- Warby Parker is entering its first new category since launching sunglasses: kid-sized glasses.
- The shrunken glasses are part of a pilot program at Warby’s New York stores.
- Warby Parker co-CEO Neil Blumenthal told Business Insider the move was more about serving existing customers than expanding into a lucrative new category.
Warby Parker is shrinking to grow.
The e-commerce-based eyeglasses startup is now producing a few of its most popular frames and glasses for kids as young as four years old.
It’s the first major new category that the company has expanded into since it launched its line of sunglasses in 2011.
The glasses are available in the Wilkie, Lyle, Louise, Percey, Chamberlain, and Daisy frames, each one in two different colours. The colours include kid-friendly hues like “Peony” and “Eastern Bluebird Fade.”
Each is available in two sizes: Jr., for kids eight and older, and Jr. Jr., for kids between four and seven.
The kids’ glasses cost the same as a typical pair of Warby Parker glasses: $US95.
Warby Parker co-CEO and co-founder Neil Blumenthal told Business Insider that though the glasses themselves are smaller, the process to make them is virtually unchanged and uses the same processes and same materials.
“We look at it from a value standpoint,” Blumenthal said. “How much do kids’ glasses cost today in the market versus what we’re charging for them?”
One of the meaningful changes Warby did make with the kids’ glasses, however, is with the hinges. They use spring hinges instead of the fixed-barrel hinges typically found on the company’s glasses.
Why? Because kids will be kids.
“Kids tend to be a little rougher on their glasses especially when they’re taking them on and off,” Blumenthal said. “So that extra bit of flexibility adds to longevity and durability of the frames.”
Other changes include the way Warby will sell the new glasses. Instead of relying on its home try-on program and online sales, the glasses will only be available through the company’s eight New York City stores for the duration of the pilot program. Customers can come in and place an order to be sent to their homes or for in-store pickup.
Of course, how you sell to kids and to adults is different, which required Warby to present the glasses a little differently in the stores.
Kids are “literally different heights than adults,” Blumenthal notes, adding that Warby had to think about making sure stores had the glasses on lower shelves for kids to reach, as well as full-length mirrors so they could look at themselves in the frames.
Glasses for kids, Blumenthal admits, is not “nearly” as big a market as glasses for adults. Kids don’t often need glasses until puberty, and at that point, many can fit into smaller adult frames.
But when kids need glasses, they’re often just as expensive as the adult version. “Start making glasses for kids” was a refrain that Warby heard often in customer feedback.
“For us, this is less about ‘How do we enter a massive subcategory,’ than ‘How do we make customers happy?'” Blumenthal said. “How do we provide a holistic product and service offering for our customers?”
Warbys for the whole family?
“Warbys for the whole family,” Blumenthal agrees.
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