Warby Parker

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JAND, Inc.
Warby Parker
Private
IndustryRetail
Founded2010; 9 years ago (2010) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Founders
  • Jeffrey Raider
  • Andrew Hunt
  • Neil Blumenthal
  • David Gilboa
Headquarters,
Key people
Neil Blumenthal (Co-CEO) David Gilboa (Co-CEO)
Websitewww.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 its website, but also features 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 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 had grown 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 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.[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 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.[14]

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,[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] By creating unique, entertaining and social media-friendly in-store "experiences," the brand can increase profitability and consumer-awareness.

Products[edit]

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.[19] 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.[15] In addition to eyeglasses and sunglasses, Warby Parker sells monocles, which are available with prescription lenses.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22] In June 2014, Warby Parker announced that it had distributed 1,000,000 pairs of eyeglasses to people in need.[23] The company also claims to be 100% carbon neutral.[24]

See also[edit]

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 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. ^ Mitroff, Sarah (September 12, 2012), "With $37M, Warby Parker Sets Its Sights on More Than Just Eyeglasses", Wired.com
  15. ^ a b "Warby Parker's pricing strategy has buyers seeing double". Rakuten Intelligence. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  16. ^ Thomas, Lauren (2018-02-15). "Warby Parker will soon operate nearly 100 stores and other Web retailers are following its lead". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  17. ^ Del Ray, Jason, "An Unlikely Startup Enters the Point-of-Sale Business: Warby Parker", All Things D
  18. ^ "Warby Parker Launches Its Biggest Store Experience Yet". Fashionista. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  19. ^ "Why 4 B-School Students Decided To Found Warby Parker". Disruption. 2016-05-17. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  20. ^ Redick, Scott. (May 16, 2012), "When Big Ideas Come From Small Companies", AdAge
  21. ^ Fitzgerald, Michael (February 10, 2015). "For Warby Parker, Free Glasses Equals Clear Company Vision". Entrepreneur. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  22. ^ Gerber, Monica (December 22, 2011). "Warby Parker may have a better 'buy one, give one' model". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  23. ^ Chokkattu, Julian (June 25, 2014), "Warby Parker Hits One Million Glasses Sold, Distributed", TechCrunch
  24. ^ Zelman, Josh (February 24, 2012), "In Focus: Warby Parker Eyewear", TechCrunch

External links[edit]