Close
 

Glow Job: The Dunedin neon sign company coming out on top

  • News
  • August 23, 2018
Glow Job: The Dunedin neon sign company coming out on top

Bridie O'Leary and Michael Henriquez are the co-founders of Glowjob, a LED signs start-up based in Dunedin New Zealand with a twist. The duo makes signs out of a LED neon flex material rather than the traditional and expensive glass neon, making their products more friendly on the wallet – and more flexible for designs.

So, how does one get into the niche business of neon lights? Henriquez previously worked in the film industry in production, while O’Leary is an art school graduate who spent the last six years working in tech developing apps, but she says she has had a tremendous amount of love for neon lights since her teens.

“I always thought I’d open a daggy old tavern and its name would become whatever old second-hand, washed-up neon business sign I could get my hands on,” she says.

“Real deal traditional glass neon is expensive – and so it should be, the amount of hours, skill and love that go into real glass neon is worth paying for, though, we’ve just never had the money for it.

“We came across the LED neon flex product and saw how it was being used for signs that looked like neon, and so we just ordered lots of different varieties and started making stuff! People liked them, and so up popped Glowjob, and we’ve made over 60 glowies since.”

Michael Henriquez and Bridie O'Leary

And with a playful business name to boot, it bears mentioning. O’Leary says they came up with it because neon reminds them of dirty dive bars and dodgy businesses with half-broken, buzzing signs.

“In saying that, though, our glowies are very charming pieces of art, rather than mass-produced designs that you can buy off the shelf from China,” she says.

“And people do get our name muddled up from time to time. We haven’t made any naughty glowies yet, but if someone has a dirty glowie request, we will absolutely make it for them.”

Inspiration for the lights also comes from the pair’s living environment. O’Leary says they live in a 40 square metre ‘70s-style apartment in Dunedin, which has “terrible lighting, awful concrete block walls and not a lot of room for extra clutter”.

However, through the use of floor lamps and indoor glowies they’ve designed, they’ve solved this problem.

So, what’s the design process like for one of their glowing creations? Time consuming, but satisfying, in O’Leary’s words.

Glowjob needs to know exactly how long each piece of LED neon needs to be for each part of the design, so a design is drawn up on the computer calculating all the lengths of the linework, then printed out full size with notes of where the cables need to go and used as a guide.

“It’s sort of like a map… at this point you can pretty much turn into a glowie robot and listen to heaps of cool crime podcasts and music and four to  eight hours later, you’re all finished. Very rewarding work for certain,” O’Leary says.

She says the company also loves collaborating on designs with artists and often makes connections with them via Instagram.

“Whether it’s us contracting artists we love to draw up sets of designs we want or working directly on something of their own, it’s always so much fun.  We will always be working with artists to ensure our pieces are fresh, lovable, and of course, all original.”

Glowjob is yet to launch an official site, as O’Leary says there are a few kinks to iron out first.

The business has faced a few challenges in finding a consistent supplier for its materials, but is close to solving the issue. Once everything is in place, an online shop will be launched offering original Glowjob designs and some collaborations it has done with artists.

Its glowies will be available in a variety of sizes, ranging between $500 to $1500. There’ll also be limited edition runs to ensure the pieces are unique.

And once this is all up-and-running, a real-life gallery could also be on the cards.

“Ideally, we would love to open our own gallery, which would be more like a super-dive of a tavern or bar displaying all the glowie goodness, which of course would be available to purchase,” O’Leary says.

“That's the dream.”

This story originally appeared on Idealog. 

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

The $200 million-plus direct sales economy contains many lessons retailers can use. As part of a wider look at this thriving corner of retail, we created a quick explainer showing how this business model typically works.

Read more
 
 

Direct sales: Meet the upliners

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the upliners

We profiled different participants in the direct sales industry to find out what retailers can learn from them. Meet Isagenix distributors Adam Nesbitt and Bianca Bathurst.

Read more
 
 

Direct sales: Meet the business builder

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the business builder

As part of a wider story looking at what retailers can learn from the direct sales industry, we profiled Isagenix distributor Ben Frost.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 
News

Leveling up: Exploring multi-level marketing in New Zealand

Is the $200 million-plus direct sales economy retail by another name or something different? Regardless, what can we learn from it?

 
 

A spectrum of retailers

  • Opinion
  • April 18, 2019
  • David Farrell
A spectrum of retailers

In recognition of April being Autism Awareness Month, retail commentator Dave Farrell considers the role of those on the spectrum in retail.

Read more
 

How on-trend is your retail business?

  • Sponsored Content
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sponsored content
How on-trend is your retail business?

New insights from Visa highlight five evolving trends emerging from savvy retailers around the world. We’ve taken these global trends and looked at how they are playing out with merchants in New Zealand, and we’d now like to hear what you think of them.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}