How Warby Parker’s CEO Funded His Dream to Give the World Sight - OZY | A Modern Media Company


Because a good idea may happen overnight — but executing it does not. 

By daisy Carrington

It started with a lost pair of glasses. Neil Blumenthal was chatting with some of some friends between classes at business school when one of them mentioned he lost a new pair of frames that had set him back $700. The group started to ponder there was no reliable way to buy glasses online when a collective lightbulb went off. 

”It’s kind of like when you have an idea and you feel it in your gut, and you can’t sleep because you’re constantly thinking about it,” Blumenthal recalls. His buddies — Dave Gilboa, Jeff Raider and Andrew Hunt — would later become his business partners, helping him found Warby Parker — a digital, designer eyewear company. 

The online model isn’t the only thing that makes Warby Parker unique. Their Buy A Pair, Give a Pair program, which ensures that for every pair of glasses sold, another is distributed to help improve the life of someone with impaired vision. 

“We very much view ourselves as living at the intersection of the tech startup world, the fashion design world and the social enterprise world,” says Blumenthal. 

Today, in addition to its online business, Warby Parker was nearly 100 stores across the US and Canada, and has donated more than four million pairs of glasses. Listen to the interview above to find out how four business school buddies upended the $100 billion optical industry with $100,000 from their personal savings.  

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