WorthIt: Reviewing Products Worth Your Hard Earned Money

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Is Warby Parker Worth It?

Is Warby Parker worth it

Were you shocked at how much you spent last time you bought a new pair of glasses? As a lifetime glasses wearer and annoyingly value conscious Corporate Buyer, I've also often contemplated the giant sums of money I've spent on buying assembled plastic and glass. The $400-500 price tag and what I'm getting in return just don't seem to add up. Shouldn't improving technology and innovation be driving down the price of glasses over time? What gives? Why are glasses so expensive?

Why are glasses so expensive?

Is Warby Parker worth it

The high cost of running a brick and mortar operation is built into every retail product.

The truth is, when you buy glasses from a retail store, you're not just paying for the glasses. The costs of running a brick and mortar retail operation including rent, utilities, advertising and paying staff to physically be there are all built into the price of the glasses. The store also pays licensing fees to the manufacturers for the right to sell their products. All of these costs are billed to the end customer in the form of higher prices.

Furthermore, it is a little-known fact that most of the major retail operations are owned by one company. LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical and Target optical all fall under the umbrella of multi-billion dollar giant Luxottica, the largest company in the eye-wear industry. Luxotica also controls about 80% of the major eyeglass brands, and manufactures over 30 popular brands of frames including Ray Ban, Burbury, Chanel, Prada and Versace! And if you're not buying these brands from one a Luxotica-owned store, the store you're buying them from paid a hefty fee to Luxotica to stock those frames. Such market dominance means that the giant conglomerate has the ability to set the price of its products as high as the consumer is willing to pay for them. The more market share they gain, the easier it is for them to set the price of glasses.

TruTV's "Adam Ruins Everything" does an awesome job exposing the eyewear industry monopoly:

How do I get the best deal on glasses?

Eliminate the middleman by purchasing online. Several reputable online companies have emerged in recent years that offer quality glasses at a fraction of the price you'd pay at a traditional retailer. When you buy online, your glasses go straight from the manufacturer to the end consumer, so you pay as close as possible to the product's true manufacturing cost.

One such online company, Warby Parker, has been making waves in the eyewear industry as it seeks to challenge the status quo. In a true David and Goliath story, company founders Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider have sought to take on an industry giant by shedding light on the artificially inflated prices charged for mass-produced glass and plastic, and demanding that those in need of glasses can find a product that meets their needs without breaking the bank

Is Warby Parker Worth It?

Warby Parker is definitely worth the cost, offering a high quality product for a reasonable cost. WarbyParker customers are able to find the exact same high quality products they'd find in store at a fraction of the price. The company sources premium raw materials from Italy, and hand assembles every pair they make. And every pair of glasses is made custom – just for you.

As a lifetime glasses wearer, I can say with complete sincerity that I wish something like Warby Parker had emerged sooner. My new glasses feel just as sturdy and look just as good as the $400-500 glasses I'm used to buying, and for the first time I feel I've actually gotten value out of buying a pair of glasses.

Initially, I was worried about the hassle I would have go through in having to exchange or return the glasses if I didn't like them when they arrived. Fortunately, I love my first and only pair, so I didn't get to experience the return process first hand. But before buying my first pair, the salesperson I spoke to assured me that you simply send them back if you don't like them and Warby Parker will send you another pair. It's that easy. If you prefer traditional retail method of shopping for glasses but still don't want to pay ridiculous prices, they do have a few retail locations in major metropolitan areas.

With Warby Parker, there are no hidden fees. At retail stores, the price you see advertised is rarely what you end up paying, as anti-glare, UV protection and other critical features can add an extra $100 each feature to your price tag. Warby Parker includes scratch resistant coating, anti-reflective coating, moisture repellent and UV protection with every pair at no additional cost.

Is Warby Parker worth it?

Warby Parker: Long Term Value

We crunched some numbers and prepared a quick study to highlight the long term value of Warby Parker, and just how much money a glasses wearer can save by making the switch. If you buy a new pair of glasses every two years at a traditional retail store, spending $500 each time, you would have spent $5000 between the ages of 20 and 40.

Buying your new glasses every two years through Warby Parker at $150 per pair means you'll have dished out $1500 over a 20 year period. A $3500 cost saving.

If you decided to invest your extra $350 every two years (or $175 per year) in an index fund yielding 7% average growth per year, you would end up with $8120 extra dough in your pocket. That's a $3500 cost savings plus about $4600 in additional profit (interest earned) and hours of your life saved by not having to spend time having to visit and browse through several stores. Less work and more profit – true added value!

Is Warby Parker worth the money

How to buy glasses online

Are you ready to join the online eyewear movement and save some money in the process? Follow these easy steps and you'll be looking fresh and lining your pockets in no time.

1. Go for a checkup and get your prescription.

Is Warby Parker worth it?

Unfortunately, this is the only part of the process that may require leaving the comfort of your home. Most eye care professionals recommend getting an eye exam every one to two years. The cost of an eye exam can range anywhere between $50 - $200 depending on where you go. You can usually save money on your eye exam by going to Walmart Optical or Costco Optical. Expect to pay $50 - $75. (The optical department at each store is run independently and can set their own prices.)

There is one way to get your prescription without getting an eye exam. A new free tool from glassesusa.com is a great time and money saver for anyone looking to buy glasses online. This tool scans your current glasses to determine your prescription. (If you haven't been for an exam in one year or more however, you might want to schedule an exam just in case your prescription has changed.) There is a great guide on how to use the tool available here.

2. Get your frame size.

Is Warby Parker worth it?

You can find your frame size on the inside of your current glasses. Take a look and you will see a two digit number, followed by a square, then another two digit number, a space and finally a three digit number. The first number is your eye size and ranges from 40 to 62. The second number is your bridge size and ranges from 14 to 24. The third number is your temple size and falls within a range of 120 to 150.

3. Try the glasses on virtually.

Is Warby Parker worth it?

Many online eyewear retailers have an awesome tool which allows you to see what any pair looks like on your face. Just take a selfie, upload the image and try on the ones you like until you find the perfect match. My first time trying this widget I was surprised by how accurate it was.

If you've ever tried on glasses in a store, seeing what they look like on your face can be quite a challenge without prescription lenses. These tools avoid that problem, and give you a much better idea of what a pair of glasses will look like on without the need for uncomfortable squinting!

4. Pick your favorite pair of frames.

Is Warby Parker worth it?

Once you've tried on a few pairs with the virtual tool and compared a few looks, pick your favourite! If you can't decide on one pair, lower cost of buying online sometimes makes it tempting to buy more than one ;) .

5. Pick your lenses.

Is Warby Parker worth it?

This is where you'll enter your prescription information.

The site you choose to buy your glasses from may give you the option of picking a lens material. If they don't, find out what material they use.


Pros: Standard plastic lenses are typically lightweight, which makes the comfortable for the wearer. They also have good impact resistance.

Cons: Prone to scratching. If you're buying plastic lenses, make sure they have a scratch resistant coating.

Mid/High Index Plastic

Pros: A fantastic option for glasses wearers requiring a stronger prescription who don't want a thick lens. Mid and High index plastics allow a lot of strength to be packed into a thin, lightweight lens.

Cons: More expensive than standard plastic. If you don't have a strong prescription, it's better to go with standard plastic and save yourself the extra money.


Pros: Polycarbonate is extremely tough material – it's the stuff they use to make bullet proof glass, so go this route if you have a habit of dropping your glasses! It's also a good option for kids because it's shatterproof. They are about 20% lighter than plastic and have up to 10x the impact resistance.

Polycarbonate is an excellent choice for rimless eyewear.

Polycarbonate scratches more easily than plastic, so scratch resistant coating is essential. Higher cost than standard plastic or glass.


Pros: Very similar to polycarbonate, also Trivex offers you crisper vision. Is also characterized by high impact resistance – this material was originally developed for military applications!

Cons: Prone to scratching. Higher cost than standard plastic or glass.


Pros: Higher scratch resistance than polycarbonate. Typically lowest cost.

Cons: Low impact resistance, tends to shatter. Heaviest of all materials – you will notice a difference after a few hours of the heavier glasses resting on your face! Also, lenses made from glass also don't offer any UV protection, so you'll have to pay extra for the UV coating.

6. Check out and pay.

Is Warby Parker worth it?

Check out the items in your shopping cart, enter your payment and shipping details, and wait for your beautiful new glasses to arrive!

7. Get adjustments if necessary.

Is Warby Parker worth it?

When you order your glasses online, you may find that they may require some minor adjustments, tightening or loosening to get them to sit according to how you like to wear them. Before ordering, make sure the site you've chosen is accommodating when it comes to making post order adjustments.

Some online shops are now offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is a great feature to check for. They'll allow you to send your glasses back, and order another until you find the perfect pair for you.

Warby Parker Toronto
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