If you're shopping for eyewear from a retail store in the United States, odds are good that you're going to buy them from the corporate monolith Luxottica, whether you know it or now. The company owns Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Oliver Peoples, Sunglass Hut, as well as Eyemed, the country's leading vision insurance company.1 That industry dominance means the savings are decidedly not passed on to consumers – designer frames can be marked up nearly 1,000 percent.2
DIFF Eyewear, founded in 2014, has a different vision. By selling direct-to-consumer, the company is able to keep prices remarkably low – frames start as low as $85 and nothing is priced above $225 – without skimping on the quality.
But it's not simply DIFF's price point that distinguishes them – the company also prioritizes a humanitarian-driven, socially-conscious approach to commerce. As the founding trio puts it, "We promise to never compromise the quality of our products and to always prioritize humanitarian need over monetary greed."3
That's not just boilerplate branding for the socially-conscious millennial. For every pair of glasses they sell, DIFF Eyewear has committed to donating a pair to someone in need around the world.
"One thing I want to impress on entrepreneurs starting their own business is to build a business model that gives back. There will always be a need in the world that you can align with, and you will be constantly rewarded for your efforts when you do.” says co-founder Chad Jernigan. DIFF has also partnered with philanthropic organizations around the world in support of women’s empowerment, mentorship and education.
Of course, DIFF Eyewear's success is not simply a matter of good intentions. The company has also leveraged social media stars in a way most companies could only dream of. That's right, the Kardashian and Jenner families have been some of DIFF Eyewear's biggest boosters on Snapchat, Instagram, and anywhere else you can find the mega-influencers.
"In 2016 Kendall Jenner teamed up with Diff to double their donations of glasses in need for every pair sold, and last year Khloe Kardashian partnered with DIFF to design her own collection of sunglasses named #DiffxKoko," Forbes explains.5 Recently, DIFF has also partnered with companies like Sesame Workshop and Marvel Comics to offer branded eyewear with a side of social good.67
And according to DIFF's founders, it was only because of the company's commitment to charitable giving that they managed to land those kinds of names. "Influencers like partnering with us because it’s enhancing their reputation by supporting a company that’s doing good in the world," cofounder Zach Gordan said.8
Co-founder Chad Dime continues, “We have always done what we do as a socially conscious brand out of pure passion and people feel that. The devotion we have to do good in this world existed from day one, and our customers, partners and the people who work at DIFF all truly believe that.”
You can learn more about DIFF Eyewear and start finding your next pair of shades right here.
1Business Insider, Warby Parker Wants To Destroy A $20 Billion Company That Charges Customers Insane Prices, 2012
2Vox, Glasses can have a markup of 1,000%. Two former LensCrafters executives revealed why, 2019
3Forbes, Meet DIFF, The Charitable Eyewear Company Taking Over Your Social Media Feed, 2017
4Diff Eyewear, Our story, 2019
5Forbes, Why The Kardashians Can't Stop Wearing DIFF Eyewear, 2018
6Kidscreen, Sesame collaborates with socially conscious brands, 2019
7Comics Beat, 13 CAPTAIN MARVEL Products We Would Actually Wear, 2019
8Forbes Meet DIFF, The Charitable Eyewear Company Taking Over Your Social Media Feed, 2017
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