It was 4 years ago when Warby Parker, the then exclusively online retailer of fashionable and affordable eyewear, first entered the world of brick-and-mortar. Using a classic yellow school bus as a mobile storefront, their cross-country retail tour, called The Warby Parker Class Trip, went from city to city, showcasing their $95 frames to thousands of curious shoppers.
Now, with over 30 brick-and-mortar stores, the school bus is back- proving that Pop Up is both an affective means of testing a new retail channel as well as an excellent way to generate new business and buzz.
The school bus storefront is currently parked in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and will be selling eyewear now through August 21st. In a recent article detailing the event, Suzette Palmey of the Philadelphia Inquirer explains the history behind the brand and how Pop Up has a played a role since its inception:
Warby cofounder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa said the company fills a need. “In 2010, you could go online and buy a lot of consumer products, but not glasses,” he said.
So Gilboa and three fellow M.B.A. students, Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, and Jeffrey Raider, hatched a plan. They invited customers to Blumenthal’s apartment at 22nd Street and Delancey Place in Center City to try on frames in person.
“We laid out glasses on the dining table . . . and loved the experience,” Gilboa, now 35, recalled. “We learned a lot about product design and marketing.”
After graduating from Wharton in spring 2010, the foursome leased a few hundred square feet in a New York office to run Warby Parker. They later tested pop-up shops in the city. In October 2012, the Warby Parker Class Trip hit the road, visiting 16 cities in just over 15 months.
“We found out which cities were the most receptive” for opening stores, said Gilboa, who shares the co-founder/co-CEO title with Blumenthal. Hunt and Raider are cofounders. “It gave us the confidence to sign permanent leases.”
Whether you’re an established retailer looking to expand your customer reach, or just dipping your toes into the world of brick-and-mortar, Pop Up remains one of the most affective means of strengthening your business and brand. With Westfield POP your business now has access to Westfield’s millions of shoppers, in some of the world’s top markets including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Connect with the Westfield POP team today and learn more about opening your own Pop Up with Westfield.