Because one of his friends lost a pair of sunglasses worth $ 700 on a plane, in 2010 Neil Blumenthal decided to create a new American brand for spectacles with a desire to provide consumers with really high quality products at affordable prices. The result was Warby Parker. To compete with Luxottica (owner of Ray-Ban and Oakley and licence holder of several luxury brands) which has 7,000 stores in the U.S. (under different brand names), Warby Parker decided to do a complete rethink on the business model for spectacles.
- A brand where the style and message evoke the American ideal of the 50s and 60s, revisited 21st century: simple frames in muted colours, "preppy" names... As one Bentley professor put it: "They have a nerdy cool appeal. It taps into the Kendall Square/Silicon Valley/New York City metrosexual vibe. They're not sturdy, but they've got brains. They're like the nerdy guys in the movies who end up with a beautiful woman”.
- Positioning at a uniform price: $ 95, and $ 145 for titanium frames. This uniform price is intended to allow customers to make choices based solely on the design and their own personality.
- Innovative distribution:
- The brand was launched on the Internet - but when customers started asking whether they could come personally to buy the glasses, WP set up a showroom at its headquarters. It receives 1,000 customers every Saturday, and sales per square foot attain those of a luxury brand!
- WP then set up shop-in-shops in other stores and other unusual places, like hotels. The concept is different each time and consistent with the location.
- A remodelled ambulant bus sells the product in cities where the brand has not yet set up sales points.
- A strong social dimension (which we find in another young American brand, TOM'S): for each pair purchased, a pair is given to a person in need. For the founders in their thirties, giving their business this dimension of social responsibility is normal: One should give back to society what it has given us.