My new Warby Parker glasses arrived yesterday, and I love them.

Earlier in the year, at Big Omaha, I heard Neil Blumenthal share the Warby Parker story. Neil is one of the co-founders of the company where for every pair of glasses sold they donate a pair to someone in need in South Asia, Africa or Latin America.

The socially conscious part of the company is cool, but I also liked something else. The price. $95 gets you a pair of boutique-quality prescription eyewear. My last pair of glasses? They cost over $500. I hated it back then, and I hated it more the longer I had them. As Neil said, “How do you feel after paying for glasses? I feel like I’ve been kicked in the balls.” Neil talked about how quality eyewear should be affordable.

I delayed getting new glasses because I wanted to try and justify the cost of my $500+ pair. I had them for 54 months. So, the cost per month for the duration of those glasses was roughly $10. I’ll have that monthly average with these new Warby Parker glasses in less than a year. And, someone else in need will get a pair.

Neil talked about how glasses can make such a difference in a person’s life, especially in someone’s life in a developing country. The statistic he used is when someone in need gets glasses it increases productivity 35%. However, it’s not just about the right lenses, but quality frames. People are conscious about the frames they have. They won’t wear the glasses if the frames are ugly. As Neil put it:

No matter your socio-economic class, fashion and style matter. People would rather be blind than ridiculed. Good hearts and intentions lead to unintended consequences with charity sometimes.

Yesterday, when I first started wearing them, I didn’t notice anything different with my vision. When I took them off, though, I noticed how poor my eyesight was without them. It had been four and a half years since my last eye appointment, and my vision had gotten a bit worse. I put them back on and then I noticed how crystal clear everything appeared.

I do like the style of these frames, the Thompson frames, as well. I wanted a bit thicker frames. There were three frames I liked, but this pair was the most comfortable. I enjoy wearing glasses again. My previous pair were bent up and crooked. I was constantly adjusting my glasses to keep them somewhat straight on my face.

The experience of buying glasses online was easy. The home try-on program Warby Parker offers is wonderful. They were great with their communication as well, whether by email or Twitter.

I told a few others at work about Warby Parker, and already two coworkers have bought new glasses through the company. A few others are looking into it as well. They like the cost of the glasses, and being able to donate a pair to someone through their purchase.

I know a number of people who are adamant in supporting companies that are socially conscious. I don’t think any of us is perfect in supporting socially conscious companies. Still, it’s nice to get behind and support those companies when you can. I’m grateful to purchase glasses from Warby Parker.

Here is Neil Blumenthal’s presentation at Big Omaha 2011.

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