By now you’ve probably heard of Warby Parker. Personally I’m a little late to the party but I am in love with this company.
As someone who has worn glasses most of my life, excluding the five or six years where the LASIK remained en tact, finding the perfect pair of spectacles is a daunting task. First of all eyeglasses are so damn expensive that there’s an enormous amount of pressure to find a style that isn’t going to look dated in the next seven years.
Last October 60 Minutes ran a segment called “Sticker Shock” which profiled an Italian company, Luxottica Group, that holds a tight grasp on the eyewear/vision market. It’s revealed that this otherwise little known company owns the brands Oakley, Ray Ban, Oliver Peoples and licenses eye wear under such brands as Coach, Versace, Prada, Ralph Lauren and… well, the list goes on. Basically, if you are wearing glasses at this very moment there’s a 95% chance they are Luxottica. It is also worth noting that in addition to eyewear Luxottica also owns retail outlets Pearl Vision, LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Target optical, SEARS optical… and that list goes on as well.
Enter Warby Parker–an independently owned boutique eyeglass company founded right here in these United States.
Initially started as an online e-tailer of custom designed frames, Warby Parker now has a handful of retail stores in major metropolitan cities including Seattle, New York and Boston.
From the Warby Parker website:
A collaboration between four close friends, Warby Parker was conceived as an alternative to the overpriced and bland eyewear available today. Prescription eyewear simply should not cost $300+. The industry is controlled by a few large companies that have kept prices artificially high, reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options. By circumventing traditional channels and engaging with customers directly through our website, Warby Parker is able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the price.
A fraction of the price is a really, really modest way of putting it. My last frames, with lenses, cost nearly $500. $500!!!
WP has two prices for all of their frames. $95 for their acetate frames and $145 for their titanium frames. This price includes tax, lenses and shipping (if you wish to have your frames delivered to your home). I was charged exactly $95 for my new glasses. Amazing.
Anytime I’ve gone eye glass shopping I try on 30-40 pairs and maybe one or two are acceptable. When I walked into Warby Parker I could have easily chosen from over ten styles that I LOVED. I have a tiny little head so often times mens styles are just too damn big. Many, if not most, of WP’s glasses are gender neutral evoking classic lines and proportions.
I went with the Wiloughby in revolver black.
My information was taken and the transaction was conducted with little fanfare using a wireless device of sorts. The receipt was emailed to me and I was told that I could expect my glasses in the mail between 7-10 days. (You also have the option of picking them up in the store if you think further fitting may be required.)
While chatting with Lindsey, the delightful and charming person that assisted me with my purchase, she managed to somehow make me love this company even more. She explained that for every pair of glasses sold Warby Parker gives a pair of glasses to someone in need. More information on this here.
Stylish, affordable AND philanthropic!
I mentioned that I wrote a blog and in just moments I was invited to a soirée to preview Warby Parker’s latest collection of aviator style sunglasses, named “Meridian”.
Seriously, could this get any better?
The last bloggerish event I went to went something like this (worth reading). [I am sad to report that nothing so dramatic happened on this excursion–but I did finally get that Rickshaw bag.]
Because I have no life I was the first to arrive. But that’s OK, I got the chance to chat up almost the entire Warby Parker staff including the equally charming Sam who was visiting from the NYC location.
Maybe it was the sparkling white wine, but I suddenly felt like I was written into an episode of HBO’s Girls. I mean this in the best possible way, because to be honest I fucking can’t stand that show. Allow me to backtrack… scratch Girls. Or rewrite it to at least replace Lena Dunhum with the savvy, courteous and tenacious Warby Parkers.
I spoke with a few other bloggers, but I was mostly just curious about Warby Parker, and of course their new aviator inspired collection.
I tried the Meridian collection out, but this is a tough shape for my face. They are very comfortable, light on the face, yet solid. I think they did a fantastic job articulating this classic frame into something that is exclusively Warby Parker.
I am definitely a customer for life. The customer service is amazing… they even expedited my order after discovering one of my tweets “hope these [photo of glasses] come before I leave for NYC”. Who else would do that? I’m happy to say that I was able to literally (and figuratively?) view New York through the lens of Warby Parker.
Anyway–I’ll stop gushing now.
You can find a Warby Parker location here.