Warby Parker’s Dave Gilboa on
Starting a Small Business
“Warby Parker is an eyewear brand sold exclusively online for $95 including prescription lenses, which is a fraction of the price of what eyeglasses cost in retail stores. And for every pair of glasses sold, we distribute a pair to someone in need. “
Dave Gilboa’s Advice:
- The best businesses solve real customer needs. The most valuable thing we did before and after launch was spend time talking with and understanding our customers and their needs.
- Resist distractions and stay focused on the biggest, most disruptive opportunity. We are constantly offered opportunities to expand into other categories and partner with different sales channels. It is easy to get enticed by activities than can drive short-term growth but ultimately hurt the company in the long-term.
- Follow your passion. Starting a company requires a million different sacrifices and painfully long hours—you won’t succeed if your heart is not in it. For us, we were motivated as a founding team by wanting to produce beautiful but affordable eyewear, but also to create an organization that has a really positive impact on the world.
- Be unexpected and give people a reason to talk about you. Whether that is including hand-written notes to customers or selling something quirky like a monocle—being creative and standing out from the crowd goes a long way.
I wish I had known…
Many people think that the most important part of a start-up is the initial idea (you often hear “I want to start a company but don’t have any ideas”). What they don’t realize is that coming up with ideas is actually the easy part—the hard part is executing on them.