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New Vision

The New Beacon Collection by Warby Parker —


According to many loud voices in our culture being selfish in our choices is almost a duty or a sacred imperative. What are we to make, then, of the business strategy of companies like Warby Parker who, when you purchase a pair of their glasses, instantly sends an additional pair of glasses to someone in need? What are we to make of the ways this scandalous altruism actually adds to the allure of the product itself? Such questions are increasingly common in an era when the radical increase in interconnectedness delivered by communications technology and social media is giving rise to new and unexpected social and economic anomalies like Warby Parker.


With the release of their new collection, Beacon, Warby Parker shows us a world of possibilities that transpires at the hours of pre-dawn and twilight. They are creating a stage for their champions and heroines to come together, seize the moment and fashion a new realm of potentials. These are people seeking a new context, a new prospect. The seduction of such romance is undeniable. There’s an ease with which they execute each exploration that invites you to hitch a ride. But the new reverie in play here has a lot more to do with the hard work, no, with the good work that goes into every pair of Warby Parkers. The Beacon here is the light that calls on you to participate not only in your own good fortune, but the ability to also contribute to the good fortune of others.

Buy a Pair, Give a Pair is the directive of Warby Parker. Through this simple framework they have helped millions regain their sight, dignity and income. The non-profit VisionSpring is their primary partner in this concern of opportunity. Warby Parker’s Co-CEO Neil Blumenthal once served as Director of VisionSpring and it was “During his time in the field, Neil learned the nuts and bolts of glasses: how they’re manufactured, how they’re distributed, how they’re received, and how all three processes can be done differently.” $95 is all, all that it costs for anyone to buy a pair of Warby Parkers; soup to nuts for a single lens prescription including 100% UV coating and AR coating. How can you not participate in that kind of fiscal feasibility!  

It is not hard to see the “why” people have thrown their support to Warby Parker. Karlie Kloss’s marketing cachet can be found front and center and with good reason. Warby Parker is donating to Edible Schoolyard NYC, a cause close to Karlie’s concern, who works with low-income NYC public schools to build kitchens and gardens where they teach students to develop lifelong healthy habits. And the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair imperative stands. 


Cynics need not apply here. It is the interconnectedness that we celebrate with every pair of Warby Parkers we purchase, on a global scale as well as the personal. When I bought my first pair I told Tom, who, in turn bought three, who told Greg, who bought his first pair and like a blazing metta practice the good will spreads outward to all who share this new vision.


The Beacon Collection consists of four new styles:

The Garrett features a flat brow line and subtle keyhole bridge appealing to those with distinctive taste. Available in both optical and sunglasses option.


Garret_Opt_800The McKee is an easygoing, round frame that suits medium faces and cheery personalities. Optical

McKee_800The Ingram with squared-off lenses and a dipped brow line, Ingram is a nice choice for both leisurely pursuits and revelry. Sunglasses


And my personal favorite …the Nancy! Nancy’s oversized lenses and angled brow detail are right at home in your backyard or abroad. Sunglasses




  1. Jim Houghton says:

    Hmmm….well, they seem to have nice glasses. But “altruistic”? They have to make a profit or they’d go out of business. Or the people breaking even would starve or deplete the trust fund that allows them to break even in their business. The only other formula that works is that they’re charging more for their glasses in order to be able to, in essence, sell two pairs for the “price of one.” There’s a feel-good element in there as long as you trust W-P to send free glasses to exactly the people who need them most, in itself a challenging bit of investigation.

    Personally, I think I’ll buy glasses over here at competitive retail and do my charitable contributions pursuant to my own research regarding the best and highest use of those funds.

  2. Charles Hill says:

    Warby opening on Abbott Kinney.
    Soon. Approximately across from Gelina.
    Remember the bus?

  3. Here is an article from the Wharton School of the U of Penn on the profit structure/ business model for Warby Parker.

  4. Guy Zimmerman says:

    I totally get where Jim H is coming from about the potential pitfalls of this kind of marketing…but I’m also interested in what Nancy is pointing towards about what might be called an “emergent” effect of the ever-increasing degree of interconnectedness.

    I think it is true that human beings are altruistic as well as self-serving and that merchants are to be applauded for providing ways for those altruistic impulses to express themselves.

    The crucial point is that businesses do this for PURELY BUSINESS reasons – not because they themselves are particularly altruistic. We would all be better off if altruistic impulse-satisfaction became a big part of the profit-making imperative. Obviously, we’d still have lots of problems to deal with, but, hey…

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