Warby Parker has opened their first location in Indianapolis at Fashion Mall at Keystone. From exclusive sunglasses to art from local artist Nathaniel Russell, the new store will make a great addition to Indianapolis. PATTERN talked with Co-Founder and Co-CEO Neil Blumenthal about the company’s new venture and what is yet to come for the location.
Samantha Ripperger: Why did Warby Parker choose Keystone as the next location to open a store?
Neil Blumenthal: We’d been looking to open in Indianapolis for a while now—it’s our first store in the state—and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the location. We wanted to be surrounded by the city’s most bustling shops and restaurants, and we’re excited to be right in the heart of action.
SR: Indy artist Nathaniel Russell has a mural that will be displayed behind the marble desk at the new store. How did that come about? Do you always incorporate local artists in each store location?
NB: All of our stores are designed as thoughtfully as possible to reflect their communities, and working with local artists whose work we admire is a big part of that. Art is in our DNA at Warby Parker, and we love sharing that enthusiasm with our customers.
We’ve been fans of Nathaniel’s work and sense of humor for a while—there’s so much imagination in his album covers, woodcuts, and posters. The mural he created for the store is an abstract homage to art, literature, and eyewear; it’s a perfect complement to the rest of the space. We’re so glad that we got to work with Nathaniel on our Indiana debut.
SR: Additionally, Warby Parker has also created exclusive sunglasses for the Indy location. What was the idea behind the glasses? What inspired them?
NB: We knew we had to celebrate our first location in Indiana, and we wanted to give our customers here something that they wouldn’t find anywhere else. Topper is one of our favorite styles, and we’ve updated it with mirrored lenses that look great with its angular, crystal-clear frame. We hope our Hoosier friends love it as much as we do.
SR: Your company has incorporated numerous forms of technology, especially in each store location. Why is that? Do you ever see it changing?
NB: We started Warby Parker to radically transform the optical industry, and over the years we’ve built technology to help create a seamless shopping experience for all our customers.
We designed our own point-of-sale system (which we call Point of Everything) from scratch, because nothing on the market was built to perform the way we wanted it to. This gives our advisors the power to make each customer’s experience really outstanding—whether that means pulling up the frames that a customer favorited on our website, sending them an overview of the frames they tried on in our store, or helping them find info about any past orders, and a lot more.
One of our company’s core values is “Learn. Grow. Repeat.” We’re always identifying ways we can make the customer experience better and better, and then working at a quick pace to implement those changes. So yes, our technology is always evolving, and it’ll definitely continue to.
SR: What is on the horizon for the Keystone location? Any big plans after the opening?
NB: We’re really focused on making this opening a success, and we have some fun events in the works for later this year. Stay tuned!
SR: Do you have any desire to collaborate with other local Indy designers/artists?
NB: We love working with designers and artists who inspire us, and we’re always open to new partnerships if the moment’s right.