Brian Magida is the Online Media Manager of the stylish designer eyewear company, Warby Parker. The affordable eyewear line circumvents traditional channels and operates online to sell high quality, vintage-inspired eyewear at a lower price point. This week Warby Parker releases its new 2013 Summer Collection, which will feature classic frames infused with punchy colors and debut five new frame shapes for the season.
How are you able to remain price conscious yet still provide such quality products?
At the end of the day, eyeglasses shouldn’t cost $300+. They just shouldn’t. The industry is controlled by a few key players, who keep prices artificially high by regulating almost all aspects of the supply chain. By designing and producing our own line of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses and selling directly online, we are able to keep our overhead low and our quality high, passing along the savings and style to our customers.
What are the highest price frames you have?
The most expensive pair of glasses you can currently purchase from us are prescription sunglasses from our Hayworth Collection or our Titanium Collection. They feature polarized lenses and sell for $195. Our most expensive eyeglasses are also from the Hayworth and Titanium Collections and sell for $145.
Do you find many people buy your glasses just for the look without a need for prescription?
Absolutely. Eyeglasses are a really fun accessory and a great way to show off your style and personality. I actually have 20/20 vision, but throw on the Winston when I’m looking to shake my look up a little bit.
Which styles are the best selling?
Our best-selling women’s eyeglasses are currently the Sims, Preston, Crane, and Wilkie. For sunglasses, the Downing, Everett, and Madison are currently perched at the top. Last week, I would have said the Edgeworth, but the limited-edition run was so popular, we’re already sold out!
How is the Summer Collection different from the others?
We’ve certainly had fun with color in the past, but we really took it up a notch with the introduction of Bombay Blue and Elderberry in the Watts and the Ainsworth, respectively. We also decided to introduce surprising colors to otherwise more conservative frames like the Sibley, which comes in Catalina Blue and the Theo, which comes in Blue Marblewood. We think people who tend towards more traditional eyewear choices will appreciate the subtly of these frame/color pairings.
Any surprises? New materials you are excited about?
No new materials here, but certainly plenty of new colors. I am personally really excited about the Baxter. It comes in Striped Sassafras, but also two new colors: Pinot Noir and Catalina Blue. All of them are incredibly wearable.
Who are your non-profit partners?
We work with several, but our biggest non-profit partner is VisionSpring, which trains low-income men and women to sell affordable glasses to members of their own community.
Your business model of providing glasses for people in need is truly innovative. What inspired this method?
Prior to starting the company, Neil Blumenthal (one of the four co-founders) worked as a Director at VisionSpring for five years, where he learned just how much positive impact a pair of glasses has on a person’s life. In creating Warby Parker, he wanted to build a business that would help promote one of the least costly and most effective poverty alleviation tools on the planet.