CotiVision secures Dragon’s Den investment
The designers of necklace reading glasses secured an investment of £50,000 from Dragon’s Den investor Deborah Meaden
30 April 2021
Glasses chain and necklace designer, CotiVision, has secured an investment of £50,000 after appearing on Dragon’s Den.
The brand obtained the offer from investor, Deborah Meaden, in the 18th series of the programme.
Co-founders, Nancy Gries and Julie Hawkins, launched CotiVision with the aim of creating a different approach to ready reading glasses, making wearing reading glasses “stylish, sophisticated and always at your fingertips” through a collection of necklace reading glasses and glasses chains. Frames can be attached to the necklace, or the necklace can be worn independently. Take a look at CotiVision’s glasses chains in OT’s ‘Brands on the rise’ article from earlier this year.
On reaching Dragon’s Den, the co-founders shared: “It’s been an incredible journey. We realised a dream by actually having a unique product to pass the stringent tests of getting to the Den, let alone to have a business interesting enough to get an investor on board.”
“We are passionate about sharing our necklace reading glasses and chains with the world, inspiring men and women to be bold and celebrate their personalities,” the co-founders said, adding: “We are extremely proud to have developed this unique product and to have launched a global business. We had our sights set on Deborah Meaden and are thrilled to have secured an offer from her.”
“We are loving every moment and can’t wait to see where we can go from here,” they continued.
It is exactly as you see it on TV. The lift doors open and there is no stopping or turning back
Commenting on the investment, Meaden said: “Having been a reading glass wearer, Nancy and Julie’s explanation of why they came up with CotiVision really hit home. It seemed to me they were bringing an important bit of everyday kit out of the dullness and into the light.”
“The designs are cool, funky, highly wearable and bang on trend and their extensive background in the eyewear industry underlined that they understood how to produce a relevant, quality effective product,” she added.
CotiVision collections include ‘Amore Italia,’ made in Northern Italy from recycled materials, and a recently-launched rainbow version of its glasses chain, with colours chosen to “reflect happiness, to encourage hope and confidence.”
Facing the dragons
What made you decide to apply for Dragon’s Den? What was the preparation like?
It’s been a lifetime ambition to have something good enough to even apply to the show. When we developed the idea, we felt it was something unique and worth trying. Since actually applying, we have been able to develop the collection even further. The preparation was really quite intensive because of all the due diligence, not made any easier by the pandemic. The filming was postponed, so things took even longer than usual.
What was it like to present on Dragon’s Den?
Petrifying. It is exactly as you see it on TV. The lift doors open and there is no stopping or turning back. You can never totally prepare for all the questions, but we went over everything so many times because we wanted to feel as comfortable and confident as possible. We actually really wanted to enjoy the experience.
What does this investment mean for you?
It opens up new channels for us and gives us an amazing mentor to help us on the journey.
Can you tell us what your next steps will be?You’ll have to just watch and see.
Behind CotiVision: Nancy Gries and Julie Hawkins on the journey that led to the launch of the necklace reading glasses“The idea for our CotiVision necklace reading glasses was founded on a genuine problem. We both reached the age where we needed reading glasses, but couldn’t find anything on the market that met our needs or personalities,” the co-founders shared, adding: “Those 40 years of age and over know the stigma around hitting this milestone, and needing to extend things at arm’s length to read small print.”
“Deteriorating eyesight is a consequence of age and ready reading glasses are fundamental for most,” Gries and Hawkins explained, but suggested that they felt there was limited choice, also adding: “they never seem to be there when we need them.”
“So we thought, why do they need to be worn around the face, when they can be simply worn as a necklace around the neck and lifted when needed like a magnifier? How cool would it be to be able to convert the chain to other colours to mix and match the look?”
“Now, gone are the days of rummaging around to find them left lying on the desk/counter, in the bottom of our handbag, or perched on top of our head. Worn around the neck, they are always at our fingertips.”