Back in March, Warby Parker’s first twelve employees took a trip to Guatemala to celebrate their three-year anniversary with the company—and to see the effects of their work firsthand. Marshmallows were roasted atop a volcano, horses were mounted, cliffs were jumped (more on that below). Going forward, it’ll be an annual tradition: work here for three years, head down to the Land of Eternal Spring.
The suntans have faded and the mosquito bites no longer itch, but Tim, Cory, and Lee are still thinking about the journey. We wanted to share a few things on their minds.
“In Guatemala, the solutions to everyday problems are simple, elegant, and as sophisticated as anything we do at Warby Parker in terms of getting the job done. Instead of a full eye chart, for instance, they just test people with the letter E, asking them if the three bars are facing left, right, or upside-down. Literacy isn’t an issue, and the exam itself can be performed in any language. Brilliant. There’s nothing I love more than a deft solution.”
— Tim Riley, Director of Online Experience
Warby Parker started with just the twelve of us working at a single desk, so it was cool to travel with the original crew. Jokes and stories from even three years ago feel like ancient lore. It was great to see our social mission in action. Also unforgettable: the forbidden food. We were warned not to eat anything from the street, but who can resist a cheese pastry from a cart? Not me. I’m happy to report that my stomach survived.
— Cory Stout, Operations Manager
“I am afraid of water. I was not brought up to swim. It makes me anxious. It makes my heart race and I’m worn-out just treading water. Forget about floating. I am also afraid of falling; heights do not scare me, falling from them does. But here we were, in Guatemala, faced with both water and a cliff. We took turns jumping in. Stephanie went first. I, of course, went last. It was terrifying. It was just long enough to get one post-jump thought out: “I probably should have hit the water by now.”
—Lee Ellis, Business Analyst
Photos by Joshua Cogan.