We chat to Kris Reid from Tens, the sunglasses that add a real life photo filter to your everyday life.
Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your background?
Tens was founded by Marty Bell, Tom Welsh and myself. We’re a close group of friends who met during our student years in Edinburgh. Prior to the launch of Tens I worked freelance in marketing and events; predominantly offering services to major music festivals and leading entertainment venues in the UK. Marty previously ran a successful clothing and events company as well as offering his expertise in digital marketing and brand creation. Tom specializes in filmmaking and photography and continues to do so alongside his commitment at Tens.
Where did the idea behind Tens come from? How did you decide on the name?
The idea of Tens was birthed during a road trip through the Scottish Highlands. Together we jested about being able to photoshop the grey skied view in front of us so that it was warmer and happier, similar to the way in which Marty and Tom edited their photos. The conversation eventually led to thinking that it could be possible to bring that process to the real world, via a custom sunglass lens. That evening we set up a private Facebook group and began brainstorming how we could make it happen.
The name of Tens was sourced from our tagline; ‘Ten Times Better’. We liked the name Tens as it was short and memorable.
How do Tens differ from other sunglasses?
Tens are different because of our signature lens tint. Regular sunglasses have a cold and desaturated lens tint whilst Tens offer a viewing experience like no other; warmer, happier and more colourful.
Tens sunglasses transform a view into a vivid experience full of clarity and colour – which colour sums up the Tens brand and why?
Gold. This is the leading colour that is used throughout our branding but also relates the golden lens tint that our sunglasses offer.
How important do you think your crowdfunding campaign was to the creation of Tens? Do you think Tens would have been as successful as it is today without it?
Our crowdfunding campaign played a significant part in the Tens story so far. The startup costs related to manufacturing sunglasses are very expensive and minimum order quantities are high; therefore, a preorder campaign on Indiegogo fitted our needs perfectly. It also proved to be an extremely effective way to drive our project from a marketing and public relations perspective.
It’s difficult to call where Tens would be had we not launched via crowdfunding but the response to our product and brand has always been so positive so who knows what other opportunities may have been presented itself in the early stages of the business.
“We spent hours analysing other crowdfunding campaigns and figuring out why they were successful or landing short of their fundraising target…Our hard work certainly paid off when we hit our target of £9,400 in just two hours.”
How did you manage to attract such support for your Indiegogo campaign?
We spent hours analysing other crowdfunding campaigns and figuring out why they were successful or landing short of their fundraising target. We meticulously planned our roll out strategy from shooting the perfect video to creating a press site that hosted all the assets that made it simple for a journalist to feature our project. We set up an exclusive story with Vice Creators Project to set up guaranteed press coverage for launch day. We also worked with a number of key online influencers that we prearranged to post about Tens on social media to ensure that were generating as much noise as possible on launch. Our hard work certainly paid off when we hit our target of £9,400 in just two hours.
“We currently have a pop-up store in London within Covent Garden. This is the first time that Tens has had a physical presence and it has proven to be a very rewarding experience seeing customers live reaction to our lens tint and our brand story.”
Now that you’ve got the support of Sir Richard Branson, what’s in store for the future?
We’ve always been inspired by Richard’s spirit of adventure and entrepreneurship, so we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to the team earlier this summer.
We’re working hard behind the scenes to develop a brand new range for 2017. We’re planning to bring more video and blog content around travel, entrepreneurship and other areas that we think our Tens community will enjoy.
We currently have a pop-up store in London within Covent Garden. This is the first time that Tens has had a physical presence and it has proven to be a very rewarding experience seeing customers live reaction to our lens tint and our brand story. We’re hoping to pop-up in other cities around the world in the near future so watch this space..
Whose style do you admire and who would you love to see wearing Tens?
It would have to be Pharrell Williams. Not only is he an incredible musician, his fashion sense is out of this world. We had the pleasure of meeting his team and ‘the Baes’ dancers at MTV EMA’s last year and they were such a nice group of people. I think it’d be pretty difficult to beat if Pharrell added Tens to one of his achingly cool outfits!
Travel, Music and Motorsport
Favourite Quote / Life Motto:
Difficult one! Almost any quote from one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s talks! If you’re feeling demotivated on a Monday morning, I urge you to listen to one of his podcasts.
More Information on Tens
The Tens pop-up store is in London until 29th August, so make sure you make a visit and pick yourself a pair before they’re gone!
10 Earlham St, WC2H 9LN. Right by Covent Garden/Soho.