Video Transcript

00:10 Neil Blumenthal: When we were investing our life's savings into the business, we basically just invested in three things. Our first collection, we had to design and manufacture our first glasses. Our website, 'cause we needed a platform to sell, and then a PR chain because we knew that you only have one shot to launch a fashion brand.

00:30 Blumenthal: For us, the most important thing was to launch in one of the best men's book and one of the best women's book, and that was Vogue and GQ. And we were able to sort of get into those magazines, and we launched February 15th, 2010. We had just heard that the monthly subscribers of GQ were gonna get their magazines right before it hit newsstands, which was a few days earlier than we expected. We didn't have the website up yet, so we quickly threw it on. We didn't tell our friends and family that we were just hoping that it wouldn't crash. We ended up hitting our first year's sales target in three weeks and we're just on this crazy, crazy ride. Within four weeks, sold out our top 15 styles, ended up accumulating a waitlist of about 20,000 people. And this was without any advertising, any marketing, just through some very powerful PR, but I think it goes to were there certain components of our brand that helped spur word-of-mouth and lead to a certain virality.

01:38 Blumenthal: For us, to date, we really haven't focused a lot on marketing in the traditional sense. We think of marketing, really, at its core, a lot of it is branding and storytelling, and we've managed to maintain this great trajectory with getting more and more press, that's been super-friendly but more important to that is the word-of-mouth that's been accompanying it. So, what we find is that we'll hit a huge spike when we're in the New York Times, for example. Typically, when you get a spike in sales, it usually drops down. But what we found was that it actually ended up being maintained and created a step-function change in our growth because all those new customers were telling more customers.

02:26 Blumenthal: So, what are some reasons that you can give to people to talk about your brand or company? Not so much a discovery, but everybody's looking for that tidbit to talk about at the dinner table, so what is it? For us, it was the $95 price point. It was the fashion aspect of our glasses. It was the buy a pair, give a pair. It was the innovative business model of our home try-on program. And we find over 50% of our traffic and sales is driven by word-of-mouth and that's something that we wanna continue because it's certainly, of any form of marketing, it's got the highest return on investment 'cause it doesn't cost you much. And those customers that come in through a referral tend to buy more over their lifetime.

03:11 Blumenthal: So, we've been on this crazy growth path. We now have over 60 employees. Between 2010 and 2011, we grew 500% and again, without much marketing. What we found is that if we can do some events that piqued people's curiosity and had the core components of what makes our brand exciting, which is the design aspect. Doing stuff that's unexpected, having a coherent story around it, and ultimately doing good, that that leads to more and more word-of-mouth, more press and ultimately, more growth.

03:55 Blumenthal: This is an example of our first fashion presentation which we did in the New York Public Library. The New York Public Library was special to us because, [A] it wasn't a typical place for a fashion show and [B] it was actually where we discovered the name "Warby Parker". It came from two early Jack Kerouac characters and there was an exposé on his work in the New York Public Library. And there were these two characters from his unpublished journals, Warby Pepper and Zagg Parker. So, we ended up putting together a...