Online eyewear retailer Warby Parker isn't known just for innovating eyewear shopping. It's also known for making another typically boring thing super cool -- the annual report.
Three years ago, it released its first annual review online -- a surprisingly transparent look back that included not just the year's highlights, but missteps, as well as a slew of quirky factoids about life spent at the company. It proved so popular and successful marketing-wise that the brand has continued to release the reports each year. Today marks the debut of its third report, which co-founder Neil Blumenthal said is its most ambitious ever. Instead of a year-end summary, it looks back on every single day of the company in the last year.
The grid-like format allows visitors to pick any day in the last year, giving a peek into company successes (such as the release of its first commercial; J. Crew Chairman-CEO Mickey Drexler joining its board; the appearance of a frame in a Jay-Z video), set backs (like the day in May when half its inventory of frames was delivered to the wrong address) and its culture (it practices no-meeting Mondays; at least 20% of staffers are devoted "Dr. Who" fans).
The new report's breadth also required a step up in production. The company started putting it together two months ago and "in terms of complexity and time spent, I would probably say that it was about five times the amount of work" as the previous reports, said Mr. Bluementhal. All of it was done entirely in-house by the company's content and design teams, including UX designers, graphic designers and front-end developers.
Mr. Blumenthal said the idea to put out this breed of report originally was inspired by one of the company's junior designers. "He put together an infographic of his personal life in the past year and we thought, wow, that's a really interesting. What if we were to do it for the company? It very much fit into our philosophy of being transparent. We find the more information we share, the more vulnerable we are, and that sharing the positive and the warts -- the deeper relationship we build with our customers. The first time we thought it would just be fun for our most engaged, most loyal customers, but it ended up leading to our three biggest sales days at the time."
The second report, released last year, also saw similar success. It drove Warby Parker's two-highest days of home try-on volume to date, as well as the highest traffic day to date.
"Often, I think the mentality of corporate America is, 'What is the absolute minimum amount of information I can share with the general public?'" said Mr. Blumenthal. "But we found the more information we share, the better the company does."
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