Online eyeglass retailer Rivet & Sway shuts doors

rivetsway2Seattle eyewear startup Rivet & Sway, which attempted to take on Warby Parker in the sale of prescription glasses over the Internet, has pulled the plug, according to messages on its Web site and Twitter account.

“We’re sad to announce that Rivet & Sway has sold its last pair of specs,” says a message on its Web site. “We set out to help women love the way they look in glasses, and it’s been a blast making it happen. A big, huge, giant, heartfelt thank you to every gal who found her perfect pair and got to experience the Joy of Specs. Here’s looking at you!”

No explanation was given for the closure, and we’ve reached out to the company for comment.

Rivet & Sway raised $2 million in financing last year, and tapped former Amazon.com employee Sarah Bryar as CEO. Total funding stood at $3.3 million, including money from Baseline Ventures.

The company sold all of its frames for $199, offering free express shipping and a 60-day return policy. It targeted female shoppers, whereas Warby Parker targets both men and women.

Warby Parker also has raised more than $115 million venture financing, according to CrunchBase.

UPDATE: The inside story of Rivet & Sway: Why this online retailer closed its doors

Here’s the goodbye Tweet from Rivet & Sway, which was initially led by former WhitePages executive John Lusk. We’ll update this post with more information as we gather it.

  • Kary

    How do you sell prescription eyeglasses over the Internet? You wouldn’t be able to determine how they look on your face (although maybe they can take your picture and apply the frame). You wouldn’t be able to tell how they fit and feel. And unless the person working behind the counter is just playing games, there seems to be something to properly centering the lens in front of the eye.

    Seems like the worst idea since digitalprostateexam.com.

    • Dave

      Warby Parker has built a large and rapidly growing business selling eyeglasses over the internet. Among other things, they will send up to 5 pairs of frames to you for you to try on, test for 5 days, free. Very good business, particularly for people who like to have multiple pairs of glasses.

      • Kary

        That would help, but although I’m not the most vein guy (for obvious reasons), when I try on glasses I probably try on over 20 pair. And I sometimes go back to one of the first ones to try it again compared to one of the later ones.

        • http://stefmcfeters.com/ stefpants

          I’ve ordered from both Warby & Rivet and having 5 frames to try on and keep for 5 days is a MILLION times better than standing in a store trying on 20 pairs. At least for me. I feel more comfortable in my own apartment taking as much time as possible. Staring at myself in a mirror trying on specs in a public store feels awkward.

          Real bummed about Rivet & Sway. I loved their styles more than WP and their customer service was amazing.

    • cyclingjerk

      By having a liberal return policy and pricing things many multiples over the cost of production to make up for it.

    • Dave

      And seriously, hasn’t that been said about nearly every personal item sold over the internet? Clothes, shoes, etc.?

      • Kary

        Yes, I’m sure everyone has pointed out that with shoes the position of the lens is important. And with shoes and clothing they don’t custom make an expensive component of the item sold, as is the case with prescription glasses. If we were just talking normal sunglasses this wouldn’t be so absurd. So find me a custom shirt, suit or shoe maker who sells over the Internet and then I’ll come back and admit you’ve made a good point.

        • http://stefmcfeters.com/ stefpants

          It isn’t difficult to measure your own pupillary distance. You can also get your eye doc to do it for you. I’ve ordered custom glasses and sunnies for the past 4 years and it’s amazing.

        • Chococatzle

          I’ve bought custom tailored clothes over the internet.

          I also buy a lot of glasses over the internet. It’s really not rocket science.

          I’m one of the many who is sad to see R&S go.

  • Paul_Owen

    I loves my Warby Parkers (see photo). $95. Take a pass through Market Optical and let those prices sink in a minute. WP = awesome.

  • Morgan Giulianelli

    OMG this literally breaks my heart. I am obsessed with their frames and their customer service has been impeccable. I brag about and refer them to everyone that compliments me on my Rivet and Sway frames. I am so sad….

    • Kevin Nakao

      agreed, Rivet and Sway excelled in customer experience/service and their customers love them! Sarah & John built a great team that should be heavily recruited by any companies in need of consumer, design, e-commerce, CRM, and brand-building talent.

  • disqus_4qVfwUYe85

    Sad sad sad. I loved their aesthetic and she put together an awesome customer experience. Some of her learnings are fantastic: expensive COA sunk the ship… the rest was totally well done. Shameless plug: my company begoodclothes.com has definitely taken some pages from R&S and beefed up our customer service proposition. It is the strongest part of most ecomm businesses and I wish R&S team ll the best!