Jersey-born Rupert and Anthony Langly-Smith are keen cyclists, but found cycling around the centre of London challenging and often dangerous. An important part of keeping cyclists safe involves wearing visible clothing or equipment to help drivers see them clearly. At the time, when cycling in London, Rupert and his brother felt the existing hi-visibility clothing on the market was not really hitting the mark both in terms of visibility and wearability and identified a gap in the market for innovative, light-emitting and reflective cycling products.
Says Rupert: “Most of the hi-visibility clothing available back in 2008 consisted of just a few strips of reflective material sewn onto standard clothing, or were bright yellow. Our idea was to create a range of hi-visibility clothing that was 100% visible from every angle, and attractive and wearable any time of day.
Awards for innovation and product design.
“The first of our products to draw significant attention was the Triviz Lighting Device, a unique, versatile electroluminescent light. The product won an International Red Dot Design Award for Product Design, which helped us helped gain recognition in major countries around the world. Our breakthrough product was the REFLECT360 range, which was the first product on the market to be made entirely from reflective materials. We launched it at a trade show, and it caused a sensation, putting us firmly on the global and domestic map.”
In 2011 Rupert moved his family and the business back to Jersey where he was born and lived most of his life. By this time the business was already established, and the brand was becoming well known.
Jersey Business helped Proviz formulate plans for ambitious international growth.
Rupert explains: “On my return to the island, I heard that Jersey Business was offering free advice and expertise, so I thought, why not? I paid a visit to see what was on offer where I met Nick Steel, who sat down with me and went through our business with a fine toothcomb. He asked probing questions about the business and our plans for growth, which was enormously helpful in helping us to formulate ideas. It was like a coaching session. He brought out a flipchart and pens and before I knew it, he had helped us highlight areas of the business that needed attention and helped us formulate a plan for further growth and expansion.
Help in applying for £250K through the Jersey Innovation Fund.
“It quickly became apparent that I was talking to someone who really knew about business. In particular, he has experience of working with a leading high street retailer and Nick oversaw its expansion into Europe. It was amazing to have access someone with that level of knowledge. In short, the whole experience was fantastic.
“Jersey Business helped us apply for £250K of investment via the Jersey Innovation Fund. This helped us grow, open up new markets and triple our turnover in two years. Since then, Jersey Business has always been there as a sounding board. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience and always know where to send you when you need information or a specific service. They are incredibly well connected and can open doors that would have been closed to us without their assistance.
Jersey Business is our first port of call when we need a sounding board and sensible advice.
“Nick is an excellent mentor, and we feel incredibly lucky to have him on our side. I really like the ‘come in for a chat’ style of informality. Jersey Business is our first port of call when we feel we’ve hit a stumbling block, and I know that a quick chat with Nick will help us formulate a solution.
“Anyone with a business in Jersey will benefit from a relationship with Jersey Business. They know how to get things done, who to talk to and where to find them. It’s an excellent resource, and I think Jersey is very fortunate to have this quality of assistance on hand.”
Innovation is still at the heart of the company’s growth and development.
Proviz now has over 50 distributors around the world and their product range has expanded to other sports and activities that benefit from hi-visibility clothing. New and innovative products are still being created, and new market opportunities are opening. They now also sell to household names such as Amazon (USA & UK), Halfords and Evans Cycles and are also in talks with some of the biggest chain stores in the USA.
Because of the company’s high profile, they were approached by one of the world’s largest companies to create a bespoke brand of products. The success of this venture has led to a new division called ProvizBespoke.
Proviz has enjoyed an incredibly exciting business journey that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.