A creative team who hit on the idea of using a specific neon light technology to create unique and affordable artworks for homes and businesses are expanding their new venture with the help of funding from UK Steel Enterprise.
Light Up North has been set up by Emma Krause, who hails from Bedfordshire and Dave Freeney from Dublin. Both are relative newcomers to the area but have taken their new home town of Saltburn and the region to their hearts and a £5000 loan from UKSE’s Regeneration Fund is now helping to take their business forward.
Light Up North is blazing a trail by using electroluminescent neon wire technology for a range of stunning artworks from giraffes, mermaids and flamingos to house signs, mottos and events signs. They are attracting commissions from domestic and commercial buyers with works on show in night clubs, hotels, shops and on advertising boards.
“We were working flat out to complete Christmas orders and already have a very busy start to 2017,” said Emma Krause. “We are looking for more space now as we work from my garage and Dave’s home workshop.”
The EL neon wire, which is eco-friendly, has been used in the automotive and other industries but Emma believes they are leading the way by using it in an artistic and creative way.
Their work is already selling fast at Saltburn’s new interior design shop LillianDaph and attracting attention from top interior design bloggers and from national magazines. Emma and Dave, who has considerable commercial theatre lighting experience, met when he re-wired Emma’s house.
“We quickly realised the potential of pooling our ideas, skills and experience,” said Emma, “and the response has been amazing. One of the reasons behind our name choice was that we have found the North to be a great place to start a business. There is so much talent, drive and commitment here and great opportunities and support.
“We couldn’t have done this without UK Steel Enterprise’s advice and funding as we needed to develop our skills and products and plan new premises. The Redcar and Cleveland Business Growth Team put us in touch with UKSE and we’ve also tapped into the Business Mentorship Scheme and marketing support from Teesside University.”
Sarah Thorpe of UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business support subsidiary said: “We thought Light Up North’s works were stunning as soon as we saw them and it is great to hear Emma praising the area and the business support it offers. Our Regeneration Fund may provide small amounts of finance compared to our packages of up to £1m available for large projects but, as Light Up North proves, they can be vital at an early stage.”
Details of UK Steel Enterprise’s support for businesses from 01642 777 777 or www.uksteelenterprise.co.uk.
Photo: Sara Thorpe (centre) of UK Steel Enterprise with Emma Krause and Dave Freeney of Light Up North and some of the artworks available at Saltburn’s new interior design shop LillianDaph.