Ben left University to go into a joint business venture with his Dad, a Bespoke LED lighting manufacturing company. They are a proud Welsh Family business with everything made in Cwmbran. Three years later it is proving very successful…
How did the business start?
I was studying Teaching at University but decided in my second year that it just want for me, I was completely lost as to what to do with my life.
The LED market has rapidly changed in the past 10 years with China often dominating the mass market. We saw real potential in providing UK quality products accompanied with real warrantee and ‘back room knowledge’ for our clients. My Dad is the engineering brains behind what we do and I run the business side.
We do everything from design to manufacturing all from our base in Cwmbran. I am proud to be a part of a Welsh business completing projects across the world in both the private and public sector
What was the inspiration behind the business?
I have had jobs in the past in Bars and Shops but I really wanted to do my own thing. I love that in a small business like this you get to celebrate all successes, no matter how small. I am so proud of how far we have come.
What are you working on right now?
Locally, we are working on a project within the public housing sector. LED lighting is an 80% more efficient lighting source so we are working with local authorities on homes in the Newport and Cwmbran areas. We recently worked on Rhyl Harbour lighting the bridge. We created our Lumos Mira a Marine steel and aluminium fitting, achieving an IP67 rated fitting – making it quit to deal with the often harsh Welsh weather.
What is unusual or unique about your business?
We are a proud Welsh Family business with everything made in Cwmbran. All lighting is completely made to specification. We are able to made large and quantities to one off lighting solutions, unlike the bigger corporations. We are a solutions provider. We recently worked on a project on Harlech Bridge in North Wales with CADW .The architect behind the project had designed a beautiful bridge but not thought through the lighting on it. We developed a bespoke fitting for the space available that was able to withstand the harsh sea environment – this is our USP. We solve problems.
What are your future plans? What’s the dream for the business?
To create a worthy business with my Dad – and we are well on the way! We have grown to now have 5 members of staff and I hope to expand to hire even more people. As a small business you can often get wrapped up in the day to day – I would love have a solid, longstanding business. I also want the business to be developed into a brand itself. We work a lot as a 3rd party for designers and architects without our name being attached to the job.
What gets you out of bed each morning?
Knowing that at the end of the month there is no guarantee you will be paid. With the business I have a lot of responsibilities of overheads and people relying on me for their wages. For my Dad, engineering truly is his passion, he is an artist and that’s what gets him up each day. It’s different for me, I love the business aspect of it all and thrive off the pressures that come with it.
What are some of your greatest challenges in your business?
I struggle with trying to be great at everything, I have recently learnt however that it’s okay not to be! When you start your own business everything is your responsibility, from designing, to selling, to cleaning the office toilets. It’s important to be self critical but equally know your strengths. With a bit of creative thought you’ll get there.
What one piece of advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs starting out?
Know your numbers! It doesn’t matter how passionate you are, if your numbers don’t add up you are just running a charity. Also, if you are looking for a 9-5 job then it really isn’t for you. Be self-critical, know what you are best at and focus on that. There are some great resources out there online to teach yourself on the aspects you don’t know.
When I started out, I had in my head I had to be a ‘Business Man’. I felt like I had to act like I was on the Apprentice! With your business the best asset is you, if you try to be something else then it won’t work. Just be yourself.