Glow On

This entrepreneur found a business idea in a material that sparked his creativity.
Magazine Contributor
1 min read

This story appears in the August 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When it comes to the uses of electroluminescent wire, many might draw a blank. Others, like Benjamin James Jr., founder of production company Funhouse Productions, see the bendable, glowing phosphor wire and envision a luminescent, colorful school of 4-foot fish swimming through the pitch-dark Nevada desert.

In 1999, James brought his fish to life at Burning Man, an annual art festival, and was further inspired to import the Israeli-made wire after realizing how difficult the material was to obtain. He trademarked the wire Cool Neon and revolutionized his 12-year-old Oakland, California, business by becoming the primary source for wire artists worldwide. Cool Neon applications range from necklaces to safety lighting. And with help from his eager friends, James has taken on some innovative projects, including making glowing suits for the recording artist Beck. "There's a wide margin between business and pleasure," says James, 40, who expects 2006 sales to exceed $450,000. "It's so wide that there's plenty of room for all my friends to dance on the line."

More from Entrepreneur

Learn to be a better leader and develop successful marketing and branding strategies with Dr. Patti Fletcher's help.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.

Latest on Entrepreneur