Portraits in the Park - tyler, 2011
I got to sit and chat about glasses with Neil Blumenthal for several hours at the Warby Parker Brunch.
This might sound boring, but it was incredibly interesting… even to someone that doesn’t need glasses.
Here is what I learned about the glasses industry and Warby Parker.
1. Glasses cost almost nothing to physically make and there is a huge, ridiculous markup on most glasses.
2. Two companies basically control the entire market along with eyesight insurance and the stores selling the glasses. You think Pearl is different from Lenscrafters? It’s not. The same people own them both, and the same thing goes for almost all the major brands of frames etc.
3. Warby Parker was founded to not only make money, but to also help fund a nonprofit that Neil worked at before going back to business school. They are set up so that when you buy a pair of glasses, someone in a third world country gets a pair of glasses.
4. Warby Parker was named after two Jack Kerouac characters from some of his unfinished and unpublished work.
5. Warby Parker will send you glasses to try on for free. My biggest problem with most online sales has always been, and will always be the customer’s inability to actually try out or on the product. I don’t like buying shoes without trying them on first. I don’t like trying on pants without trying them on first. I don’t like buying a phone without holding it in my hand first. But these guys have figured that out. They will send you 5 glasses to try on for free- no shipping hand handling, nothing. If every company did this, I might start buying things online. Besides undercutting their competition by hundreds of dollars, having a humanitarian and philanthropic business plan, and cool glasses, I see this as the #1 most genius thing they are doing… well… besides buying me 3 bloody marys and a hamburger.