Warby Parker isn't just a company; it's a category. As the eyewear maker opened four more physical stores, closed a $41.5 million round of funding, collaborated with the likes of the musician Beck, and expanded its staff to 300, it set the standard for merging online and real-world commerce while maximizing its cool. The influence of the company is so strong that other e-commerce startups began branding themselves as "the Warby Parker of [fill in the blank]" as shorthand to explain their business or to ape some of Warby's glow. While Warby Parker was once the "Netflix of eyeglasses," it's not anymore. For Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, cofounders and co-CEOs, it was about getting consumers to jump ship from the typical experience of paying $600 and picking from hundreds of frames. "We came up with this idea where we ship five frames and you have five days to try them on with no obligation to buy," Blumenthal says. "That to us was a perfectly designed solution. It got over this issue of fit, so people would have the confidence to buy."
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