Philadelphia’s where it all began (our founders launched the company there after meeting at Wharton) so we’ve got a special spot for the city.
We recently spruced up and expanded our showroom—inside one of our favorite shops, Art in the Age—so we skipped down there last Thursday to celebrate the new look.
We toasted the evening with spirits from the store’s distillery, gave the new buildout a trial run, and took plenty of photos in the Poseybooth photo booth. (There is a lot more evidence on Facebook. If you stopped by, see if we got a photo of you!)
Thanks to all who joined us! If you missed us on Thursday night, not to worry—you can visit Art in the Age any time to browse for some new frames.
PHOTOS BY CHAUCEE STILLMAN FOR ART IN THE AGE
Last night all the cool kids in Philadelphia were down at Art In The Age toasting in the rebirth of the newly expanded Warby Parker showroom. Things got a little silly but what's supposed to happen you start talking prescriptions and spirits?
Stop by Art in the Age to see the expanded showroom (read: tons new glassware) down on Third Street between Arch and Race (116 N 3rd St). There will be a Warby Parker rep on hand to help you find the perfect style for your handsome face.
Thursday, February 20th @ 7 – 9pm
Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction, 116 N 3rd St
Free! Just RSVP
Toast to the new look with spirits by the store’s own distillery!
Warby Parker was created by 4 friends who met while in school at Philadelphia’s very own Wharton School of Business. The company creates uber-stylish, high-quality eyewear at a revolutionary price point [frames with prescription lenses start at just $95 bucks!]. When you purchase your Warby Parkers, you’re not only getting a pair of sassy glasses for yourself, but also a pair for a person in need. That’s right my friends,
“Buy a pair, give a pair.” It’s a phrase many look for when shopping. Rather than “buy one, get one” deals of the past, some companies now promise to match your purchase in donated goods to developing countries—adding a bit of philanthropy to your purchase.
While the roots of this practice are noble, it’s not without challenges. What happens when companies forget to account for factors like local market competition, product saturation, or equal distribution? And let’s be honest—what may be fashionable here just doesn’t cut it elsewhere. (For good reason, sequined shoes for example). How can you assist a community but recognize people might not want or need a copy of what you bought?
Warby Parker has found a better way.
Many know this fashion startup as the purveyors of striking, boutique-style eyeglasses — designed in house and sold online at affordable prices. With roots in the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the four-year old company also has one of their few physical showrooms located right in Old City, at Art in the Age boutique.
What makes the Warby Parker model different? At the simplest level, for every pair of glasses purchased, a pair is donated to someone in need. And so far, that number exceeds half a million pairs, across 36 countries. But it’s also more than that.
“We work with partners that use glasses to create jobs and foster economic development,” explains the company, which collaborates with nonprofit partners like VisionSpring in order to make a bigger impact. WP co-founder Neil Blumenthal previously served as VisionSpring’s director and helped pioneer the organization’s model to train low-income women to sell affordable glasses in their communities.
The New Delihi-headquartered VisionSpring provides low-income women in developing countries the entrepreneurial training to sell affordable glasses to their communities, including deciding which products their community needs or wants. This not only allows for employment opportunity but the ability to choose what is sold while maintaining the dignity of the receiving communities.
“The model creates jobs for people in need, as well as the economic incentive to continuously provide glasses as their customers lose or break their glasses and change prescriptions,” explains Warby Parker. “Equally important, it provides community members the dignity to choose whether or not they want glasses and thereby avoids the culture of dependence that often accompanies foreign aid.
The glasses donated are also not the same you’ll find in your local Warby Parker; they’re designed according to the styles, preferences and needs of the communities where they are distributed. Because let’s face it, not everyone finds geek-chic as hip as we do.
If you’d like to check out Warby Parker’s domestic offerings, next week is the perfect chance. They are celebrating their in-store expansion with Art In the Age on Thursday, February 20 from 7-9 p.m. Enjoy free cocktails while browsing the new Spring Collection 2014 of eyeglasses and sunglasses.