A few years back lots of entrepreneurs pitched themselves as the “Warby Parker of X.” Many of those pitches even emulated Warby’s “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program where they’d donate a pair of glasses to charity for each pair they sold. But now when someone tells me they want to be the “Warby Parker of X” it usually refers only to a vertically-integrated private label brand in a stagnant, traditional industry that tended to raise prices faster than quality – for example, Casper as the Warby Parker of Mattresses. What happened to the social good component of one for one?
Warby had this baked into its DNA, not just as a marketing gimmick – it’s even a B Corp to support this aspect of social benefit. My guess is that the other startups couldn’t make a cultural or economic argument in the same way. TOMS was the first company I recall popularizing the concept and there’s a number of other small companies which have tried similar.
Folks who’ve followed the retail sector and social benefit corps closer than I have: was one for one an idea that heated up and ran its course, or are companies today still launching with this promise?