It may seem odd to think of a shop that sells something as pedestrian as eyeglasses as a happening spot. Yet stroll by WARBY PARKER in Sacramento’s Ice Blocks complex on any given Saturday and it’s impossible not to notice that the retailer is buzzing with more energy than the boccie court at nearby Beast + Bounty. In fact, some days the store is so crowded that customers have to wriggle their way to the shelves lined with frames bearing hip names like Felix, Welty and Chamberlain.
Who knew eyeglasses could generate such zeal? Yes, Warby Parker’s prices are pretty great. Sure, customers rave about the convenience factor built into the business model. (Order in store and your prescription glasses arrive in your mailbox a few days later.) And yeah, they win kudos for donating a pair of glasses for every pair they sell. But the palpable energy inside Warby Parker is bigger than all that.
“It seems weird to say this about a corporate brand, but it feels like they care about you,” says Amrit Rai, who was shopping for glasses with her mother on a recent Saturday. It’s that sort of brand loyalty that wins a company more than half a million Instagram followers and collaborations with tastemakers like Chloe Sevigny and Leith Clark.
In the end, of course, it ultimately comes down the fact that the frames are on-trend and look great. “Coming to a place that’s a destination for eyewear fashion is really interesting. I’ve never seen a store like this,” says Rai. “It’s cool to have this much selection for something we take for granted every day.”