Business in Focus: Warby Parker

June 1, 2016 | Business In Focus

A closer look at companies executing leadership excellence

Warby+Parker+EyewearYou’re probably already familiar with TOMS Shoes One for One® program.  For every pair of
shoes purchased, TOMS gives away a pair to a child in need. You may not be as familiar with Warby Parker, a hip eyewear company founded in 2009 by four Wharton Business School friends.

Warby Parker was started with two goals in mind:

1) to disrupt the $65 billion eyewear industry by taking out the middle man and making eyeglasses affordable, and 2) to create a for-profit business that could have a massive positive impact on the world.

To reach their first goal, the company created a vertically integrated brand that can offer glasses for $95 that would normally sell for $500 to $600.  To achieve the second goal, the company launched a buy-a-pair give-a-pair program similar to TOMS shoes but with a twist.

The company doesn’t give glasses away for free. The founders believe that donating can contribute to a culture of dependency and is unsustainable.

Let'sDoGood_WarbyParkerInstead, the company helps train locals in 36 countries to become entrepreneurs and sell glasses to people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them. Warby Parker then donates funds, based on the number of glasses sold each month, to their partners to cover the costs of sourcing the same number of glasses.

Warby Parker has created a business model for doing well by doing good.  To learn more, check out the Culture page on their website, or watch this video to see their good in action.

 

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