Warby Parker operates as an online and offline retailer of prescription glasses, seeking to provide a flexible, and accessible means for consumers to purchase high-quality, fashionable and reliable frames at affordable prices.
Warby Parker was founded in 2009 by Neil Blumenthal (“Blumenthal”), Andrew Hunt (“Hunt”), David Gilboa (“Gilboa”), and Jeffrey Raider (“Raider”), who had met during their rime as students at the Wharton School of Business. The Company is incorporated officially under the name JAND Inc, with its business name deriving from two characters named in a journal written by Jack Kerouac.
The Company its development under Wharton School’s Venture Initiation Program. The concept behind Warby Parker was created in response to a problem one of the Company’s founders had experienced. The story goes that as a student, one founder had lost his glasses on a backpacking trip, and could not afford to replace them, so instead spent an entire semester without glasses. Hunt, Gilboa, Raider, and Blumenthal subsequently decided to develop a more affordable alternative, circumventing traditional channel by designing frames in-house and working closely with customers.
Warby Parker began attracting investor funding in 2011, raising $12 million in its Series A round of funding from investors such as Tiger Global Management and Thrive Capital. To date, the Company has raised a total of more than $371 million in six rounds of funding, bringing on board investors including American Express, and General Catalyst Partners.
Warby Parker has used these funds to expand its operations, and is now able to compete with market leaders, operating an online retail channel and a network of physical retail outlet across the Us and Canada. Recent reports value the Company at around $1.2 billion.
Business model of Warby Parker
Warby Park operates as an online retailer, selling prescription glasses and sunglasses. The Company’s key customers are general consumers who wear prescription lenses. Within this demographic, however, the Company tends to attract younger, less affluent, but more tech savvy customers, who more attuned to making online purchases and typically cannot afford expensive designer frames.
Warby Parker currently operates exclusively in North America, with its domestic market of the US its principal sources of revenue. The Company also operates a similar service for customers in Canada. Warby Parker does not appear to have plans to expand its services to customers in Europe and Asia in the imminent future.
Warby Parker provides value to its customers in the following ways:
- The quality of its products, with the Company selling a range of range of well-made and reliable frames, offering a range of prescription and non-prescription lenses, including polarised polycarbonate lenses and high-index sun lenses;
- Its broad selection of frames, with the Company offering broad catalogue of frames for glasses and sunglasses, covering a range of styles for both men and women that are in line with current trends and fashions;
- Its affordable pricing structure, with the Company providing products at much lower prices than those offered by more traditional glasses retailers and big brand names, without sacrificing quality or style; and
- Its accessibility and flexibility, with the Company operating an online sales channel that is easy to navigate, and offering an at-home service that allows customers to have a number of frames delivered so that they are able to try them on at their leisure.
Warby Parker operates a website at www.warbyparker.com, through which it provides information on its products and services. The Company’s website also serves as its online portal, through which customers can browse frames by material, style and fit, as well as order at-home trials, enter prescription information and make purchases. Warby Parker also operates a mobile app for iOS users that provides much of the same functionality. The Company utilises the services of third-party delivery and distribution providers to deliver its online orders to customers
Additionally, Warby Parker operates a network of almost 40 physical retail outlets across 18 US states – including the District of Columbia – with stores in cities such as New York, Austin, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, New Orleans, and Miami, among others. The Company also operates a single retail outlet in Toronto, Canada. These outlets allow customers to try and purchase glasses directly.
Warby Parker operates a fully self-service online retail channel, and mobile channel, through which customers are able to register accounts, browse the Company’s catalogue of frames, provide prescription information, make purchases, and schedule deliveries without interacting with members of the Company’s sales team. Customers are also provided an at-home service that allows customers to try on several pairs of frames independently at home.
Additionally, Warby Parker operates a network of physical retail outlets across the US and Canada, where its specialist personnel are able to assist customers directly, providing personalised assistance in identifying suitable frames and appropriate lenses. The Company’s staff are also available to answer questions and respond to customer complaints in person. This degree of personal care encourages recurring business.
Warby Parker provides a suite of online support resources to its customers, including FAQs, delivery and shipping guides, information on lenses, and guidance on the Company’s returns and exchange policy. Customers are also able to contact members of the Company’s support staff over the phone, via email, or through an online chat service, in order to provide assistance tailored to their needs.
Customers are also able to interact directly with Warby Parker through its social media accounts, including with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.
Warby Parker, officially incorporated under the name JAND Inc, is engaged in the design, manufacture and sales of eyewear. The Company offers customers across the US and Canada a broad portfolio of glasses and sunglasses for men and women, in a variety of styles, materials, and sizes. Warby Parker also offers a range of prescription and non-prescription lenses to suit all needs.
The Company operates both an online sales channel and a number of physical retail outlets, comprising almost 40 stores in the US and a single retail outlet in Canada. This includes stores across most major US cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, and Seattle. Warby Parker offers a unique at-home service that enables customers to order several different frames that can be tried on at home free of charge.
Warby Parker works closely with a range of companies and organisations in order to deliver quality and efficient services to its customers. These partners can be categorised broadly as:
- Supplier and Vendor Partners, comprising suppliers of tools, technologies, and services that are utilised across the Company’s business to support and supplement its in-house capabilities and ensure the Company’s efficient operation;
- Manufacturing and Packaging Partners, comprising third-party contract manufacturers that assist the Company in producing its frames, as well as companies that assist in packaging the Company’s orders;
- Channel and Distribution Partners, comprising third party distribution and delivery service providers that assist the Company fulfilling its orders efficiently and timely;
- Marketing and Affiliate Partners, comprising a range of companies that assist in marketing the Company’s services, and a network of websites that drive traffic to the Company’s online retail channel in return for commissions on sales.
Warby Parker has previously partnered with Google to provide designs for the tech company’s Google Glass project. The Company also works closely with a number of non-profits on various charitable projects, including a scheme with New York City to provide free pairs glasses to schoolchildren.
Warby Parker’s key resources are its intellectual properties and designs, its portfolio of products and supply chain, its online portal, its IT and communications infrastructure, is chain of physical retail outlets, its partnerships, and its personnel.
Warby Parker owns and or leases a number of properties across the US, including its corporate headquarters, and its network of 38 retail outlets in the US, and a single retail outlet in Canada.
While the Company owns a number of intellectual properties that are material to its operations, searches of records published by the US Patent and trademark Office identified no patent applications filed in the name of Warby Parker or JAND Inc.
Warby Parker incurs cost in relation to the development and design of its products, the manufacture and distribution of its products – including the procurement of supplies, the development and maintenance of its online and mobile retail platforms, the maintenance of its IT and communications infrastructure, the operation of its physical retail outlets, the implementation of marketing and advertising campaigns, the management of its partnerships, and the retention of its personnel. The Company also incurs costs in relation to the payment of fees to various vendors and professional service providers.
Warby Parker generates revenue through the design, manufacture, and sale of glasses and sunglasses to customers across North America. The Company has two revenue streams:
- Revenue derived from the sale of prescription and on-prescription eyewear through its online and mobile channels; and
- Revenue derived from the sale of prescription and on-prescription eyewear through its network of physical retail outlets.
Warby Parker remains a privately-owned company, and as such dos not publish its financial results on its website. Reports suggest, however, that in 2015 the Company generated more than $100 million in annual revenue, up considerably on the $35 million recorded by the Company just two years earlier. The majority of the Company’s revenue appears to be derived through its online retail portal, however, the Company’s physical outlets account for a growing portion of its annual sales.