Jeffrey Raider '04, Co-founder of Warby Parker and CEO of Harry’s Inc.
Moderated by Roger Leeds, Director of the Center for International Business and Public Policy at Johns Hopkins SAIS
April 6, 2017
Highly successful entrepreneur and Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnus Jeff Raider visited the Washington, DC campus to discuss the key steps of his journey from student to entrepreneur. Raider emphasized impact as the driver that brought him to the school and it would be reinforced by his subsequent career choices. In 2008 he co-founded Warby Parker, which sells designer eyewear at a low price, and in 2012 he established Harry’s Inc., which manufactures and sells razor blades and grooming products.
Raider shared the process behind successful development of his retail companies. He and his co-founders drew from their own personal experiences of frustration with the pricing and quality of eyewear and razors, which helped them identify an underserved retail niche that resonated with consumers. Finding market opportunities involves looking for a big market that is ripe for disruption and presents an opportunity to create a brand, Raider said. He also stressed the importance of focusing on delivering what people need, which makes customer service and active data analytics crucial for success.
As he progressed in his career, Raider was constantly asking whether what he did mattered. He has always sought to establish three degrees of impact – ensuring that his team has a great experience of working in his company, making sure the customer is happy with the product, and serving the community more broadly. Both companies have incorporated these goals into their business model and have substantial corporate social responsibility programs to make sure that they are doing good in the world.