a line of eyewear at $95, $145, and the highest at $195 per pair. Warby Parker's pricing strategy drives consumers to purchase more than one pair. On average the Warby Parker consumer completes more than one order per year and buys an average of 1.5 units per order; this brand loyalty resonates highest with buyers between the ages of 25-34. In addition to eyeglasses and sunglasses, Warby Parker sells monocles, which are available with prescription lenses.
The founders of the company have made it clear Warby Parker sees itself as a fashion brand first. The company's frames have been featured and well received in fashion magazines such as ELLE, Esquire, Vogue, and GQ. According to co-founder, Dave Gilboa, it is the brand's idea that glasses should be an accessory the same way shoes or bags are accessories, he continues to explain that: “You should own multiple pairs and that they should fit them to your mood or your style. After all, they’re the only thing you wear on your face. What could be more expressive than that?” By lowering prices from an average of $500 for prescription glasses to $100 per frame, Warby Parker enables you to express yourself.
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. In June 2014, Warby Parker announced that it had distributed 1,000,000 pairs of eyeglasses to people in need. The company also claims to be 100% carbon neutral.
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