More grunt, less grief
David Mason is the entrepreneur behind Anthony Sinclair, the bespoke tailor which dressed James Bond. Many of Sean Connery’s suits for the role of 007 were made by the business, including the three-piece suit from Goldfinger.
Mr Mason took the brand out of mothballs two years ago in a joint venture with Anthony Sinclair’s apprentice, Richard Paine. Suits costs upwards of £3,500 and the firm will turn over £500,000 this year.
Mr Mason’s clients are used to a personal service. “My clients are cash-rich, time-poor,” he explains. “They like me to take the shop to them. The problem is that we have literally thousands of fabrics we can offer to clients. They can have any lining, any pattern, the options are infinite. Physically schlepping around with two or three suitcases is a nightmare – and I have the bad back to prove it.”
High-speed mobile internet has allowed Mr Mason to digitise his entire stock portfolio, saving time – and his back. “We can use filters to find the right fine pinstripe in a certain quality of yarn,” he says. “It takes no time to download, so the customer doesn’t have to watch a little wheel. And we don’t run the risk of arriving without the fabrics they want, which happens in one out of five of our sales meetings.”
By storing all his sales data in the cloud, Mr Mason can also use 4G to access his clients’ previous orders and all their sizing information on the go. “If they want the same shirt they ordered two years ago, we have that information to hand,” he says.
Mr Mason has developed a digital suit generator, The Configurator, which builds a suit as the client answers questions about the shape, fabric and style. “With 4G, the sketch literally appears before their eyes,” he explains.
For a rainy day
Mark “The Ribman” Gevaux is a London-based market trader with regular stalls on Brick Lane and King’s Cross.
As an entrepreneur reliant on passing footfall, Mr Gevaux uses social media to drum up extra trade when business is slow. Rainy days are tough, he explains: “Some days you’re all set up and it starts chucking it down. But people want hot food on a cold, miserable day, so being able to share pictures and videos of my food instantly, and show people’s reactions, can be the difference between making a loss or a profit.”
Mr Gevaux has found that being able to share pictures and videos has allowed him to create ongoing engagement with his fans online. He currently has more than 9,000 followers on Twitter, and people have come from as far afield as Thailand to try his ribs and hot sauces.
Husband-and-wife team Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur and Nyisha Weber are the entrepreneurs behind Europe’s first “nitro” ice-cream parlour. Set in the heart of Camden’s Stables Market, the pair make everything fresh on demand, using liquid nitrogen. It’s not just the manufacturing process that is cutting edge – the technology powering the business is, too. “We have an iPad which we use for our till,” Mr Akbari-Kalhur explains. “It calculates how much stock we’re going through, what our peak hours are, and graphs for the weather, predicting our revenue.”
The iVend app knows when stock is running low and is accessible remotely: the entrepreneurs use 4G to log in, check sales and place orders instantly. “I ordered caramel when I was walking around Regent’s Park earlier,” says Mr Akbari-Kalhur.
The entrepreneurs also use 4G to power the Facetime app. “If something goes wrong I can see the problem via the smartphone and help to fix it, even when I’m physically miles away,” he says.
Lewis Bowen is founder of Geco Industries, a maker of bio-ethanol gel. This environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional wood burning has become a camping staple and is recommended to festival-goers by the organisers of the Leeds and Latitude festivals.
In order to demonstrate the efficacy of flagship product 4Fuel, Geco Industries’ Mr Bowen uses 4G to stream videos on his iPad during meetings with buyers. “We can burn our gel safely inside,” he says, “but in order to show what would happen if we burned other kinds of fuel, we need video.
“When you’re selling something, you don’t want to be waiting for a video to buffer,” he adds. “4G lets me store these files in the cloud and show them in seconds and walking into a meeting with just an iPad and our product is a powerful way to pitch.”
“When I go to a meeting, three times out of 10 I can’t get on to the wireless network,” says Cliff Dennet, founder of Soshi Games, an online games maker for the music industry. “Now I can walk into Universal or Sony, whip out my smartphone and demo the product.”
Mr Dennet’s best-selling product, The Music Festival Game, currently boasts 400,000 users and enables bands to sell music and virtual goods to fans across the globe. As a result of adopting 4G, sales performance has increased 25pc.
“I’m not turning up with laptops and wires,” he explains. “The music industry guys are always so busy. It makes a huge difference to have a slick and easy presentation.”