Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Warby Parker: Blurring the Lines between For Profit and Not for Profit

Warby Parker is a for-profit company who sells trendy, affordable eyeglasses and sunglasses primarily over the internet. With a base price of $95, a customer buys a pair of single prescription eye glasses and another pair of glasses is donated to a nonprofit organization. That nonprofit then takes those glasses and trains individuals in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell the glasses. This model allows people from those developing countries to make a wage and be prosperous. 

Warby Parker is an excellent example of creating shared value in a capitalist framework. The company makes value for its customers by offering quality eyeglasses for a substantially lower price than many are able to get at their local optometrist. Then, they also get to feel the good will knowing that their purchase is also helping others in need. Then, instead of simply donating eyeglasses to those in need, they have partnered with VisionSpring to set up a local infrastructure that allows individuals to earn a living and getting eye care and proper vision apparatuses. Warby Parker has also found that giving an individual proper eye glasses and improving their sight can increase monthly income by 20%. 

Warby Parker is committed to this endeavor. The current CEO was the former Executive Director of VisionSpring and was their second employee. He has a passion for the cause and is primed as a former NPO director to bring social responsibility and value to Warby Parker.According to Warby Parker, they have trained over 18,000 individuals in more than 35 countries. That is a good move toward creating shared value.

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