Warby Parker burst onto the scene in 2010 promising fashionable frames for a fraction of the cost of competitors. Its initial line of glasses sold for just $US95, and profiles in fashion magazines quickly thrust the upstart Warby into the big leagues, and to number 14 on this year’s Silicon Alley 100.
The company has tried to be many things at once: a low-price leader, a symbol for fashion and design, and certified benefit corporation, emphasising its treatment of workers, the environment, and helping provide eyeglasses to the developing world.
With unicorn status — a valuation topping a billion dollars — Warby Parker is one of the biggest retail success stories in recent years. It raised another $US100 million of funding in April, in a round led by T. Rose Price. Now it’s opening more stores around the country and continuing its quest to be a true competitor to Luxottica, the Italian eyewear company that controls much of the industry.
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