James Murray Wells founded Glasses Direct in 2004 at the age of 22.
Glasses Direct is an online glasses and contact lenses retailer with specialises in discount prices.
In 2004, when James found he needed glasses he found that prices for glasses were sky high. After doing some research he realised that this was due to high mark ups, so after finding a laboratory that was tuned into his vision of more affordable glasses he started Glasses Direct.
James, who was at university at the time, decided to start up his company with the last £1000 of his student loan and to further stretch his limited capital, he convinced suppliers to dropship orders straight to customer’s doors.
James Wells received a lot of opposition from high street retailers as he was offering basic lenses and frames from £15 whereas the cheapest range in many retailers where at £149. One retailer even threatened their supplier, that they would cease the contract they had, if they continued supplying Glasses Direct.
James was determined and temporarily ceased trading for two weeks while new suppliers where found. The young entrepreneur felt that he must be doing something right if high street retailers where this desperate to get rid of him.
In 2007, 3 years on Glasses Direct were taking 200 – 250 orders per day and had secured £750,000 in angel funding and a further £3million after that.
The goal for Glasses Direct in the eyes of James is to be a billion dollar company. At the end of last year, 2009, Glasses Direct had a turnover of £4million, 70 staff and three offices and they are still growing.
In early 2010 James established Hearing Direct, which follows the same model as Glasses Direct, but for hearing aids.
James Murray Wells has also been a keen promoter of entrepreneurship and has been a keynote speaker at the Federation of Small Businesses. James has also taken part in other entrepreneurship schemes for TV and those aimed toward school children.
In 2009, his enthusiasm and effort in promoting entrepreneurship, led to James being the youngest person ever to receive ‘The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion.’
In the future James is looking to market glasses as a fashion accessory and he is also looking into software that will allow users to upload their own picture so they can try out pairs of glasses online.
We wish James good luck in his journey to create a billion dollar company!