3 startups founded by entrepreneurs who used to work for Warby Parker
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- Paint company Backdrop, travel company Away, and cookware company Potluck are connected by another successful direct-to-consumer online startup.
- The founders of these three startups all once worked at early online retail innovator Warby Parker.
- Like fellow D2C wunderkinds Bonobos and Glossier, Warby Parker serves almost as a school or incubator for eager entrepreneurs who want to disrupt a retail industry.
The world of digitally native, direct-to-consumer startups is one large web of connections.
Whereas tracing startup founders back to their educational roots (Wharton is a common one) is one way to draw similarities, another way is to examine their first exposure to the business of direct-to-consumer. These days, it's not surprising to find resumes stacked with experiences at a variety of online startups.
Early startups like Bonobos, Glossier, and Warby Parker have been described as DNVB (digitally native vertical brand) "colleges" for their influence on inspiring employees to start their own brands or lead efforts at newer direct-to-consumer brands.
What these startups did for men's fashion, beauty and skincare, and vision care in turn spurred similar revolutions in industries like health, home and kitchen, and fitness.
Warby Parker, founded in 2010, has spawned a few alums who have applied their experience to the difficult and admirable task of starting their own companies. These startups have nothing to do with glasses, instead tapping into the home, kitchen, and travel spaces.
You can spot the similarities, though. Like Warby Parker, they're making traditionally unexciting and expensive products worthy of internet buzz, even though the products themselves are quite simple. They all have distinctive brand personalities and connect to larger stories of how we want to live and travel. They also pride themselves on providing exceptional customer service.
As direct-to-consumer retail matures and continues to innovate, we can only expect the web of connections and links to early startup successes to grow.
For now, here are three cool retail startups you should know about that were founded by Warby Parker alumni.
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