How David Kind beat Warby Parker
Online Opticians are not all created equal. Here’s how David Kind caught my eye.
Any wearer of glasses will tell you your first pair is a big deal. Without realizing it I had been walking around with what could only be described as real-life low resolution settings. That first pair was like bumping life to HD.
I wish for the sake of this post I could pinpoint the marketing campaign that Warby Parker initially caught my attention with. Whatever it was I remember being really taken by the company. Their website was beautiful, the home try-on was clever, and the price was beyond reasonable. The first pair I ever purchased was the Zagg (pictured above, now discontinued from what I can tell).
I initially bought them for driving at night. I noticed the road signs were becoming more and more cryptic and knew I needed to take the leap. What I didn’t anticipate was that I would end up wearing them
I’ll never forget taking the trash out the first time I had them on. When I walked inside fifteen minutes later, perplexed, my wife asked me what was going on. My response was simply and eloquently,
“The trees… so many leaves… I can see them all.”
I was blown away by how unknowingly bad my vision had become. From that moment forward I knew I’d be wearing glasses. And I knew they would be Warby Parkers… or so I thought.
“But why not contacts?”
I’m glad you asked, internet person. Quick pause for story time. You see when I was 9 my brother and I were throwing an airplane made of K’nex back and fourth while waiting for my dad to pack up the minivan for our big road trip to California. It looked sort of like this:
Now, my brother will tell you I was “not paying attention”, but somehow his throw went rogue and connected solidly with my left eye.
A quick detour to the ER validated the endless flow of tears pouring down my screaming face. I had a nice little corneal laceration.
As a result, I spent the entire road trip (whether we were walking the Vegas strip, building sand castles at the beach, or lining up to high-five Mickey and Donald) with a massive wad of gauze taped over half my face.
Since that fateful flight I’ve been avoiding jamming plastics of any kind into my eye, contacts included.
“OK… fine ya wimp, how about laser eye surgery?”
Laser eye surgery is by far the most futuristic sounding option. I hear good things, I really do. But I just can’t get behind it.
Some cynical part of me is convinced that the day after I get zapped they’d come out with some new-tech solution that’s faster, safer, and will include sub-superhero options like the ability to see in perma-snapchat filters, classic sci-fi xray vision, or straight up laser vision and I’ll be over here stuck with some outdated, run of the mill, 20/20 regular eyes.
And really, who wants that? When you could have this:
But I digress. When it was time to get new glasses without thinking about it logged back on to WP, ordered a few for try on and waited. When they arrived I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed. Where my original pair felt high quality and sturdy, the new sets felt a bit flimsy and cheap.
Now, it could have entirely been the styles I chose for try-on, so I ordered another round… and was just not blown away by any of them either. Even if there is no difference in the quality of their glasses compared to a couple of years ago I was suddenly left wanting more than what Warby Parker had to offer.
Eyes, meet David Kind.
I think it was my wife who first mentioned I should check out David Kind. She follows Bev Weidner on instagram (who is a freaking riot btw), and Bev had posted about getting new glasses through them a while back.
The thing is, even though it was a sponsored post by DK I didn’t care. Bev’s zany humor disarmed my typically guarded view, and convinced me to consider giving them a try.
So I checked out the site (which is exceptional from a user experience stand point), selected some glasses (which took absolutely no time), and placed an order for free at home try on (which took even less time than that).
Enter the “Personal Stylist”
Upon receiving your at home try on box you can tell David Kind isn’t cutting any corners.
The presentation of the home try on box was perfect, the glasses themselves are top quality, and there was even a hand written note from an assigned personal stylist. (Mine was Sami.)
With a quick selfie she helped me select the perfect pair based on skin tones, face shape, and eye color.
Better still, she used the selfie to help set the proper “ocular center height” and “segment height” for my order. In addition to the glasses I selected for try on, Sami included a few pairs she felt would be a good fit for me.
So I placed an order.
It shipped just 4 days later. And arrived just 3 days after that. So it took just one week to have my finished glasses in hand.
The single biggest thing I noticed that was different (that the home try on couldn’t show) was the lenses. I will say it took a good 20–30 minutes for my eyes to adjust to the new lenses.
I didn’t even know it until I had the new glasses on, but my old Warby Parker lenses actually caused a slight but noticeable ‘fisheye’ distortion where the curve of the lens slightly warped the edges of my vision. Subconsciously I was so used to the way the old lenses made the world look that I wasn’t quite ready for a proper, un-warped world. Once I adjusted the difference was profound.
It wasn’t until cruising around their site later (to write this post actually), that I stumbled across an explanation about their lenses (pictured below.)
And then it happened- after a day of wearing my new David Kind glasses and I felt something I had not felt in a long time. And that thing I felt was… nothing.
For the first time in years I forgot they were even there. No more adjusting. No more fisheye distortion. Thanks to the help of Sami and the crew at David Kind I had high quality, proper fitting glasses.
I had such a positive experience that I doubled down and ordered prescription sunglasses through them as well. I’ll admit their site doesn’t (or didn’t as of this writing) do a great job showcasing their sunglasses. In fact, I didn’t even know they offered sunglasses. There are no images, or anything short of one option buried in a dropdown at checkout:
But even then I wasn’t sure if the option was for sunglasses or for some plain glasses with a UV tint or something like that.
Since I was confused I fired a quick email to Sami asking for clarification. Not only did she fire back a response crazy fast, but she managed to track down a pair of the sunglasses I was considering ordering, took a picture of them, and emailed it right to me.
It was a small act, but it was above and beyond what was expected and really helped earn my business.
At the end of the day both the glasses and sunglasses were a bit more expensive than my old Warby Parkers, but the higher quality materials, help from an expert (thanks again Sami!), and warp free lenses made it worth every penny. For those reasons David Kind earned my business for many years to come.