In February of 2010, Warby Parker launched into the world and became a global brand and eventually a unicorn. And today, Pair Eyewear wants to do the same.
Pair, the brainchild of Sophia Edelstein and Nathan Kondamuri, wants to be the Warby Parker for children, giving kids and parents a way to affordably shop for glasses online. But Pair takes it one step further with customizable frames, letting kids continually change up their look.
Today at launch, Pair is going live with five base frames (the original frame you've come to recognize with glasses) and 10 top frames (a clip-on customization) for every base frame, bringing them to a total of 50 top frames.
Right now, the market is dominated by a single player, Luxottica, which makes and sells glasses for brands like Oakley, Ray-Ban, Chanel, and owns retailers like Sunglass Hut and Lens Crafters. According to Edelstein, the markup for these glasses is around 3x to 5x, meaning that parents could pay around $400 for just a base level pair of glasses for their child.
"I started wearing glasses when I was eight, and I've worn them my whole life," said cofounder Nathan Kondamuri. "As a kid, you don't know what glasses are and yet you're being forced to wear them. It feels like a medical device."
Pair wants to change that by making glasses fun for kids, letting them change up their look on a whim to suit that day's mood.
Base frames, which include hand-polished acetate frames and anti-reflective, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses, cost $125 and include one top frame. Extra top frames can be purchased for $25.
Like Warby Parker, Pair realized that selling glasses online means creating a way for users to try on the glasses at home. So the company has set up a way for kids/parents to 'try on' cardboard cutouts of the frames and top frames that they like, which they can then keep. This also means that parents don't have to ship back frames they don't want.
And, again, following in the footsteps of Warby Parker, Pair is dedicated to social good, running a buy one, give one program through EYElliance, a non-profit founded by the Vision Spring founder Dr. Jordan Kassalow, which is focused on vision care for young people.
Thus far, the company has raised $125K in seed funding from Creative International Concept and angel investors such as Ullas Naik and Stefan Kennedy.
While the initial product offering is akin to Warby Parker, only time will tell if Pair, which launches today, will have the same long-term success.
- This article originally appeared on TechCrunch.