We were over in London, UK, in January, visiting our homeland for 100% Optical. Dr. Euan and myself (Dr. John) had been invited to give a lecture on our experiences of practicing optometry in Canada and the UK. Whilst over the pond Tom Davies of TD Tom Davies invited us to visit his new Bespoke London factory. Well this was an opportunity not to be missed!
It was Friday afternoon when we jumped in a “Black Cab” to head to the factory which is close to Heathrow Airport. Talk about interesting. London Cabbies know something about everything and our Cabbie was no exception. Suffice to say we put the world to rights.
Before we knew it, we pulled up at some large white industrial units surrounded by tall black railings. There were numerous damaged Mercedes cars in the parking lot (we later found out that this was the storage compound for the Mercedes repair centre) to our left, but we needed to find number 1. The security guard directed us to the right and told us we needed to be at the other end of the building.
Up the final steps we went, only an hour early, and pressed the buzzer for the intercom. “Euan and John from Ocean. We’re early.” Our reply was prompt and welcoming, “No worries, I’ll be right down.” The chap that met us was tall, slim and stylish. He showed us through what seemed a maze of corridors past rooms with names like “The Lego Room” and the “Staff room of tranquillity,” then up some black, rugged and industrial looking steps onto the mezzanine.
Immediately in front of us there were doors to the factory offices and two retro arcade machines. One had an impressive array of 80’s video games and the other being an original Star Wars slot machine. Adjacent to these an impressively stocked black coloured, mirrored bar complete with a couple of draft ales on tap and fancy bar stools. On the bar was a huge Bluetooth speaker and “bean to cup” coffee machine.
To the right of the bar was the staff area. This consisted of numerous fitted kitchen units, microwave, large side-by-side refrigerator, central prep island with large chef’s oven and three large tables and associated chairs. At the furthest of these was Tom, Allister and another man engaged in a meeting. To the left of us where the toys. Large air-hockey table covered with a huge artists canvas, a bar football game, another arcade game and a full-size, two-person Sega Rallye game, the ultimate console arcade game IMHO.
At this point we were introduced to some of the staff, graphic designers, sales and admin support. As we were early it was suggested that we should sample a few drinks at the bar and practice on the Sega Rallye game, well it would be rude not too! After only a short period we got our recognisable, robust welcoming from Tom.
For anyone who’s never see or met Tom, he’s a decent sized chap, probably 6’ 2’’, with an athletic to heavy build, strawberry blonde, short cropped hair and sporting a reasonable amount of designer stubble. His greeting is becoming of his stature but often involves a hug and this was no exception. He’s a very warm, welcoming and giving man whom we are honoured to call a friend. Immediately Tom challenged Euan to the Sega Rally game. This was too much fun not to post live on FaceBook but unfortunately Tom was well practiced, and Euan was beaten!!!! (Only just if you ask Euan.)
After just a short wait we were joined by Dr. Michael Johnson from Johnson & Furze Opotmetrists, another Independent Optometrist and fellow TD Tom Davies stockist. Now the tour was ready to begin!