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    Warby Parker’s new Harvard Square location sells more than glasses

    Eyeglasses and custom pencils share display space at the new Warby Parker shop in Harvard Square.
    Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
    Eyeglasses and custom pencils share display space at the new Warby Parker shop in Harvard Square.

    Talking Shop is a new — and occasional — column covering retail happenings in and around Boston. 

    Nerd alert! 

    Warby Parker’s third Boston-area eyewear store, which opened this week at 39 John F. Kennedy St. in Harvard Square, features a dedicated “pencil alcove.” This is the company’s first collaboration with CW Pencil Enterprise, a New York City-based specialty store that the New York Times called “intoxicating.” In addition to the standard spectacles, the new store will sell custom-designed pencils (four for $2) with all proceeds going to the 826 Boston tutoring and writing program for Boston students. 

    Much more LaFleur

    Ever since MM.LaFleur opened a Newbury Street pop-up store in April, local shoppers quickly fell for its concept: workwear for real-life working women, like pants with adjustable hems for different shoe heights and machine washable dresses — with pockets — that promise to look sharp in a boardroom.

    The online company first took off when it began offering “Bento Boxes” of stylist-picked items, but executives say the company has seen significant traction in its brick-and-mortar stores. That’s in part, they say, because customers fill out a survey about their clothing preferences, then spend time with a personal shopper who helps them find the right fit. 


    “It’s the most efficient hour you’re going to spend,” said Sarah LaFleur, the company’s founder and chief executive, who visited Boston last month. “We only want to see you four times a year. If we’re seeing you 12 times a year, we’re not doing it right.” 

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    The Harvard alum, who is on track to make $70 million in sales this year, said the lease on the Newbury Street store ends in December, but she is scouting locations for a permanent spot in the city. 

    Sofa away? 

    Perhaps you obsessively track your Uber as you wait for its arrival. Now Wayfair will let you do the same for your couch. The online housewares giant rolled out a new feature last week allowing customers to track furniture deliveries in real time. 

    “Day of Delivery” is “meant to be a last-mile solution to address a common furniture delivery pain point for customers — waiting for a large item to arrive,” John Costello, a company spokesperson, explained. “Our goal is for customers to feel free to relax, complete tasks, or run errands without the anxiety of missing their scheduled delivery.” 

    But don’t worry, tracking doesn’t begin the moment the order is placed. Instead, you’ll get an e-mail or text message when the item goes out for delivery. Sofa so good.


    Wayfair is also getting into the bed-in-a-box game with the release of Nora, a new line of mattresses launched this month. With queen-sized beds selling for $599, the line aims to compete directly with online upstart brands such as Casper Mattress and Tuft & Needle. One wonders how well those companies are sleeping now given this news. 

    70 years young 

    When Nancy Talbot first opened up her iconic Hingham storefront 70 years ago this year, she set out to sell clothes that were “simple but not contrived, gimmicky, or extreme, smart but not faddy, fashionable but not funky — chic and understated, the hallmarks of good taste.”

    As Talbots celebrates seven decades in business, the company has released a collection of key pieces from each decade, including a classic “crisp white shirt” from the ’40s, a ’60s-era little black dress, and a power blazer from the ’80s. The collection also includes an ivory silk scarf that depicts the original Hingham store with the black shutters . . . and the red door, of course (it retails for $79.50).

    Have a potential item for Talking Shop? E-mail Janelle Nanos at Follow her on Twitter @janellenanos.