Warby Parker will begin selling glasses for children as part of a three-month pilot program launching in New York City today, an extension of its continued strategy of using regional test trials before rolling out new products nationally.
The kids’ service will be scaled down models of adult versions and retail for $95, the same price as the adult service, which includes frames, vision testing, prescriptions and shipping. The children’s glasses will be available in-store only at eight brick-and-mortar stores in New York City during the course of the trial period.
Warby Parker, which is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion, intends to use the pilot to gather insights and data to inform inventory and best practices before rolling out the frames nationwide and online, according to co-founder and CEO Dave Gilboa. The expansion strategy for children’s frames will mirror Warby Parker’s previous approach of piloting small batches of new product in regional markets before expanding nationally, he said.
As a result, marketing for the pilot will be limited, and is not intended to generate widespread awareness, Gilboa said. By means of outreach, the brand has reached out to existing New York customers and local parents via email in order to notify them of the new program.
“We really want to understand how the kids and adults are engaging with our frames since this is a different customer that we’re going after,” Gilboa said. “After the pilot we’ll take our learnings and look to scale this up nationally and launch more collections down the road. Our plan is learn as much as possible over the next few weeks.”
Today Warby Parker has 60 stores across the United States in addition to its e-commerce business. New York has continued to be a particular area of focus for the company, as the children’s pilot comes on the heels of Warby Parker expanding its footprint in New York at the end of 2017 with the opening of new stores at Rockefeller Center and on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
One of Warby Parker’s new children’s frames
Despite growing consumer demand for kids’ glasses at Warby Parker, Gilboa said the decision to wait until now was intentional, as the company dedicated resources to shifting from its online-only model to brick-and-mortar and improving prescription offerings.
“One of the reasons we’ve had success to date is being deliberate and not chasing down too many ideas at the same time,” he said. “We’ve pretty methodical about products and selections. We like to have time to fully vet and test new products that we’re producing.”
Moving into children’s glasses will ultimately serve as an important opportunity for future growth for Warby Parker: According to data from Global Market Insights, the eyewear market is expected to be worth more than $180 billion by 2024, with glasses for kids acting as “the major contributor to revenue growth.”