TAMPA — Popular online glasses retailer Warby Parker wants to convince parents to send kids to school in style this year with eyewear from its new children’s line.
The once online-only glasses retailer has expanded in the last five years to include brick-and-mortar shops, like the one inside Tampa’s Oxford Exchange on Kennedy Boulevard.
For now, Warby’s physical stores are the only place kids can try on the new line a down-sized frames. The line — which includes frames Warby die-hards will recognize such as "Wilkie," "Louise," and "Daisy" — launched today.
There are six kids frames in the line with sizes for children between 4 and 7 years old and another for 8 and older. The glasses, including lenses, are set at Warby’s standard $95 price point. Finished frames can either be picked up in-store or mailed home.
The company was founded by a group of graduate students who were not only amazed by the typical cost of glasses, but also that no one was selling online. By 2010, warbyparker.com was launched with GQ dubbing it the "Netflix of eyewear."
Shoppers are able to select five frames to try on that are shipped to their homes before choosing which ones to buy. Most frames and lens combos are $95, but progressive lenses cost more. Premium frame designs can be up to $145.
The founders have said their low cost comes from selling direct, bypassing the conglomerates that either own, or have exclusive contracts with, designer brands, distributors and stores.
Since they began disrupting the traditional glasses sale market eight years ago, copycats have popped up such as EyeBuyDirect. Zenni Optical’s sales went up 500 percent after Warby Parker launched.
Warby Parker has gained a cult-like following and is reportedly valued at more than $1 billion.
In 2013, the online retailer began opening physical retail spaces. Its first was in New York City; shops in Miami and Tampa followed.
It now has more than 70 locations to meet the demands of traditional shoppers, who’d rather go to a store and try on several glasses over the at-home, try-on program.
The company has also just started offering $40 eye exams in an app to get an up-to-date prescription. Shoppers can also go to their usual eye doctor and forward that scrip to Warby Parker.
The kids glasses come following a successful trial in New York. The company also says it will donate frames to a child in need for every pair that’s sold.
The Warby Parker inside the Oxford Exchange is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week.
Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.