Warby Parker – Glasses with Big Style, Small Pricetag

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

Glasses: something a lot of us need, regardless of dancing. But dancers need stylish eye-wear and that can be hard to come by when glasses cost…well, I don’t remember how much my glasses cost because I bought them several years ago and nearly choked at the price tag. Shelling out for that fun pair of green frames or the vintage cat-eye frames doesn’t work for some professions, so I usually end up with a practical pair of glasses. If only I could have the work pair and the play pair and not break the bank!

Enter Warby Parker. The price for all of their glasses is $95 and this includes the frames, the lenses, shipping, and returns. They allow you to select up to five pairs of glasses to try on in the convenience of your own home, with free shipping to and from your house. The website also has a feature where you can upload a photo of yourself and virtually try on each pair (which helps in narrowing down which 5 you want them to send to you in person!).

How do they do it? Why are these glasses not $300 a pop? Here’s what the owners have to say about their business model:

“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 our customers directly through our website, Warby Parker is able to provide higher-quality, better looking prescription eyewear for under $100.

We meticulously crafted our first collection of 27 limited run styles, plus one monocle, using only the finest custom acetates and materials. The Warby Parker aesthetic is vintage-inspired, with a fashion forward twist – and every pair is custom fit with anti-reflective, polycarbonate prescription lenses.

Most high-end fashion house brands don’t design or produce their own eyewear. They sell those rights to massive companies that do it all for them. These large companies design, manufacture and sell branded glasses for astronomical prices directly to optical shops and then pay fees to the fashion brands for using their name and logo. Then, optical shops mark up frames and lenses an additional 2-3 times before selling them to you.

This system doesn’t make any sense to us and it hurts you. We are very different in two ways:

We Create our Own Designs:
We’re independent. We don’t partner with licensing companies who control the market and keep prices high. We take great pride in designing our own eyewear and refuse to charge outrageous prices for our frames.

We Sell Directly to You:
Our web-based sales approach allows you to bypass the optical shops and the high prices they charge.”

I was sold at $95 and “vintage inspired” – unfortunately, when I went to order my five try-on pairs, all the glasses I selected were unavailable because of high demand; however, they did have a sign-up option to be notified when the glasses were available.

As if they didn’t have enough gold dust on their halo, “Warby Parker works with non-profit organizations, such as RestoringVision.org, to identify those in need and distribute eyeglasses responsibly. For every pair of glasses that we sell, we donate a pair through RestoringVision to someone in need.” This is a company with a conscience, on many levels.

Now, for the glasses! A lot of the styles are unisex and come in multiple colors. Here are my favorites from the website:

Colonel Monocle