Let me count the ways... If you know me, you know I love me some Warby Parker. Not just because as I am writing this, I have the tortoise version of their Colton frames on which allows me to see that I am writing words and not a bunch of gibberish but because they are a company that is doing good things, loving what they do, creating as strong a product to match their moral code and just really damn clever and nice people.
I first came across Warby Parker when I asked one of my favorite bloggers, Triple Max Tons, where she had gotten a pair of sweet spectacles I had seen in one of her posts. You can imagine my excitement when she directed me to a place that 1) sold very cool frames for $95 a pop, 2) offered an at home try-on service that allowed me to pick frames and have them delivered to my door and 3) allowed me to help make the world a better place by buying a pair (when you buy a pair, another pair is donated to a partner non-profit which helps train low-income entrepreneurs, read more about it on their website).
Anywho, when I wrote about trying on my Warby's waaaaay back here, and having just started Thrill of the Chaise, you can imagine my excitement and surprise when the Warby powers that be themselves reached out to me to thank me and invite me into meet the team when I finally got myself moved back to NYC. This was just the beginning of lots of reasons that I fell hard for Warby. They are kind, all-inclusive, appreciative and get really excited when you love what they do as much as they do.
Fast forward to November and I was honored to head up to the newest Warby Parker offices and beautiful showroom on Lafayette Street where I got a little tour and had the pleasure of sitting down an original Warby'er Brian who let me totally geek out on him about what makes Warby so cool.
We had a lovely chat about the massive and rapid growth of the company, who have grown from 8 full-time employees to about 50 in not much longer than a year, their new space in Soho (which you can visit to check out the showroom, btw) and the fundamentals of what makes Warby, well, Warby. Here are some things to know:
1. It's the very nice press they got (starting with GQ) and their happy customers' word-of-mouth that launched and continues to maintain Warby Parker. They pride themselves on having a strong brand, product and message and it's staying true to all three of those things that are making it easy to be successful. (Refreshing, non?!)
2. Their fun ideas on how to get their brand out to the world are not only crazy clever but quite cost-effective, giving hope to all those start-ups out there. They have had a 'hush mob' at the New York Library, where they invited press to basically find nothing more than a bunch of people reading...until suddenly, they all raise up their books and display the style of frame they are wearing on their book covers. And look out for Warby Parker bikes, complete with try-on glasses) riding around the City.
3. They have showrooms popping up all over the United States (and are exploring internationally in due course, ahem, London?) so make sure you go to check them out. I went to visit their San Francisco location in December and it was great! And busy! They have partnered up with great boutiques to have a bit of a pop-up retail space which means you get two great shops for the price of one. So not only did I get to have a sneaky peek at the Warby's but I was also introduced to a little SF gem, The Parish Trust.
4. They have a great collaboration with SUNO that is still available which you MUST check out. Fingers crossed that there will be more in the future! But they always have new products and exciting limited editions being launched, so make sure to keep an eye on them.
5. If you have any question, any question at all, or even just want to tell them 'good job', give them a call! They love to talk to everyone!
6. My last 'question' for Brian when I went to visit was a 'finish this sentence'. And his answer was just as Warby as I had hoped :) 'The best thing about working at Warby Parker is...really enjoying what we are getting to do.'
With the rush of my SF and then finals and then getting myself home to be with my family for the holidays, it wasn't until this week that I got to visit the Warby Parker Holiday Spectacle Bazaar (another great example of fun ways to engage with those of us who love them, want to love them and do not yet know that they are in love with them). FEAR NOT. You have until this Sunday to pop down there, explore their indoor yurts, get an eye exam, try on some glasses, enjoy a bunch of activities on offer or even just hang out and get some work done/schmoozing in their lounge area.
A big thank you to Brian at Warby and the rest of the team! Visit Warby Parker here.