Founder of Glasses Direct & Industry Head Retail Google
Jamie Murray Wells took the decision to go into business as a student studying for his finals at university. Without any formal business training, Jamie started Glasses Direct from the living room, and has gone on to revolutionise the optical industry. The first online retailer of spectacles in the UK has grown to become the largest direct retailer of custom made prescription glasses in the world. With such an inspirational story, Jamie is a much sought after keynote speaker.
Jamie was shocked at the price he was quoted for glasses by his optician. After contacting the manufacturers and technicians he eventually discovered that the price of prescription glasses could be brought down dramatically. With a no-nonsense approach towards shaking up a closed market that once looked like a cartel, (in the face of threats of legal action, formal complaints, hate-mail, and pressure on his suppliers from high street names), Jamie has shaken up an industry that once got away with charging £150 per pair of glasses, by offering the same product from £15 on the web.
Jamie sold Glassed Direct to Cipio Partners in 2013. At the time of the sale, the business had grown to employ more than 150 people, with sales of £29.9m in the year ending April 2013 and was selling to 50 overseas markets. He is currently Industry Head of Retail at Google UK
James won the 2005 Shell LiveWIRE award for entrepreneurship, the 2005 Startup Award, the 2005 Wales and West Country Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the 2005 Natwest Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the 2006 Isambard Kingdom Brunel Young Entrepreneur Award. In 2009, he was awarded the Queen’s Award for Achievement in Enterprise Promotion – becoming the youngest person to receive the award.
Murray Wells was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to business
An ambassador for UK enterprise, James provides advice and support to other young entrepreneurs directly, when approached with ideas and business plans, or indirectly in his role as a regular media commentator and speaker, on business, consumer affairs and entrepreneurialism on national TV, radio, and press. He has performed as a mentor in entrepreneurship schemes run by Channel 4 and The Times, as well as investing his own funds in start-ups. He was also a co-founder of StartUp Britain, which was announced in the 2010 budget Chancellor George Osbourne, and launched by David Cameron as an initiative conceived at No.10 Downing Street the aim of which is to inspire entrepreneurs and influence the government’s business agenda. He is also a much sought-after inspirational keynote speaker.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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