Thursday, September 20, 2012

The eyes have it

75% of the U.S. Population, including me, wear some form of corrective eyewear. I'm pretty sure 100% of us have complained about how much our glasses cost.

Go into your neighborhood optical center and even without an exam, you can easily walk out the door having spent $400 or more for a well-designed pair of specs.

My question has always been, "Why?" What is in those few ounces of plastic and steel that make them worth so much?

Of course we know why glasses manufacturers charge so much for so little – because they can. This has created an opportunity for a disruptive new company, Warby Parker.

Bucking conventional wisdom, this 2011 start-up designs and manufactures its own glasses using the same materials and factories as the big boys, Luxotica and Safilo designs. Unlike those companies, Warby Parker sells their glasses online for $95. That price includes prescription lenses, free shipping and returns.

How good an idea is this? In just three weeks they met the entire sales goal for their first year.

It's working because they realized the opportunity was not to offer cheap glasses – there are websites that sell glasses for less than $95 – but to offer a limited collection of stylish glasses for a reasonable price.

So instead of feeling cheap and wondering if the glasses you purchased from a discount website are an appropriate expression of your personal brand, you feel smart.

Nice insight. Nice innovation. Nice brand.

1 comment:

  1. Eyewear is an interesting business. Warby Parker is on to something for sure. I like your take on this one!