Warby Parker – Part 1 and 2

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Maybe it’s from poor genes.  Maybe it’s from a lack of beta carotene as a child.  Or maybe it’s from the day that I flashed myself in the eyes with that old camera a dozen or so times.  Whatever the case, I need glasses.  Like serious glasses.  Like glasses so thick that my eyes become bulletproof when my glasses are on.

Recent trips to the ophthalmologist, that’s eye doctor to you and me, have been disappointingly unfulfilling.  Sure.  I’ve got some insurance coverage that entitles me to a full range of frames.  Rather than choosing from any of the frames that cover the huge wall display, I can make my selection from a dusty spinning display in the corner that is in serious need of WD-40.  In the past, options from the Donald Trump and Randy Jackson collections have been available.

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Now, I’m no fashionisto, but I know better than to trust the style of two notoriously, unstylish gentleman.  You feel me dawg?

Macheting through the internet will yield a ton of eyeglasses opportunities.  The ton becomes pretty overwhelming pretty quickly.  Luckily, not long after starting, I stumbled upon Warby Parker.  Think of Warby Parker as the Tom’s Shoes of eyeglasses.  According to their site, one pair of glasses is donated for every purchase.  All things being equal, I’d rather support a company with a good cause.  Let’s see what Warby has in store.

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The selection is large without being smothering.  They seem to specialize in some modern, nerdy frames that vary only slightly from one another.  At first glance, it may seem like all the frames are the same, but they all deviate minorly from the ones before.  There are about 80 men’s frames, and with multiple color options per frame, the options balloon quickly.

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Obviously, buying glasses online is a huge risk.  A risk that can be time-consuming and expensive.  Warby is different from others I have seen, though, in that they offer a 5 day, in-home trial.  This means that they allow you to select 5 variations and ship them to your doorstep.  They come with clear lenses so you can wear them around and try them out for 5 days before sending them back.

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Each style offers measurements, a brief description, and multiple photos of a model wearing the frames in multiple angles.  It really does help to key in on the differences between the frames.  You add the frame to your cart for the trial, and off you go.

No obligation, no fee, no pressure.

Speaking of no pressure, I’m shocked by the lack of a sales push that Warby Parker puts on.  It’s almost disconcerting.  The site has no coupons or incentives to buy.  They have a “take us or leave us” approach that seems so odd in the e-commerce field.

After filling up your cart, you wait a few days for frames.  I wonder what Warby has in store for me.
Part II

An interesting thing happened after I ordered my home try-on from Warby Parker, the site became really cool. I don’t know what changed exactly, but the frequency, the tone, and the content of communications following my order were all on point. Whatever they are paying their marketing team and copywriter, they need to double it.

The emails come in telling me that my order was received, the try-on shipped, and then that the glasses have been delivered. Along the way, the emails subtly remind me of the frames I ordered, how much they are, and the low risk associated with the free shipping, free returns and “no questions asked.”

IMG_2340 IMG_2339The glasses come in a blue, reusable box that makes returns even easier. I flipped open the lid to find more compelling copywriting, cool graphics and font really pleasing to the eyes. Oh, and then there are glasses folded in individual baggies with the style on the wrapper.

IMG_2334Too big.

IMG_2335Too wide.

IMG_2336Too brown.

IMG_2332Too Where’s Waldo.

IMG_2330Too perfect.

Once I focused in on a potential winner, I took them for a test drive. You know, in the shower, in swimming pool, to bed for the night – typical glasses stuff.

With plain lenses, it is pretty hard to tell the true quality of what Warby is offering. Also, my frames looked as though they had been through the ringer and back again. Some were bent, some were misshapen, and some had scratched lenses, which is surprising because I would think Warby Parker would want only the best impression of their product sent to the consumer.

With some experimentation, the potential winner became the true winner. I went for the Wilkie in Greystone, and packed up the try-on within the requisite 5 business days.

Even though I was able to try on the frames, the ordering process sparked a bit of apprehension. I’ve been so let down with glasses in the past that cold feet began to set in.

Should I?

Shouldn’t I?

Another factor to consider is my terrible vision. Minus 5.25 in each eye requires high index lenses for another $30. My total would be $125 instead of $95. I don’t know why, but $95 just seems a little easier to swallow.

Hell with it. Click. Order made.

Warby continues with their quick feedback and compelling, punchy copywriting. Logging into your account will give you updated info about their contact with your eye doc and shipping out the specs.

The arrival came earlier and heavier than expected. After all, it contained a box within a box with the frames inside paired with a cleaning pouch like I ordered a pair of Oakleys.

Putting on the finished product only impressed me further. Light, crystal clear, thin lenses work perfectly within the frames. Finally, I have a set of specs that can be worn to the finer establishments that I frequent. Look out Wal-Mart! Your #1 customer is going to be looking a couple notches finer.

Consume.Review.Repeat. gives the Warby Parker finished product 9 smiling rollbacks out of 10.

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