Fast Company - - Most Innovative Companies -

Warby Parker

The ul­ti­mate di­rect-to-con­sumer brand isn’t con­tent just to sell you a pair of glasses. It’s pre­par­ing to own the en­tire eye­wear space. In May, Warby Parker launched a Pre­scrip­tion Check app that en­ables users to com­plete vir­tual eye ex­ams at home—no doc­tor visit re­quired. This comes a few months af­ter the com­pany opened its first op­ti­cal lab, in Sloats­burg, New York, where it cuts lenses to fit its frames, bring­ing some of the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­house. “Build­ing this tech­nol­ogy and open­ing the lab al­lows cus­tomers to stay within the Warby Parker en­vi­ron­ment,” says co­founder and CO-CEO Dave Gil­boa.

Warby Parker ini­tially launched the Pre­scrip­tion Check app—which sends re­sults to an eye doc­tor who can only is­sue new pre­scrip­tions if the user’s vi­sion hasn’t changed—in five states, in­clud­ing New York and Cal­i­for­nia. It’s work­ing to over­come reg­u­la­tory hur­dles (along with op­po­si­tion from the Amer­i­can Op­to­met­ric As­so­ci­a­tion, or AOA) in oth­ers. Ge­or­gia, In­di­ana, and South Carolina, for ex­am­ple, re­quire in­per­son eye ex­ams. Warby wants to change that by of­fer­ing cus­tomers with lim­ited vi­sion prob­lems a telemedicine al­ter­na­tive—mak­ing it even eas­ier to buy its glasses.

The Sloats­burg lab, mean­while, gives Warby new agency over the lens-fin­ish­ing process. The out­let cur­rently pro­duces a small per­cent­age of the com­pany’s glasses, but that could change as Warby owns more of the eye­glass ecosys­tem. “As we scale,” co­founder and COCEO Neil Blu­men­thal says, “we are able to con­trol each of these touch­points and make them all su­per spe­cial.”


The com­pany will open 20 new stores this year, in­clud­ing its first lo­ca­tions in Hous­ton and Ken­tucky.


The AOA has ar­gued that Pre­scrip­tion Check could lead to users for­go­ing in-per­son eye-health ex­ams that re­veal con­di­tions like glau­coma.

CO-CEOS Dave Gil­boa, left, and Neil Blu­men­thal are own­ing their vi­sion (and yours too).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.