The Upper West Side is known for smoked fish, but this Friday the neighborhood will turn its attention to a different sea animal — the five sharks on the TV show Shark Tank who get to choose whether to invest in a startup. On this Friday’s show — airing at 8 p.m. on ABC — 25-year-old Sophia Edelstein will be pitching her business Pair Eyewear to the sharks.
Edelstein grew up on 87th Street and Broadway, before going to Stanford for college. She says her favorite local restaurants include Zabar’s, Cafe 82 and Modern Bread and Bagel.
She met Nathan Kondamuri at Stanford, and they came up with the idea for Pair, which has now raised more than $2 million in venture capital funding. Edelstein explained the concept behind Pair for us:
While at Stanford, my cofounder, Nathan, shared his awful experience of wearing glasses as a child. At the time, I was studying Human Biology with a focus in healthcare economics and medical devices, and he was studying engineering. We wondered, why hadn’t anyone redesigned glasses from a static medical device to be more fun and dynamic? After talking to over 400 families, we discovered (unsurprisingly) that kids don’t enjoy wearing glasses, and parents dreaded the expensive and stressful process. Today, one in every four children wear glasses, and experts estimate that by 2050, it will be one in every two. Compelled by the stories we heard, we decided to reinvent the eyewear experience.
Combining our backgrounds in marketing, healthcare, and engineering, Nathan and I hatched Pair in our senior year. We brought on the former head of product from Warby Parker to lead product development of our frames which allow kids to continually customize the look of their glasses. In the same way children can change their shoes and clothes, Pair allows kids to express themselves through their eyewear. Through an expanding selection including limited edition and licensed designs, Pair is transforming glasses from a one-off purchase to an affordable and customizable ecommerce product with repeatable spend. Pair prescription glasses cost $45 and customizable tops are $24.95 each. The average Pair customer owns 5 tops and comes back 3 times a year for new products.
In addition to the smiles we bring our customers, we have also impacted the lives of thousands of kids around the world. To help the hundreds of millions of children who don’t have access to vision care, we built our Pair for a Pair program, where we donate a pair of glasses to a child in need for every pair sold. To date we have donated glasses to 5000 children.”
We’re rooting for you Sophia! Don’t forget us when you’re a trillionaire!