Warby Parker launches pilot program for kids’ frames

Warby Parker has been around for seven years, but today the company is finally unveiling a new product category.

In a 12-week pilot program, Warby Parker is now offering kids’ frames to folks in the NYC area. The company is pulling from some of its most popular frames, shrinking them down to fit kids 8 years and up (Jr.) and kids ages 4-7 (Jr. Jr.).

But why not go big with the launch of kids’ frames?

“When we look back over the last seven years at our growth and success, we think is due to focus,” said Warby Parker cofounder and CEO Neil Blumenthal. “Ultimately, strategy is what you say no to. We received that advice early on, and we believe in scaling with integrity. What that means is moving quickly but in a way that’s deliberate. Whenever we do something, we want to ensure we do it well.”

That said, this program doesn’t offer all the same convenience that Warby Parker is known for. Parents will have to bring their kids into one of the NYC locations for try-ons, and purchased frames will then be available for delivery nationwide or in-store pickup.

Blumenthal explained that Warby Parker didn’t offer online try-on to ensure that the experience was handled delicately for kids and their parents.

“Serving kids is a little bit different than serving adults, and we want to make sure that were being as thoughtful as possible,” said Blumenthal. “Since we’re often dealing with both children and parents, and it might be their first pair of glasses, we want to be extra judicious to ensure it’s a great experience for the child.”

He added that doing the transactions in-store is the best way for Warby to learn about this new market.

Historically, Warby Parker made a name for itself letting users choose five pairs to try on at home and return before choosing their preferred frames.

Each kids’ pair will cost $95, just like the adult frames, and they’ll be available in acetate.

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Warby Parker has a history of using the business for social good, offering a pair of glasses to underserved communities for each pair sold. The same is true for the kids pilot program, with each pair purchased going towards the Pupils Project program. The Pupils Project program provides free vision screenings, eye exams, and glasses to children at NYC’s Community schools.

Warby Parker isn’t the first startup to dive into kids’ glasses frames. Pair Eyewear, which launched in October of last year, aims to be the Warby Parker of kids’ glasses. The startup gives kids the ability to try on frames at home, via cardboard replicas, and purchase customizable frames at a relatively affordable price point.

Over the next three months, Warby Parker will eventually decide how to handle the kids’ business. Until then, only NYC parents will have the opportunity to pick up some WP specs for their kids.