Founded in Philadelphia in 2010, Warby Parker appeared in Vogue shortly after their launch and quickly grew from a small seed investment operation to a multi-million pound concern, and the company was recently valued at $1.2 billion dollars in 2015. Although Warby Parker was originally an online entity a physical presence has been retained, and the New Jersey branch is part of a move to continue to connect directly with shoppers on the high street by strategically placing stores in prominent places.
Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus is New Jersey's biggest mall so it is envisaged the shop will be attractive both to those who are already loyal customers and love the brand, but will also attract new shoppers who won't be able to resist the array of smart frames including sunglasses and a recently launched childrens' line. The shop looks both professional and fun, and as well as eyeglass frames there are a range of decorative books dotted around the store with some on sale.
From the early days onwards the founders, who were graduates of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton school, realised that physical shops gave them additional valuable insights into customer requirements as well as keeping Warby Parker in the public eye. To that end, Warby Parker now have over 75 stores in addition to the online shopping site, and the owners are savvy enough to realise that both online and actual shops are a recipe for success as long as the brand continues to be excellent. Their CEO's were quoted in a recent interview as saying that "retail isn't dead, but mediocre retail is dead."
For prescription glasses customers can bring their prescription to the shop or have it emailed by their optician, and the Paramus store has plans for an eye doctor to be on site. The store also appeals to socially aware customers as the owners distribute glasses and sunglasses to charities for the needy for every pair sold, and the current total stands at more than four million pairs of glasses donated to charity at the last count!
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