Hello, my lovely readers! How are you this fine summer morning? Ready for school yet? :) I start in mid-August, and I'm super excited to get started on this next scene in my life!
Recently I was approached online by Brian Magida on the marketing team for a glasses company called Warby Parker. This is a high fashion glasses designer, with shapes and colors that really bring only one word to my mind: hipster. Honestly, the majority of their frames aren't really my style, so I almost said no to their request for a blog post. But then I found out about some of their charity work/partners and their Home Try-On program, and figured, why not? Then I discovered, while working on this post, that the company (a) was started by readers, (b) was named after characters from their favorite author's works, and (c) sells books alongside their glasses in their physical stores. How cool is that?!
So today I'll tell you about their newest collections and charity work. Once my five free try-on frames arrive, I'll do a review on their frames and how the online service translates to physical product. (For more about the company itself, check out their story. It's a short tale of how they got started in grad school.)
My favorite part of Warby Parker's company as a whole is not any of their collections but rather their Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. This is what Brian first told me about the program: "As always, just like all of our existing collections, for every pair sold, we are going to distribute a pair to someone in need through our non-profit partners." Of course I loved this idea, and I wanted to know more! The page on Warby Parker's website explains that over 18,000 people have been trained to give eye exams and sell glasses in 35 different countries. "703 million people currently live without access to eyewear. Our work is cut out for us, our sleeves are rolled up, and we’re excited to move forward together." A pair of glasses increases an individual's productivity by 35% and monthly income by 20%! This may sound like exaggerations to some of you, but as a lifelong glasses wearer myself, I can testify to the pain and hassle even a short time without glasses can be. The headaches, the squinting, the fatigue... it's not pretty.
At least one million pairs of glasses, worth over $200 million, have been distributed to the trained glasses-sellers. I wondered, as many of you probably are right now, why not donate the glasses? Well, here's what the Warby Parker-ians had to say: "It’s a sticky fact of life that kind-hearted gestures can have unintended consequences. Donating is often a temporary solution, not a lasting one. It can contribute to a culture of dependency... Instead of donating, our partners train men and women to sell glasses for ultra-affordable prices, which allows them to earn a living. More important, it forces our partners to offer glasses that people actually want to buy..." (as opposed to cheap, ugly, and/or poorly-made glasses reserved for these less-well-off markets) So there you have it!
Warby Parker's newest lines include their Karlie Kloss Limited Edition and Summer 2014 collections. (They also just launched a new limited edition collection, if you want to go check it out!) Here's what Brian had to say about each line:
"For Summer, you’ll find bookish silhouettes in surf-inspired hues, classic styles in beach shack shades, and lots more suited for the dog days ahead.
...with Karlie Kloss we’ve created three new sunglasses that are graceful, polished and full of personality, just like Karlie. Each sale will benefit an organization dear to Karlie— Edible Schoolyard NYC. They provide kitchens and gardens to low-income public schools, giving students the tools to develop lifelong healthy habits."
You can check out the Summer Collection and Karlie Kloss sunglasses on the website now. The Summer Collection seems, to me at least, a bit limited in colors. However, I love how there's a great variety in frame shape and size just within those nine new designs. They're not like some designers' glasses, where several new frames in one collection seem nearly identical as far as shape or size goes.
Considering my picky taste, I'd probably never wear the Karlie Kloss shades, but I do love the look of Marple. What caught my attention with Karlie Kloss was the donation aspect -- I decided to look up Edible Schoolyard NYC myself. I didn't have time to read all of the many articles and sites available online, but it looks like a wonderful program. I know I would've loved something like this as a kid -- it's a great way to promote nutrition to future Americans, in a country known for obesity, while at the same time getting kids who may not enjoy school involved in and excited about their own education. You can read more on the program's website.
P.S. For those of you with wackier or off-the-beaten-track tastes, they even sell a monocle! ;)
I was asked by this company's marketing team to write a blog post about their glasses. The content of the post was left to my discretion, and I was in no way compensated for a post or review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.