I bought new eyeglasses at Warby Parker, which I read about in a NYT article about disrupting the eyeglass market. It is interesting story, one of the founders was on a backpacking trip and he lost his eyeglasses. Too expensive to replace while abroad, he squinted for the remainder of the trip. When he returned, he started this company with some other folks who had similar situations. The name comes from the co-founder visiting a New York Public Library exhibit, about Jack Kerouac, and was inspired by a manuscript with two characters with interesting names: Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker. The combination became Warby Parker. I like saying it too, Warby Parker.
If that wasn’t enough to resonate with me, they are a B-Corp, which is a great status marker on environmental friendly production methods. Finally, instead of the slack-activism that you see at Toms shoes… where you buy a pair of shoes and they give it to someone in Africa who needs shoes. This eyeglasses company, trains people to give eye exams and that person sells the eyeglasses in their communities, helping to break the cycle of poverty instead of giving away free eyeglasses. I love their business model. I love the idea of a for profit company solving issues in new ways.
After visiting the website, I probably would not have visited the store if I were not so intrigued by the NYT article. I probably would have walked by the store in Hayes Valley in San Francisco, thinking the contents inside were too expensive, like those designer stores I have walked by in Soho, New York. It looked too hipster, using a renovated bright blue garage as the door. I might have walked out after I walked in too, with the styles on the walls looking too trendy for me. But, I was on a mission and tried on a dozen frames at my leisure, narrowing the choices down to two models, Seymour and Nash. I asked the sales person for his opinion. He said Nash looked too big for my face. I then tried on tortoise and sage of the Seymour model and he said tortoise looked too bold. Sage Seymour, it is, then I gave them my prescription, $95 and in 10 days will receive a new pair of eyeglasses in the mail. From start to finish, the process was less than 30 minutes. Now, when I am in the woods and lose my eyeglasses, I will have a spare to drive home.