Unlike the majority of us, Jonathan Elvidge is happiest when faced with a problem. His entire career has been spent driving forward solutions, specifically in the deployment of gadgets, and how they can be utilised to make our daily lives better.
One such conundrum was troubling Jonathan recently, which was brought about by something that affects so many of us – the inevitable onset of poor eyesight and the need for reading glasses. Annoyed by having to remember not only his mobile phone, wallet and car keys, there was now another addition to the daily essentials list, and with pockets already full, the frustration of where to keep his spectacles left him with a dilemma. Should he struggle to take them with him each time, just to use for the odd text message or reading a menu – or leave them at home and struggle? He tried a vast array of folding glasses, found them slow to use, fiddly and easily breakable. Then he delved deeper, sampling lorgnettes and the lesser known flat frenzel magnifier – but found that neither were user friendly and the magnification quality decidedly blurry.
The perfect solution became evident after finally getting hold of a monocle! With the correct lens power it immediately solved the problem. Both eyes can be kept open allowing the user to see close-up and distance at the same time (the brain is clever you know). Super lightweight and durable, it can be worn around the neck, unnoticeable until it is intended for use. The simplest solution is often the best.
Relatively unused for over a century, the initial searches to source the monocle proved fruitless. Taking heed of the words cited by David Hall in the Entrepreneur Code of “solve a problem and sell it to everyone else”, Jonathan decided to join forces with Fan Frames Ltd, a local eyewear company founded by optical experts Chris Birkett and Paul Gibson. The trio combined their wealth of knowledge in the fields of gadgetry and optometry to re-create and manufacture a new, updated version of the classic monocle.
With the first production run underway, Jonathan started to spread the word about the newly revamped correctional device – and was met with laughter and cries of “this is madness!”, and with an endorsement like that he knew it was bound to be a runaway success. Monocle Madness was born! In order to get the burgeoning company off the ground, friends and colleagues with much needed skills jumped on board to help – more often than not giving their valuable time for free.