A storefront recently opened on Brand Boulevard across from the Americana at Brand, in the old Masonic building area near Shake Shack, Philz Coffee and Mainland Poke. And while many will notice it as new, the name – Warby Parker – gives little away as to what it sells. It could be clothes, jewelry, laptop accessories, dog bakery goods, designer eyewear or books.
In reality, it’s the last two – designer eyewear and books – that stock the shelves at Warby Parker. But even knowing what its wares are, it’s still not quite what you think.
Imagine a typical designer eyewear shop; it might have glass tables, bright paneling and accent lights, all in one color or shades between two colors, individual display cases behind glass and super expensive eyeglasses with a logo on the side. Not Warby Parker. Its new store is colorful with each display section a different color of the spectrum and features bookshelves filled with books bound in that color. Below each display shelf, which is open and accessible to patrons who want to grab a pair of glasses to try them on, are books for sale from authors that the staff and company have found to be kindred spirits with the mission of Warby Parker. And each store is unique with the back wall painted with a mural by a local artist. The Glendale location features a beautiful mural by local artist Andrew Ho, which depicts a cozy book-nook in a home with palm trees outside the window and glasses resting on the desk beside. In addition to the mural, each location has an exclusive design of glasses or sunglasses, with Glendale’s exclusive pair being sunglasses with clear frames and blue mirrored lenses.
Warby Parker invited me down and gave me a pair of glasses to try out and, after three weeks of wearing them, I must say I am impressed. I hardly ever wore my glasses before, but I have worn this pair every day since I got them and they have really grown on me. I’ve tested them in the mountains, around town, out at nice dinners and even at two theme parks – they stayed on my face during Big Thunder Mountain, so ’nuff said. Like a good pair of glasses should do, you forget you are wearing them most of the time until someone compliments them. There are many styles to choose from, all sourced from several different designers, so there is something for everyone’s taste. After some consultation with the team members in the store, who double as style consultants, I chose the Rigby, a circular frame with raised corners and they really work for me. After about a week, I noticed some weird scratches on the lens that I couldn’t figure how they got there – I had been so careful! When I called customer support, I was sent a new pair with no questions asked.
The best part is the glasses are $95 all-in ($145 for the high-end styles) and, when you buy a pair, Warby Parker gives a pair to someone in need. Since the company started in 2010, it has given away over 3 million pairs of glasses and trained in-need men and women to perform eye exams, both to give them a job and to continue the program of giving free eye exams along with the glasses. So in addition to being great glasses and making the consumer feel and look good, positive energy is put out into the world besides.
And Warby Parker? Oh, that’s just a Jack Kerouac reference to a couple of characters from his journal – Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker. Find the local location at 232 S. Brand Blvd., open now. For more information, visit WarbyParker.com.
By Charly Shelton