Warby Parker: A Review
Founded in 2010, Warby Parker is a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to selling glasses; yet it has grown rapidly to become a billion dollar company after only a few years of operation. Warby Parker design and produce their own eyewear, cutting out the middleman in order to sell directly to the consumer.
Not merely a glasses shop, Warby Parker is a fashion company with a distinctly hipster feel to it, appealing to a young, trendy clientele who care just as much about aesthetics as function. They seem to strive to become a lifestyle brand, with their quirky presentation and offering of other products including books chosen by the staff. Notably, their blog has more articles about literature than vision.
While the shop mostly operates online, they have a series of retail locations in the U.S. and Canada, some of which can offer eye exams. The company is based in the U.S. and at the time only sells to customers in North America (including Canada), U.S. territories and military addresses.
Warby Parker offers eyeglasses, sunglasses and even a monocle in womens’ and mens’ styles. There is a focus on trendy, modern design, with frames available in a range of shapes, sizes and colours.
Warby Parker design their own frames and only their house brand is sold in the store, meaning that their product line is limited to their particular brand’s style. The company manufactures their own frames and primarily uses three materials: acetate, stainless steel and titanium. In addition to their standard frames, Warby Parker run special collections, such as their Archive Edition of glasses handmade in Japan.
Prescription and non-prescription lenses are offered for both eyeglasses and sunglasses. Eyeglasses come in single vision, multifocal and non-prescription varieties, including magnifying reading glasses. The multifocal lenses are digital free-form progressives, made with predictive technology based on your individual prescription. Warby Parker produce polycarbonate or high index lenses with clear or light reactive options available.
Warby Parker’s collection of sunglasses comes in a choice of several lens types, including solid color, gradient and flash mirrored for non-prescription lenses, as well as a range of colors for prescription lenses
Other lens treatments are offered and are in fact included for free with any purchase, including: polarization, UV protection, scratch resistance, antireflective coating and a super-hydrophobic coating.
While they can offer a range of lenses, including some prism-corrected lenses, the store is not equipped to fill every prescription and can only meet a certain range of requirements. To find out whether Warby Parker can meet the specific needs of your prescription, visit their FAQ page.
Warby Parker seem to put most of their effort into frame design, and this is where their glasses really stand out. The frames are very stylish, with unusual and eye-catching designs which really make a fashion statement. The best quality frames on the site are probably the Japanese made Archive Edition, which Warby Parker claim are hand made by a master craftsman in Fukui.
Ease of Purchase
The website has a user-friendly interface which is easy to navigate. In addition to a simple layout, some helpful functions have been included to aid the purchasing process. In addition to the website, you can download the Warby Parker app straight onto your phone or other mobile device for easy access to the store and up-to-date information on the latest collections.
Newcomers or people who aren’t familiar with glasses jargon can really make use of the store’s Frequently Asked Questions section and the ‘Eyewear A – Z’ comprehensive glossary of vision related terms. Scroll down to the bottom of the site to find an education section of useful articles, or simply read the easy to understand explanations that are given throughout the purchasing process, as you choose your frames and lenses.
Customers who don’t know what kind of frames to buy should take the frame finder quiz, which narrows down a selection of glasses to suit your face shape and the type of appearance that you are looking for
Warby Parker was not founded by optometrists, and their focus is much more on fashion that it is on vision, though they do offer some help with understanding your prescription. One notable feature of the site is the ‘Measure your PD’ tool, which helps you to measure you papillary distance, if it’s not already labeled on your prescription.
Although some Warby Parker retail outlets do offer an eye exam service, the online store obviously requires customers to supply their own prescription. If you don’t feel you need to get a comprehensive eye check from a doctor in person, Warby Parker does offer a Prescription Check App which allows eligible customers to do a few eye tests on their mobile device, with the results reviewed remotely by a doctor who provides an updated prescription.
All Warby Parker acetate glasses start at a uniform base rate of $95, including prescription lenses. Stainless steel and titanium glasses are considerably more expensive, depending on the frames. Upgrades such as light-reactive or high index lenses can be tagged on at additional cost, according to the needs of the customer.
Warby Parker also accept insurance, FSA & HSA payments. If you have vision insurance, simply contact your provider with a Warby Parker receipt (provided electronically) for a reimbursement. Warby Parker cooperate with several common insurance providers, listed on their website.
If you have a Flexible Spending account (FSA) or Health Savings account (HSA), you can use it to pay for eye exams, prescription eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses at Warby Parker.
Warranty & Returns
If for any reason you change your mind after buying some Warby Parker glasses, they offer a 30 day no-questions-asked refund or exchange policy. Contact the company directly by email or phone in order to arrange your refund or exchange.
Additionally, Warby Parker offer a 1-year scratch free warranty on all lenses. Any lenses that are scratched within the first year after buying them will be replaced for free, as long as you still have the same prescription. If you have a new prescription, they will replace the lenses for a fee, depending on your need
If you have other issues with glasses purchased from Warby Parker, they may be able to offer adjustments, either for free or at a cost, depending on the issue. If you don’t live near a Warby Parker retail store, they will reimburse you up to $50 for any adjustments made at another vision shop within 30 days of purchase.
Warby Parker offer a couple of unique promotions that set them apart from other stores. Free shipping and order tracking is given on all purchases, regardless of location, although they currently ship only to North American regions.
The store’s major promotion is their ‘Try 5 For Free’ deal. This gives ever customer the chance to try out 5 different frames at no charge, before committing to one pair and making a purchase. Simply visit the website to choose the frames that you want to try on, and Warby Parker will post them out to you. You have 5 days to try out the frames and place your order before sending them back to the company.
A growing number of companies are incorporating good deeds into their business model, and Warby Parker is one of these pioneering businesses. They run a ‘Buy a Pair, Give a Pair’ program in conjunction with the charity VisionSpring, distributing glasses to vision impaired people around the world. According to the website, the program helps to give eyewear directly to school-age children in needs, as well as providing trained adults to give eye exams and sell glasses in over 50 countries.
The company has also created Pupils Project, a program which works to offer free vision screenings, eye exams and glasses to schoolchildren within the U.S. and Mexico.
Why buy from Warby Parker?
Warby Parker is part of a new generation of companies that strives to present not just a product, but a lifestyle choice. Their customers join a community of like-minded people who are looking for something more than just a functional piece of eyewear; they are interested in style, culture and world issues. While Warby Parker meet the practical needs customers have for vision correction, their glasses make a social statement as well as a fashion one.