Think of 141 Eyewear as the TOMS Shoes of eyeglasses. (Even its name echoes the philanthropic shoemaker’s “one for one” slogan—perhaps intentionally so.) Much like TOMS, 141′s premise is disarmingly simple: For every pair of retro-flavored horn-rimmed spectacles you purchase, the Portland, OR-based social enterprise will donate one pair of glasses to a child in need. Or in its own words, “You buy. We give. One four one.”
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153 million people across the globe require corrective lenses but lack access to basic vision services.
For co-founders (and engaged couple) Kyle Yamaguchi, a designer at Nike, and Shu-Chu Wu, an optician, 411 was the perfect joint endeavor. “Starting a business that creates a sustainable model for providing eyewear to those in need just felt like the right thing to do,” Yamaguchi tells Ecouterre. “We chose eyewear because your sight is arguably your most important sense, and we know that prescription eyewear happens to be one of those things many of us take for granted.”
Despite its infancy, the company has already organized a clinic in southern Taiwan, where it gave away more than 200 new pairs of glasses to families hit hardest by Typhoon Morakot.
141 recently gave away more than 200 new pairs of glasses to typhoon victims in Taiwan.
As 141 grows, the couple plans on hosting eyewear clinics in areas where the collection is sold, including California, Washington, Oregon, and Minnesota. “This way, the doctors and opticians who carry our line can administer the exams,” Yamaguchi adds. “And the consumers who purchase our product can participate in the giving of a free pair of prescription glasses.”