Children’s eyewear should be fun, easy, and accessible, and Pair Eyewear is a great alternative to traditional eyewear brands. This NYC startup provides customizable glasses at an affordable, flat price of $95. In addition to focusing on affordability, Pair also prioritizes quality and as well as customization, where glasses can be an expression of a child’s personality, something important for a child who is wearing glasses for the first time.
AlleyWatch spoke with cofounder Sophia Edelstein about Pair Eyewear’s first funding round and its future plans to disrupt the children’s eyewear market.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We just closed our seed round of funding. We raised $1M from Bolt, Precursor Ventures, Corigin Ventures, Outbound Ventures, and two angel investors.
Tell us about the product or service that Pair Eyewear offers.
Pair is a new e-commerce children’s eyewear brand. Pair has redesigned the shopping experience for parents and kids making buying glasses affordable and fun. Our glasses are continually customizable, so they allow kids to change up the color and design of their glasses on a daily basis. All of our glasses are $95 and include the highest quality prescription lenses for kids. Our customizable tops are $24.95 each.
Nathan, our cofounder, began wearing glasses at the age of eight and found the experience dreadful. His glasses felt more like a glaring medical device instead of an extension of his personality.
The idea for Pair was born while we were both students at Stanford, and we teamed up with the former head of product from Warby Parker to create an easy, affordable and fun alternative to traditional eyewear brands.
What market does Pair Eyewear target and how big is it?
Our market is the 7.5M kids in the US that purchase a new Pair of glasses every year. Right now, 1 in every 4 kids in the US wears glasses and this number is expected to increase to 1 in every 2 by 2050.
Do you worry that an already established company in the space like Warby Parker could introduce a children’s eyewear offering as an addition to their existing product line easily?
We don’t worry about it because what differentiates Pair is our sole focus on parents and kids. Everything from our product to our brand was created by kids and parents for kids and parents. In the process of building Pair, we spoke to over 500 families and continue to design and improve Pair with our customer in mind.
We don’t worry about it because what differentiates Pair is our sole focus on parents and kids. Everything from our product to our brand was created by kids and parents for kids and parents. In the process of building Pair we spoke to over 500 families and continue to design and improve Pair with our customer in mind.
What’s your business model?
We have a direct-to-consumer business model. Parents are still buying glasses for their kids in traditional eyewear stores and spending on average $300-$600 for a pair of glasses. Pair is trying to change this by making buying glasses stress free from the comfort of your own home, affordable and fun.
What was the funding process like?
As first-time founders raising their first round of capital, we learned so much through this last fundraising! We loved the opportunity to meet with so many different investors and learn about the consumer funding space. A lot of our time was spent making sure we found the right investors who were interested in the consumer space and could bring their own strategic knowledge to Pair. We are really excited by the group we put together and their combined strategic expertise.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge was finding the right investors to pitch to. When we began we were pitching to investors through intros from professors and advisors who did not have an interest in the consumer space. Although they loved listening to our pitch we just were not a good fit for their portfolio. Once we realized this, we began really targeting the investors we pitched to and had a lot of success with this strategy.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
A lot of things! I think they were all very excited by the market size and potential for disruption in the children’s eyewear space. They loved that we had completely redesigned the product of glasses and most importantly, they believed in our mission to change the narrative around what glasses can mean for a child and the personalization that comes along with Pair. I think they were also excited by the team and surprised by how much we were able to do with very little money before raising this round of funding.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are really excited to be expanding our marketing efforts in the next six months to get Pair into the hands of more families across the United States. We hope to create more brand partnerships over the next 6 months across fashion brands, sports teams, and entertainment companies.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Before you raise money really think about the amount of money you truly need to get your business off the ground and all of your funding options. There are a lot of funding options besides traditional venture capital such as debt investment, pitch competitions, incubators, crowdfunding, and grants. Figure out which is right for you and your venture!
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We are really looking forward to growing in the next year and bringing on new team members to expand our marketing effort. We are really focused on growing the Pair community to change the stigma associated with glasses.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
We love going to Los Mariscos in Chelsea for after work tacos and margaritas