Anderson, sales associate with Rivet and Sway in
Seattle, Washington, checks out one of her
company's frames in the mirror of the company's
eyeglass bike kiosk, which specializes in women's
— Inside Caruh Salon on Roosevelt Way, Madeline
Anderson stands beside a salmon-tinted three-wheeler
topped with trendy eyeglass frames and a glamour-lit
mirror. She says she has a rounder face with soft
features, so the sharply angled frames she’s wearing
discussing pricing and other details with customers, she
says face shape is the next thing she talks about.
Anderson is a personal stylist who started working for
Seattle-based Rivet & Sway last month when the
company launched the newest physical counterpart of its
women’s eyeglass boutique online.
on Wheels" was wheeled into the salon two weeks ago
and will stay in the salon through November.
cruiser-bike-contraption is equipped with an iPad and
about 36 different frames on display. It represents the
third leg of Rivet & Sway’s company, which began
as an online store in August 2012 and added a Pioneer
Square showroom in July. During the last year, the
company has also staged various pop-up-shop events in
Seattle. Company CEO Sarah Bryar said the physical
outlets have helped to double sales since last quarter,
though she wouldn’t give details.
said Rivet & Sway’s online platform is like a
digital boutique. Customers can consult with personal
stylists through Skype and read up on face shape and
she said, many women just aren’t looking on the Web
going well with women who are already shopping
online," she said. "But one reason to get
offline is to reach these women who have never even
thought of buying glasses online."
John Lusk aimed to tap into what he saw as uncharted
territory in the prescription eyeglass market. It’s a
small market with a few big competitors, said Bryar,
with only 2 percent of total eyeglass sales occurring
was Lusk’s only employee when it launched. Today, the
company has eight core team members.
said starting online gave the company the chance to
break into an emerging market, but it’s a challenging
aggregators like Luxotica and Glasses.com tout
discontinued frames at low prices, smaller companies
like New York-based Warby Parker have established online
boutiques designing and manufacturing smaller
collections for flat-rate prices.
& Sway decided to set itself apart by tailoring
exclusively to women’s eyewear. Like Warby Parker, it
handles its own frame manufacturing and design, cutting
production costs. At $199 a frame, Bryar said, women get
the boutique experience without the hefty price tag.
while the Rivet & Sway brand began online, Bryar
said it was never meant to stay that way.
the showroom and pop-up events, she sees "Specs on
Wheels" as a bridge to the customers who don’t
ever make it to the website.
with an iPad for placing the order on the spot, the
kiosk and website can still go hand in hand.
online and offline channels have to work together to
make the experience integrated to provide more solutions
for women," Bryar said.
Rivet & Sway three-wheeler doesn’t actually travel
on its own — unlike Warby Parker’s roving,
eyeglass-marketing school bus, which passed through
Seattle in June, according to its website.
online companies have tried the offline approach as
online arts-and-crafts storefront Etsy holds pop-up
shops with local Etsy sellers appearing at
brick-and-mortar stores, like the West Elm store in
for the "Specs on Wheels" location at Caruh,
Bryar said the choice came unexpectedly.
were just trying to figure out the right channel,"
Bryar said. She connected with Caruh owner Cyndi DeSoto
through a friend. Bryar recalled, "She said, ‘Sarah,
I can sell anything to a woman from the shoulders up.’"
of Caruh’s stylists have now been cross-trained by
Rivet & Sway to fit women with frames, and the salon
receives a commission for the sales made on site.
Offering glasses in a setting where customers are
already thinking about their appearance "just makes
sense," DeSoto said.
said there’s no telling how successful the new
approaches might be. But she believes that’s part of
what makes it interesting.
hope that this pilot program will be successful so we
can take it national," she said. "In three or
four years’ time, we could be making more revenue
offline than online, so this is all a great experiment
to see if it will work."
going well with women who are already shopping online.
But one reason to get offline is to reach these women
who have never even thought of buying glasses