About John

Forever seeking calmer waters! 😉

I’ve been a sailor, a designer, a business owner, employer, and now feel slightly awkward when called an ‘entrepreneur’.

I love people, our fragile natural world, and playing with new ideas.

I don’t like being told “It has to be that way”.

Who I am

A very ordinary person. I am told I have a creative mind. It makes my life tricky. I’m good at singing as long as no one can hear me.

What I Do

I use my creative talents and experience of design to create products which I hope people find useful.

My Mission

To try and enjoy my passage through this life with as much benefit, and as little harm, to others as I can manage.

A short history

From school I joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as a trainee Navigator, and spent 8 happy years keeping the Royal Navy topped up with fuel, rockets and beer.

In 1986 it was time for a change, so I studied for a degree in Industrial Design in London. Then came 2 years in consultancy and a year in Industry, before starting on my own in 1991. I grew my own consultancy to a team of eight. We had a great time.

Then everything went pear-shaped. I moved to a beautiful quiet village in Somerset, from where I continue to design things – sometimes for others but increasingly  that I manufacture myself.

I’m married to an amazing person, and have 3 incredible children. Well I think so.

Product design?

Iles Optical. London based manufacturer of protective safety eyewear.

Our first project (of many) was to see if we could improve their bottom of the range, ‘bread and butter’ safety spectacle.

Could we make a new spectacle which had something which made it more attractive than competitor’s products in this EXTREMELY price sensitive market?

To minimise cost, we focused on getting the number of components to a  minimum, and assembly as fast and simple as possible.

We also had the idea of splitting the side arm into two, connected to the side-shield by a click-ratchet system.

This enabled both length AND angular adjustment (something only available on top-of-the-range products) from a single moulding.

We got rid of metal hinges and rivets, and reduced the component count from 15 to 7.

Assembly time and component cost were also massively reduced.

Our new product was not only a rival to top of the range specs in terms of function and visual appeal, but was 12% cheaper to manufacture than the old design.

Heavily protected by International patents, the new design (the Pioneer) went on to sell in record numbers.

It also won Iles Optical a Millennium Product Award, which attracted lots of very welcome publicity.

We went on to design a number of other products for Iles – the start of a great relationship.

Would you like to start a project with John?

Although happily occupied designing, manufacturing and selling my ideas, I’m always receptive to new opportunities which might benefit from my input.

It’s always worth a chat to explore ideas, don’t you think?