Warby Parker hit their Year 1 sales goals in their first three weeks of business. They went out of stock and had 20,000 people on a waiting list: a nice problem to have. “Nothing we’re doing is rocket science”, said Co-CEO Dave Gilboa. “They’re things that make sense for customers.”
The challenge: glasses are too expensive. Warby Parker’s solution: cut out the middle man. By going to the customer direct via online sales, Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal (the other co-CEO) reckoned they could sell $500 glasses for $45. Their Wharton College professor told them they were going too cheap and they eventually launched at $95/pair.
The key to selling glasses online was #warbyhometryon – giving customers 5 pairs to try at home, free of shipping charges. Whilst online has remained a key part of the Warby shopping experience, growth was subsequently driven by physical stores that turned buying glasses into a fun fashion experience – so successfully that their $ sales per square foot are second only to Apple.
Buy a Pair, Give a Pair: finally, with every pair of glasses bought, Warby Parker donates a pair to VisionSpring, a non-profit that trains low-income entrepreneurs to sell the glasses for affordable prices within their local communities: a fabulous extension of WB’s democratising mission.
What’s next? They’ve just opened their own optical lab in New York state, to take more control of the up stream end of the value chain.
Read more: Inc.com