Pair Announces $75 Million Series C as Shoppers Seek D2C Customization


Overall, the tide may be turning away from direct to consumer (D2C) toward brick-and-mortar, but shoppers continue to demand digital convenience when it comes to highly personalized items — a trend that is benefitting eyewear brand Pair Eyewear.

The company announced Tuesday (Oct. 10) that it has raised roughly $75 million in its Series C funding round, bringing its total funding to $145 million, having grown its revenues 24-fold since 2020.

“We plan to capitalize on Pair’s brand power and innovations to continue growing with a goal of achieving household name status not only in the United States but around the world,” Co-CEO and Co-founder Sophia Edelstein said in a statement.

The eyewear brand intends to use the funds to expand and to further automate its manufacturing process.

Overall, the D2C space has seen a shift over the course of this year, after years of rapid growth. Many major companies have been shifting their focus from D2C to brick-and-mortar, and some have been finding success turning to traditional third-party retailers.

Yet D2C enables a degree of personalization that is difficult to accomplish via traditional retail, allowing consumers both to seek out the brands that they want, bypassing traditional gatekeepers, and to request items made to their specifications.

Multi-specialty telehealth platform Hims & Hers Health, for instance, focuses on providing personalized health and wellness; and home furnishings brand retailer The Inside offers made-to-order, customization options. Meanwhile, beauty brands Laneige and Charlotte Tilbury use artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver customized recommendations, offering individualized guidance at scale.

“Personalization and user experience have become the key battleground for differentiation. … Maintaining and growing a D2C business means moving from a transactional relationship to a personalized relationship,” Sharath Dorbala, then CEO of Vindicia, wrote in PYMNTS’ 2021 eBook “A Decade of Digital Transformation in 12 Months.”

Certainly, the majority of consumers engage with eCommerce channels at least some of the time. The recent PYMNTS Intelligence report, “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Biometric Authentication in the Age of Mobile,” created in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and drawing from a census-balanced survey of more than 3,200 U.S. consumers, revealed that 6 in 10 had completed an online purchase in the last 30 days.

Plus, an earlier edition of the study, “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Catching the Coming eCommerce Wave,” based on a PYMNTS Intelligence survey of nearly 2,700 U.S. consumers, revealed that 27% of consumers had completed their most recent retail purchase entirely on their laptop or mobile phone.

Granted, operating solely in the digital world can be a disadvantage for brands, because it can make it more difficult for consumers to build a connection with their products.

“Brands need to give new customers who might be on the fence about buying their products an opportunity to feel and test out the product,” Joey Zwillinger, co-founder and co-CEO of D2C footwear company Allbirds, told PYMNTS in an interview. “Being purely D2C can hinder long-term potential because reach is limited. Brands must meet consumers where they are. At Allbirds, we’ve held an omnichannel vision for the company ever since we started.”