About us

This is a story about the origins of The Coloring Lamp 2016 - 2021

Some of my first memories of growing up in Vancouver were of me and my Mom sitting at the kitchen table and coloring. I didn't realize it at the time but my Mum had this late suppers and moody ambiance thing happening!

My passion for lighting and art stands out when I reflect on my life. In entrepreneurship you need to believe deeply in your cause to make to keep at it, which is why I’ve been able to transcend the challenges. Like a moth I have been drawn to designing lamps and I ended up designing the world’s first coloring lamp.

Five years ago in 2016 I decided that I was going to design a successful lamp that “was so cool everybody would want one!” I was so convinced that backlit art was the coolest thing I had seen. I didn’t see a lot of affordable lighting available, and definitely no art lighting available. Armed with $10’000 I finished up my degree from UBC and a season of tree planting in British Columbia and I moved to Oregon to pursue my love of kiteboard and to start designing this imaginary art-lamp that would shine and inspire. I didn’t even know what it will look like yet. But I would just get into it and make something and be patient and revise the design until I got somewhere.

The journey

My first designs were big. I had made several geodesic dome’s in Kelowna, BC and so I started out making these large hexagonal chandeliers that were 6 feet across.

I bought a mitre saw and some basic tools and started figuring out how to cut super precise mitre angles. I had 1000% enthusiasm. Not much else. I remember feeling forlorn like I was looking up Mt. Everest wearing flip flops. It deeply tested me because of how much I had to learn. Two months into the design and I had bascially learned everything there was to know about mitre cuts and getting accurate angles with a magnetic angle finder.

I had to pause my efforts as my money ran out so I went tree planting again, taught Kiteboarding and saved up money for round two, all the while thinking about how my next lamps might look. I knew I wanted to print images to backlit film because ink and backlit film is low cost and I love the glowing vibrant effect is created.

I did some travelling to Europe and Africa and I caught a breakthrough as I was standing in front of the Great Pyramid of Egypt. I was so curious about of the missing cap stone at the top and I started researching it. I was really curious about ancient geometry and ancient civilizations so I started designing a new pendant lamp that had eight sides and used the same face geometry as the missing capstone of the Great Pyramid of Egypt.
When I put high resolution images of nature such as the moon, clouds, water and stone, I felt pure awe.

 

Perseverance and an appetite for learning and embracing your failures...

Link to the first video of a special moment in my breakthrough Click here


That was designed into a trigonal bi-pyramid (a three sided pyramid on top of another three sided pyramid) and I started making these strange geometric lamps with photography that was backlit from within the plywood body. At this point I was pretty off the mark still; I had no idea who to sell these things to, but the consensus was that they were pretty cool. I was happy just learning and it seemed like a limitless playground. I just loved getting up every day and building light sculptures and finding solutions. It was the first time in my life that I truly fulfilled at work. And usually ever two or three days I would complete a new iteration and I would love having another lamp in my bedroom. I had about 8 different lamps in my place at this point. I would be thinking about what to try out next as I was kiteboarding or mountain biking. I felt sure that if I kept on pushing through to the next design that I would stumble upon new ever more exciting paths.

 

One day the wooden body cracked and bent in my car because the sun was too hot and that was the moment where I realized I needed to start designing with aluminum. I was in San Luis Obispo, California at this time in 2018 and that’s when I came back to Vancouver, BC to begin iterations with aluminum. On the drive I madly obsessed and designed a way they would ship flat and assemble with magnets. I was getting over a bad breakup and product design was a good place to sequester. I wasn't dumped because my place lacked ambiance... that's for sure.
I learned how to CNC sheet aluminum at the Makerlabs in Vancouver. These iterations VERY time consuming and stood 33 inches tall. At this point it was pretty clear that I was obsessed and also sorts of lost between design and actually selling these things. It was a challenging part of being an entrepreneur with almost no sales experience.
I definitely would not have made it if I was not totally obsessed. I completed 12 of my first series of large aluminum Lumids in time for the Culture Crawl in Vancouver. It was a memorable and rewarding feeling. The verdict was that they were to large for normal home use. But they were cool yet unrefined. Industrial and pointy as hell. I sold 5 of them to a funky cafe and had 4 more on display at Cafe Deux Soleil on the Drive. That winter I started working with a metal shop that could laser cut aluminum and I made a smaller consumer model. I was under the impression that they could be sold as Art Lamps for around CND $250. But really, I think I was hung up on making light sculptures and not really sure how to approach selling art.

The journey so far!

These ones were getting pretty precise and I was feeling pretty good about the way the inner triangles magnetically snapped into place. I made 30 of them and did a display at a large 8’000 person festival. I loved answering peoples questions and talking about the design with people. My friend Scott worked so hard with me that week to get everything set up and it went over really well. I moved to Kamloops BC and that’s when I started to become curious about changing the shape to one large image. These lamps up to this point each had 6 different images. Assembly took time and they seemed like one-off art sculptures. I was increasingly interested in scalability and understanding how to create something that had a wide audience and added real value to someone's life. I had to find a specific audience and it seemed likely that photographers and artists would like to design their own lamp. I loved designing lamps, so maybe people wanted to upload their images and be a lamp designer and share images that moved them? That’s when I started to focus on the cylinder cylindrical shape and finding cool three-dimensional photography that really looked amazing.

 

At this time Christmas 2019. Started to make sales and have a functioning website. People in my life kept on being surprised of my tenacity. I was really needing a breakthrough. It came in the form of collaboration. I had an acquaintance with Autumn Skye, a very established artists in BC and she agreed to license some paintings to me for use in backlit art lamps.
At this point, I learned how to take proper photos of backlit lamps which is quite technical. With Skye's advocacy I could approach other artists and it began to snowball. John Speaker, Shorsh, totemical, Jetsy, Chris Dyer, Mugwort, and Caren Chroma to name a few all became collaborators. My lamps were in online stores all of a sudden. John Speaker sold 12 lamps in 5 hours one morning. I’ll never forget the rush.

 

Here we go!

I had a lot to learn in order to get the project to being a sustainable business. But considering where I was in 2016 with a palm sander and a mitre saw in a sweltering basement of a rental in Hood River, Oregon I had a real direction happening. Art lamps were selling and the Makerspace in Kamloops allowed me to rent a scary looking corner of the federal building that used to be the jail and the armoury in 1896-1910. I had a small production line in the old armoury and I loved the aspect of working with Art that really spoke to me. Customers were giving me good feedback and the product was getting better every week. I was doing good work and research for what I new was the next step: finding a passionate niche, finding a way for the Lumid to solve common problems within that niche, and outsourcing the production of the product so that I could bring my lamp design to a wider audience.

In May 2020 I was hiking one sunny morning and racking my brain for the next breakthrough, as I had done so many times in the previous 4 years. I started thinking about coloring with my Mom as a kid and about how many coloring books I had seen in my friends homes in recent years. I started looking at #adultcoloringbooks and #coloringpages on instagram. The sizeof the community and the amazing work that was on display blew me away! I began making some connections in the illustration art world and talking to influencers in the space about the state of Adult Coloring Books. I got my first Johanna Basford coloring books and started experimenting with every type of pen and coloring pencils I could get my hands on.

        Over the following 10 months I kept making Lumid Lamps for my artists and working on the next big pivot; The Coloring Lamp. What I found was so encouraging. I discovered that people who color are very warm, enjoy chatting, and are always open to sharing and caring. I’ve been fortunate to have help from some big influencers in the space who have tested and adored the Coloring Lamp. It's been nearly a year since I tested the first Coloring Lamp and It has been a lot of granular & high-level product develop since it was first conceived. This last year has been about going into new levels of management and execution and it has been the most rewarding year of work I've ever had.
      As I write this our Kickstarter video is about to go live and we have some HUGE announcements regarding artist & influencer collaborations. I'm stunned, to be honest. I’m so grateful that the project has taken on a new momentum after a partnership with my enthusiastic and talented CFO, Christian. And after some key assistance from my friend and influencer @colourbrightbex.

Thanks for taking an interest in this story of the entrepreneurial hope and product design. I hope there’s much more to come. If you’d like to see a visual chronology of my lampy-inventions please check out my instagram page: Click here

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