When it comes to finding ideas I want to invest in, my instinct is: if I like it, it’s quite likely a lot of other people will like it. You can do all the market research and case studies in the world, but you can’t beat trying and loving a product yourself.
I was sat on Necker Island one day getting ready to go kitesurfing, when a guest sat near me started raving about his sunglasses. I quickly put them on and suddenly the world around me felt even more beautiful. They had a special filter that worked with the sun to make it easier to see and really bring out the magic of my surroundings.
The sunglasses turned out to be Tens. After going kitesurfing wearing them and seeing with clarity deep beneath the waves, I found out a bit more about the company. My new friend told me he had got the sunglasses through an Indiegogo campaign, which piqued my interest as an investor in the crowdfunding platform. Tens had raised £370,000 in pre- orders – the campaign remains one of the most-funded fashion projects on any crowdfunding website globally.
Now I was really interested. But whenever I’m investing in a business, I am investing in the entrepreneurs behind it just as much as the product. Tens were founded by three friends in the Scottish Highlands - Kris Reid, Marty Bell and Tom Welsh - who share a passion for creating. While Scotland isn’t known for the sunshine, I’m fully aware of how many great ideas come out of the country – not least from my Glaswegian wife, Joan.
Kris, Marty and Tom had taken their bright idea from a bedroom to more than 100 countries worldwide, showing tremendous entrepreneurial spirit to get where they are today; they’ve done an amazing job bringing their simple ambition to life. To help strengthen their international profile and drive even more global sales, I am delighted to join Tens as an investor.
My attitude is to make everyday life look and feel better – Tens sunglasses help me and all of their customers do this. Tens have come in and disrupted the sunglasses market, a tactic I’m all too familiar with. I love the product, no matter where I am in the world I can stick on a pair of Tens and feel like I’m right back on Necker Island. If you want to see what they’re like for yourself, head over to tenslife.com or pop by the Tens pop-up store at 10 Earlham Street by Covent Garden/Soho, London.