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    這家公司號稱眼鏡界的小米,創始人回顧創業歷程

    Dinah Eng 2019年06月16日

    該公司大幅降低時尚鏡框的價格,顛覆了行業,報道稱其估值已達17億美元。

    戴夫·吉勒博阿(左)和尼爾·布魯門薩爾,今年4月攝于Warby Parker在曼哈頓的產品展示廳。圖片來源:Photograph by Rebecca Greenfield for Fortune

    戴夫·吉勒博阿和尼爾·布魯門薩爾是眼鏡公司Warby Parker的聯合創始人及聯合首席執行官,該公司大幅降低時尚鏡框的價格,顛覆了行業。目前公司在美國和加拿大經營著90多家實體店,報道稱其估值已達17億美元。《財富》雜志對兩位創始人做了采訪。

    戴夫·吉勒博阿:我父母都是醫生。我想為世界多做貢獻,想著學商業會有幫助。但在金融服務業工作了一段時間后,我決定同步攻讀賓夕法尼亞大學的生物技術碩士和沃頓商學院的工商管理碩士。我以為我會當科學家,研究一些偉大的東西,然后實現商業化。

    尼爾·布魯門薩爾:我媽媽是護士,爸爸是注冊會計師。我上的是位于曼哈頓的一所規模很小很有使命感的貴格會學校。后來我在一家非營利組織工作,該組織在國外培訓婦女如何做小生意,向有需要的人銷售眼鏡。人們對在非營利組織工作的人比較輕視,所以我認為去沃頓讀書有助于事業發展。我在沃頓遇到了(聯合創始人)杰夫·雷德、安迪·亨特和戴夫,后來我們成了最好的朋友。

    吉勒博阿:在2008年夏天開學前,我花了幾個月背包環游世界,在飛機上把眼鏡弄丟了。結果第一學期大部分時間我都沒有戴眼鏡,因為眼鏡太貴了,我很震驚。花200美元就能買部新手機,一副[設計師設計的]眼鏡居然要700美元。我開始向周圍人抱怨說,眼鏡這么貴真是難以置信。

    布魯門薩爾:安迪問,為什么人們不去網上買眼鏡?我知道利潤空間很大,也知道在哪里制造眼鏡。

    吉勒博阿:所以有一天晚上,我們約好在當地的一家酒吧見面討論想法,凌晨2點到家時,當中的一個人已經發了三頁的電子郵件描述商業構想。其他人立刻回應,從一開始我們就非常興奮。

    布魯門薩爾:最大的挑戰是如何快速行動,深思熟慮,還要平衡好重點。眼鏡既是時尚配飾也是保健產品,我們希望打造高質量的產品和具有文化影響力的品牌。

    吉勒博阿:每個人分工負責一塊。我負責網站建設、建立供應鏈、雇用第一個員工、,設立電話系統,以及客服系統。

    布魯門薩爾:我主要負責品牌,關注價值觀和使命。我們花了很多時間從客戶和焦點小組獲得反饋。我們想了解陸遜梯卡(眼鏡行業的巨頭)和大型眼鏡零售商的商業模式。我們既害怕又敬畏。但我們很清楚一副眼鏡的價格可以從500美元降到99美元。

    吉勒博阿:我們四個人各投3萬美元,持有股份相等。2010年2月,我們上學的時候就創辦了公司。創業的過程非常消耗精力,我只得放棄了第二個學位。

    布魯門薩爾:我們之前以為得求朋友和家人來買眼鏡。

    吉勒博阿:所有錢都花在了網站建設和最初的庫存上。我們聘請了一位時尚公關,因為要打入市面上的雜志,建立可信度和關系。后來《GQ》和《Vogue》時尚雜志寫了文章,社交媒體也開始關注。

    Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal are cofounders and co-CEOs of Warby Parker—the eyewear company that disrupted the industry by drastically lowering prices for stylish frames. It now operates more than 90 physical stores in the U.S. and Canada and is reportedly valued at $1.7 billion.

    Dave Gilboa: Both my parents are doctors. I wanted to make a positive impact on the world, and I thought it would be helpful to learn about business. But after working in financial services for a while, I decided to go simultaneously for a master’s in biotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA at Wharton. I thought I’d find a scientist working on something great and help to commercialize it.

    Neil Blumenthal: My mom was a nurse, and my dad was a CPA. I went to a small Quaker school in Manhattan that was very mission-driven. I ended up working for a nonprofit that trained women in foreign countries on how to start their own businesses selling eyeglasses to people in need. People under?estimate folks with a nonprofit background, and I thought that having an imprimatur from Wharton would help my career. That’s where I met [cofounders] Jeff Raider, Andy Hunt, and Dave, and we became best friends.

    Gilboa: In the summer of 2008, before starting school, I took a few months to backpack around the world and lost my glasses on a plane. I went most of the first semester without glasses because I was shocked at the cost. I could buy a new phone for $200, but a pair of [designer] glasses cost $700. I started complaining to anyone who’d listen that I couldn’t believe glasses were so expensive.

    Blumenthal: Andy asked, why aren’t people buying glasses online? I knew the margins were big and knew where we could get glasses produced.

    Gilboa: So we agreed to meet at a local bar one night to kick around ideas, and when we got home at 2 a.m., one of us sent out a three-page email about the business idea. The rest of us responded and were really excited from the get-go.

    Blumenthal: The biggest challenges were how could we move fast enough, thoughtfully enough, and balance our priorities. For a fashion accessory and health care product, we wanted to have a quality product and a brand that would influence culture.

    Gilboa: Each of us took the lead on something. I took point on building the website, setting up our supply chain, hiring our first employee, setting up a phone system, and the customer service system.

    Blumenthal: I worked on branding, looking at our values and mission. We spent a lot of time getting feedback from customers and focus groups. We wanted to understand the business model of Luxottica [the 800-pound gorilla of the eyewear industry] and the large optical retailers. We were scared and awed. But we knew we could lower the cost of a pair of glasses from $500 to $99.

    Gilboa: The four of us each put in $30,000, so that we’d have equal stakes. We launched in February 2010 while we were still in school. The process of starting a business was all-consuming. I had to drop my second degree program.

    Blumenthal: We thought that we’d have to beg friends and families to buy glasses from us.

    Gilboa: We spent all our money on getting the website built and the initial inventory. We hired a fashion publicist because we knew we needed to get into established publications to develop credibility and relationships. We ended up getting articles in GQ and Vogue, and social media picked us up.

    ****

    我們的商業建議

    戴夫·吉勒博阿,39歲,Warby Parker聯合創始人兼聯合首席執行官

    永遠不要把關鍵業務外包出去。

    我們幾個都不會做網站,后來征求建議,有些機構投標。我們選擇了最便宜的一家,但在幾個月后才發現犯了錯誤。他們根本做不到之前的承諾,所以后來我們解雇了那家公司。

    現在,我們開發了大部分內部使用的技術,確保對客戶體驗充分掌控。我們自己開發了網站,還有叫POE(或各項業務終端)的銷售終端系統,兩個應用程序也是由內部開發的。

    Dave Gilboa, 39, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker

    Never outsource critical components of your business.

    None of us were qualified to build the website, so we solicited proposals and got a handful of bids from agencies. We chose the cheapest option, but a few months in, we realized it was a mistake. Their execution wasn’t what they promised, so we ended up firing them.

    Now we develop most of the technology we use in-house to ensure we maintain as much control over the customer experience as possible. We’ve developed our website, a point-of-sale system that we call POE (or point of everything), and both of our apps internally.

    ****

    布魯門薩爾:《GQ》提到過在家試戴的鏡框,但當初上市后48小時內,眼鏡就被客戶拿光了,只能暫停發放。三周內我們就達到了第一年的目標,庫存也空了。人們開始打電話抱怨。我們誠懇道歉,解釋公司剛剛起步。我們發現,創業時表現得越脆弱和透明,跟客戶建立的關系就越深。

    吉勒博阿:客戶開始支持我們的業務。他們知道我們在努力讓他們開心。現在公司里已經有2000名員工,讓用戶開心也一直是我們不斷實踐的企業文化。

    布魯門薩爾:我們畢業后,杰夫回到了他工作過的私募股權基金,然后創立了Harry’s。安迪接著創辦了自己的風險投資公司Elephant。Warby Parker搬到了紐約的一處閣樓,顧客可以當場試戴眼鏡。我們通過辦公室和SoHo的一家快閃店賣出了價值數百萬美元的眼鏡,所以2013年4月才有信心為第一家店面簽下長期租約。

    吉勒博阿:我們拿下了初步勝利。后來開的店越來越多,公司就聘請驗光師,讓人們能更容易拿到配鏡建議。我們也提供遠程驗光服務,人們在家就能檢查視力。社會使命也得以拓展。全世界有500萬人通過“買一副,送一副”計劃獲得了免費眼鏡,我們正為紐約市和巴爾的摩的學生提供免費視力檢查和免費眼鏡。

    布魯門薩爾:最優秀的企業能解決真正的問題。我們的創業就是現成的例子,公司能擴大規模,能盈利,還能不收高價就為世界做貢獻。(財富中文網)

    本文另一版本登載于《財富》雜志2019年6月刊,標題為《回顧Warby Parker的創業過程》。

    譯者:馮豐

    審校:夏林

    Blumenthal: GQ referred to our Home Try-On frames, but within 48 hours of launch, all our glasses were out with customers, so we had to suspend that. We hit our first-year target in three weeks and ran out of inventory. People started calling to complain. We would apologize profusely and explain that the company just got started. We found that the more vulnerable and transparent you are, the deeper the relationship you build with customers.

    Gilboa: The customers became champions of the business. They saw that we tried to make them happy. With 2,000 employees now, that’s a lesson we continue to practice in our corporate culture.

    Blumenthal: Once we graduated, Jeff went back to the private equity fund he had worked for, then went on to found Harry’s. Andy went on to start Elephant, his own venture capital firm. Warby Parker moved to a loft space in New York, and customers came to try on glasses there. We sold millions of dollars’ worth of glasses through our office and a pop-up store in SoHo, which gave us the confidence to sign a long-term lease for our first store in April 2013.

    Gilboa: We’re still at the top of the first inning. As we open more stores, we’re hiring optometrists to make it easy for people to get their prescriptions. We’re using telemedicine so people can do vision checks from home. We’ve expanded our social mission. Five million people around the world have gotten free glasses through our Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program, and we’re now giving free eye exams and free glasses to students in New York City and Baltimore.

    Blumenthal: The best businesses solve real problems. We’ve created an example of a business that can scale, be profitable, and do good in the world without charging a premium for it.?

    A version of this article appears in the June 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “Warby Parker in Hindsight.”

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