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Recently, Raider and his staff rolled out a new policy for the company, pledging 1% of sales and 1% of the company staff’s time to working with their nonprofit partners. The first organization to benefit from that 1 percent is City Year, an AmeriCorps program that provides vocational training in underfunded schools.
“We thought about how razors can benefit people, and the answer is that they want to look and feel good, be prepared and professional,” Raider explained. “We’re realistic that a razor is just one tool to help them do that. By having a broader commitment to the community to help prepare people in other ways, we hope to further that mission.”
Raider’s vision is to keep the Warby Parker mission of doing good at the center of Harry’s, even if the methodology is different. “1% of our money, 1% of our time is more transparent and direct,” he argues. “People will be really clear about what we’re doing.”
This goes to show that the Warby Parker combination of stylish philanthropy mixed with e-commerce, which comes off like simple business sense, isn’t easy to replicate. Still, Blumenthal sees Warby Parker as a trailblazer of sorts, a model for future entrepreneurs to use for their companies. Soon, perhaps, there will be not just the Warby Parker of shaving, but also the Warby Parker of mattresses or winter hats.
“If we can show how to build a great company that has good financial performance that’s also doing good,” Blumenthal said, “well, that’s the secret sauce.”
Margaret Eby is a staff writer for the New York Daily News. She’s working on her second book, High Holy Places, a collection of essays about Southern literary shrines.