It only took three years for an Australian couple to turn their $500 investment for a maternity leave side job into an $11 million empire with offices around the world.
Custom Neon, the creation of Jake and Jess Munday, has now landed in Downtown Los Angeles. The city is serving as their gateway into the U.S. market.
The business, which makes custom LED neon lights for customers of all sizes, realized it had a market here when they started to get big-name orders.
Facebook ordered a neon “Like” icon sign for its Playa Vista office building. Then they started getting customers such as Elon Musk, the Grammys and the Olympics. They recently provided neon signs for Paris Hilton’s wedding.
Kit Henseleit, the global operations manager, discovered the company on Instagram when it was less than a year old. Henseleit has spent several months in Los Angeles setting up the U.S. office and training its staff.
“Since our American market has just grown so rapidly, it was essential for us to have team members here in Los Angeles so that we can better serve our U.S. customers in the same time zone,” said Henseleit, who plans to return home this month.
“It’s so we are responsive, so we have people ready to help out our customers. It’s really important to us.”
In the competitive neon sign market, Custom Neon provides top-notch hand-built products and a quality team to match, she said.
“We can be contacted by phone, email, live chat and Instagram,” Henseleit said. “We’ve got physical offices with teams in them ready to help our customers. We also have a world-class custom design tour on our website that allows customers to type in whatever they want, choose from 36 fonts and 18 colors and check out directly from the website. The sign will arrive at their door in three to five weeks. If they don’t want to talk to people, they don’t have to. If they do, we’re right there waiting.”
Growing despite COVID-19
Launched in 2018, Custom Neon saw its largest markets—weddings and events—wiped out overnight when the pandemic hit. So, the staff pivoted to providing businesses with its products.
Henseleit said there was high demand because those that were open, wanted to attract business. Custom Neon made helped boost their visibility.
The goal for 2022 is to grow by another 50%. She said they love their spot on 1601 Vine Street because it is a beautiful office building, has a lot of cool eateries nearby and there are incredible views from their sixth floor space.
“We’re in the thick of it, which is where we want to be,” Henseleit said. “Being in Los Angeles is a great place for me to fly into being from Australia. It’s a direct flight.”
Custom Neon uses LED flex with most of its work that replaces the older-style neon signs made with glass tubes. This product is safer, cost efficient and lasts longer. They are lightweight and easy to install as well.
The Mundays’ mission is to be the most loved and trusted LED neon supplier. It’s important to be approachable and on-trend.
“We place a high importance on the customer getting the product they were intending to get,” Henseleit said. “We keep the customer in the loop. It’s three to five weeks for standard orders. It is important they know what is going on through the entire process.”
Design and consulting services are free and available, she said. The staff culls from customers the size, how the piece will be used and their budget.
Joining the LA community
Henseleit said the Los Angeles staff is thrilled to be a part of Downtown, and they plan to support local businesses and charities. One of Custom Neon’s values, she explained is “We are powered by passion.”
In December, the newly hired team traveled to Skylight Books, where they each chose a book for a child experiencing homelessness. The books were chosen, based on the child’s gender and age. They wrapped and delivered the books to The Good Shepard Center in DTLA for Christmas.
Even the staff holiday party supported their small business neighbors. They took a pottery class at Throw Clay, went bowling at X-Lanes and had an immersive dinner experience at BITE.
“We’re excited to keep exploring what Los Angeles has to offer,” Henseleit said.