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Thread: former Warby Parker optician- ask me anything

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    former Warby Parker optician- ask me anything

    Hey! New here and I've been browsing for about a week, enjoying the site so far. Seems you all aren't Warby fans- not that I blame you! I was there for about 3 years, started as part-time sales but became an Optician and member of the management team before leaving earlier this summer (I'm now at an independent eyeglasses provider and loving it, for the record).

    I didn't sign an NDA so if you want the dirt.... ask me anything and I'll do my best to answer!

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    What type of progressives/AR are they using over there. I heard that they were an based off Essilor products. I'm not wanting "dirt" per say. Just interested in which lens they use in case I have to trouble shoot some glasses.
    Last edited by bta89; 01-30-2019 at 03:03 PM.

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    Redhot Jumper Welcome to optiBoard and I hope you will enjoy it....................................


    Quote Originally Posted by will pockets


    former Warby Parker optician- ask me anything
    Hey! New here and I've been browsing for about a week, enjoying the site so far. Seems you all aren't Warby fans- not that I blame you! I was there for about 3 years, started as part-time sales but became an Optician and member of the management team before leaving earlier this summer (I'm now at an independent eyeglasses provider and loving it, for the record).

    I didn't sign an NDA so if you want the dirt.... ask me anything and I'll do my best to answer!



    Welcome to optiBoard and I hope you will enjoy it.........................................

    I don't think anybody wants to know the dirt on optiBoard. However if we could learn that or why WP has the power to divert large masses of the public to purchase their glasses from them instead the conventional optometrist or optician that has been around for a hundred years would already be a step forward.

    As you are in a now position to see the actual difference between the conventional established optical retailer, versus the new wave online opticals, their quality of products as well as their services, you should be able to make interesting comments on it.
    Chris Ryser
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    DLO. NA.IC.I.T.PO

    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter lensmanmd's Avatar
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    Chris,
    I’ll give you a plus one on this. Finally, a thread that I am eager to subscribe to.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter lensmanmd's Avatar
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    Will,
    My one big ask is why did you decide to leave WP? Please don’t generalize and give canned answers. Your honesty will provide many of us with crucial insights.
    Also, know that WP silently monitors this forum, so you can always use the PM functions.

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    Welcome to the forum. I'm newish here too.

    I think you'll find that there is a member of this forum who posts often and is absolutely obsessed with WP and Alibaba, and the internet, and "Oh, look, the sky is falling!!!!!"... While he is certainly entitled to his opinion, I can say there are others of us who don't mind market competition and don't hold a grudge against WP for being WP.

    Congrats on your transition from Corporate America to an independent retailer. I'm glad to hear, after working in both environments, you're happy working for an independent.

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    Is Schumer on the take?

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    Quote Originally Posted by drk View Post
    Is Schumer on the take?
    Cynic

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    Quote Originally Posted by bta89 View Post
    What type of progressives/AR are they using over there. I heard that they were an based off Essilor products. I'm not wanting "dirt" per say. Just interested in which lens they use in case I have to trouble shoot some glasses.
    Was just teasing about the dirt ; ) Unfortunately they never shared that info with us retail side, even us Opticians! It seems to be more basic digital PAL lens, it isn't awful by any means, but certainly not a cutting edge lens. They only have one AR option and just based on our care instructions given and defects I'd seen its definitely equivalent to a tier A AR.
    Last edited by will pockets; 01-31-2019 at 11:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    [COLOR=#3E3E3E][FONT=Verdana]
    I don't think anybody wants to know the dirt on optiBoard. However if we could learn that or why WP has the power to divert large masses of the public to purchase their glasses from them instead the conventional optometrist or optician that has been around for a hundred years would already be a step forward.
    Marketing. Their aesthetic and "brand" is equally as important to the company as the product itself and they made glasses "cool". Their price is also really good, and most independent places that try to compete sacrifice *something*, like forgo an AR or something or use a cheapo frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lensmanmd View Post
    Will,
    My one big ask is why did you decide to leave WP? Please don’t generalize and give canned answers. Your honesty will provide many of us with crucial insights.
    Also, know that WP silently monitors this forum, so you can always use the PM functions.
    I hated what it was becoming. When I joined, they were already a large company, but their physical retail presence was brand new and still had a real small, grassroots feel. They seemed to truly care about us employees and our team felt like a "family". As it got bigger the organizational structure changed, they started screwing us over more and more often. Eventually I just had enough. There are things I still admire and respect about the company, but the direction their retail division went is definitely not one of them. And hi Warby if you're reading this!

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    Quote Originally Posted by will pockets View Post
    There are things I still admire and respect about the company, but the direction their retail division went is definitely not one of them. And hi Warby if you're reading this!
    Do they have another division? How did they start screwing over employees? What do you think their biggest challenge is going forward?
    Thanks in advance for contributing here and shedding a little light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optimensch View Post
    Do they have another division? How did they start screwing over employees? What do you think their biggest challenge is going forward?
    Thanks in advance for contributing here and shedding a little light.
    1. Sorry, meant physical retail to be more specific, there was a big split between physical and online retail. There was also CX (customer service) and corporate, with a lot more divisions in corporate but I don't have those details.

    2. Not gonna lie, it still isn't a bad retail job. But there seemed to be a genuine care for their employees, that as the years went by seemed to turn into nothing but lip service. Benefits being cut back, pay rates dropped down, less trust and autonomy offered to retail stores from corporate, a bigger focus on the numbers as opposed to customer service. Numbers matter to me now at my smaller office I am now at, but at Warby they couldn't get me to care- it was a huge corporation! My philosophy was sales numbers didn't matter so much, I wanted to focus on the customer journey. And that used to be the overall philosophy as well.

    A good example was right before I left our store was piloting their new Rx service- they bought a fleet of fancy new handheld autorefractors. If they didn't have their Rx or it was expired we would take a reading, have them fill out a lifestyle questions survey on an iPad, and the results would be beamed to a teledoctor and an Rx would be issued within 24hrs. Cool, but not a comprehensive eye exam. And the training literature stated that very clearly! So we're doing it and if I got someone with a verrrrry old prescription I would stress when I do it that hey, this isn't a full eye exam, it works in a pinch but you should really go visit a doctor in person soon. After doing that for a bit I got pulled aside and asked to maybe not push that so much, even though it was in the customers best interest.

    3. Honestly? They're doing really well, so it is hard to say. As much as I disagree with a lot of their internal things, they are in a good position currently. But I'd say what I noticed from my position they were struggling with was trying to expand their product line greatly (flash mirror sun, photochromic, etc) while still conveying the whole "Frames. $95. Simple as that." schtick. I'm positive they have bigger problems than that, but that was my takeaway.

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    I told a woman the other day I liked her glasses and she told me they were Warby Parker. She got them at a store, not on-line. They did look great on her.

    So I thought I heard that Warby Parker has yet to make a profit. This was a little while ago, I'm wondering if it's true, or still true. It's easy to sell inexpensive glasses if you don't make a profit.

    What warranty does Warby Parker offer on the lenses and frames.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happylady View Post
    I told a woman the other day I liked her glasses and she told me they were Warby Parker. She got them at a store, not on-line. They did look great on her.

    So I thought I heard that Warby Parker has yet to make a profit. This was a little while ago, I'm wondering if it's true, or still true. It's easy to sell inexpensive glasses if you don't make a profit.

    What warranty does Warby Parker offer on the lenses and frames.
    I don't think thats true, but I might be wrong. I do not understand money on a large, corporate scale at all.... hurts my head just thinking about it. I do know it seemed at least yearly they were getting more investment money, and a LOT of it, from (??? who knows where).

    They offer a pretty standard warranty. 1 year scratch warranty on lenses, and a 2 year manufacturers warranty on frames (the latter isn't advertised).

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    Quote Originally Posted by will pockets View Post
    I do know it seemed at least yearly they were getting more investment money, and a LOT of it, from (??? who knows where).
    And there is the rub. WP isn't in the business of selling glasses. Replace glasses with any other widget and the goal is the same. Market Share. That is all they are after. Gain market share by losing money on what they sell, dupe the public with slick marketing that makes real opticians look like "greedy middle men", convince them they are selling the same products at a fraction of the prices. Undercut the competition and put them out of business because glasses aren't the commodity. Information and market share is. Get big enough that another bigger company will by them up. If a company is giving away things to you for nothing, or too good to be true prices, you are commodity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwill212 View Post
    And there is the rub. WP isn't in the business of selling glasses. Replace glasses with any other widget and the goal is the same. Market Share. That is all they are after. Gain market share by losing money on what they sell, dupe the public with slick marketing that makes real opticians look like "greedy middle men", convince them they are selling the same products at a fraction of the prices. Undercut the competition and put them out of business because glasses aren't the commodity. Information and market share is. Get big enough that another bigger company will by them up. If a company is giving away things to you for nothing, or too good to be true prices, you are commodity.
    You aren't wrong!

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    Manufacturing of the eyeglasses and turnaround time. Made in the States or outsourced to Asia?

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    Blue Jumper What it might mean to independent ECPs is a stronger competitor .....................

    Quote Originally Posted by OscarMadison View Post

    Manufacturing of the eyeglasses and turnaround time. Made in the States or outsourced to Asia?



    Sept. 6, 2017


    Warby Parker is taking its expansion from online refraction and eyewear seller, and fledgling bricks-and-mortar retailer, to the next level: opening its own optical labs, according to reporting from Inc. magazine, which recently interviewed the company’s founders, Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa.


    Earlier this year, Warby opened an optical lab–where lenses are cut, inserted into frames and shipped–in the Hudson Valley town of Sloatsburg, NY, a move that Inc. calls “a first step to taking over more of its manufacturing.”


    It’s aggressively opening brick-and-mortar retail locations, and this year it will add 19 to its existing 50. In the past year, Gilboa says, such outlets brought in about half of Warby’s revenue, but in 2017, Warby is primarily a brick-and-mortar retailer.


    Having its own optical lab means the company will control production and distribution, offering better-quality inspections and fewer shipping delays. Warby’s data team is analyzing additional lab locations.


    What it might mean to independent ECPs is a stronger competitor that not only can deliver online refraction and eyewear shopping, but can deliver the product even faster, thanks to control of its own optical labs.


    The question for ROB readers: Will this development put greater pressure on you to deliver products to patients faster, in addition to more inexpensively and virtually?


    Click HERE to read the full report in Inc. magazine.

    https://reviewob.com/warby-parker-now-optical-lab

    RELATED ITEMS:ISSUES IN OPTOMETRY
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    Yes, that lab has been open for a while now, I mentioned it in an earlier post. Quality of jobs from that lab improved over the labs they were previously (and still also) used, but not as much as I would have hoped. It also didn't impact order time at all, Warbys promised delivery time has always been 7-10 business days for SV and 10-12 for progressive. Frames are mostly manufactured in China, with some from limited run collections being made in Japan or Italy. I think they are vaguely looking at American manufacturing, but I don't think any serious steps had been made towards that at least during my time there. However, that wouldn't necessarily be something I would have heard about, either.

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    Redhot Jumper Frames are mostly manufactured in China, with some from limited run collections......

    Quote Originally Posted by will pockets View Post

    Yes, that lab has been open for a while now, I mentioned it in an earlier post. Quality of jobs from that lab improved over the labs they were previously (and still also) used, but not as much as I would have hoped. It also didn't impact order time at all, Warbys promised delivery time has always been 7-10 business days for SV and 10-12 for progressive. Frames are mostly manufactured in China, with some from limited run collections being made in Japan or Italy. I think they are vaguely looking at American manufacturing, but I don't think any serious steps had been made towards that at least during my time there. However, that wouldn't necessarily be something I would have heard about, either.

    .........................thank you "will pockets" for this informative answer.

    How would you describe the quality of optical frames, made in China, as sold retail byWP at just below $ xxx including polycarbonate lenses ?

    I have been around in the optical since the Japanese started to make frames, and for the 1st few years, they were not the best, but improved very fast, and the same happened happened to Chinese quality in optical frames. However their factory pricing is way below anything else on the market, imported into North America or Europe.

    So when the oliner sells on the open market, they are making a decent, if not highly inflated markup, without any personalized service.
    Chris Ryser
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    http://optochemicals.com............................. http://arcoatings.com

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    It will be a matter of time before they add wearer metrics into this. PD and fitting height convenience in one package. Time for independents to up their game in service and turn times. This will apply to labs, as well.
    Our advantage? Knowledge in fitting, quality, troubleshooting and adjustments. Emphasis on knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Ryser View Post
    .........................thank you "will pockets" for this informative answer.

    How would you describe the quality of optical frames, made in China, as sold retail byWP at just below $ xxx including polycarbonate lenses ?
    With a few exceptions the frames are actually very good quality, not just for the price but overall. To be honest they felt more sturdy at times than some premium designer brands. One exception to this is they switched temple styles (made their temples thinner at the end) a few years ago, and since then what was once an embedded metal logo plaque is now a foil sticker adhered on which will ALWAYS fall off, in time. Sometimes it would have fallen off before we even received them. One of my favorite hobbies towards the end was alert Supply Chain at every single instance I ran into it (I'm sure they loved me ; ) ). Obnoxious but no impact on the quality of the frame overall. Where Warby cuts corners is the lens quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lensmanmd View Post
    It will be a matter of time before they add wearer metrics into this. PD and fitting height convenience in one package. Time for independents to up their game in service and turn times. This will apply to labs, as well.
    Our advantage? Knowledge in fitting, quality, troubleshooting and adjustments. Emphasis on knowledge.
    This is your advantage when it comes to competing to Warby as an online retailer. In store experience is quite different, as Warby has dedicated Opticians and they prefer to hire people with optical experience. Their in-house training for Opticians is robust and they will even pay to get you certified.

    My advice? For a SV customer, lighter prescription, there really isn't much you can compete with. Even for a high-index customer, they only charge $30 more for a 1.67 lens. If you want to compete with Warby, focus on what you can offer and they can't: Trivex, brand-name progressives, non crap tier AR, blue protection, etc etc. Don't push designer brands, because if a customer is interested in designer brands they already aren't shopping at Warby. I've even begun to embrace them here, telling people they're great-- for a second pair, and to use their insurance to get a premium lens and frame with me first.

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