As someone who has been wearing glasses for the better part of his adult life, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a new company called Warby Parker founded by Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal. The now 20-month old company, which has already sold more than 50,000 frames, is profitable and has managed to raise $1.5 million, does three things really right.
First, the company provides a good selection of styles. If you wear glasses, you know that part of finding good glasses is being able to combine fit with a decent visual aesthetic. Second, the company makes it easy to create your own “in-store” experience with its Home Try-On service that allows you to select up to 5 pairs of glasses that will be shipped to your home.
Lastly, the company delivers on what it says – no small feat these days. Having tried out the service, I was surprised at how easy the home delivery process was. The selected glasses arrived in a nicely packaged box and case with easy-to-understand instructions on what to do when dropping the box back off at any UPS store. I was also impressed with the quality of the frames. They didn’t seem cheap, given that they all cost only $95 with prescription, and fit well.
Overall, Warby Parker is a refreshing reminder that great ideas can be successful regardless of the how the economy is doing. And while 50,000 frames is not yet a huge dent in the $16 billion optical industry, it is also a reminder that that web still has a vast amount of untapped potential in disrupting traditional business models.