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Making Merry

This innovator really lights up a room . . .or a house, or a city.

Entrepreneur: Jamie A. Limber, 37, founder of Phoenix-based Christmas Light Co.
Description: Inventor and wholesaler of Christmas products and accessories
Startup: $155,000 in 1997 2006 projected
Sales: $8.5 million

Tinsel Town: For many, Christmas is about tinsel, tidings and wrappings. But for Jamie Limber, it signifies a profitable opportunity to paint the town red and green. It all began when Limber was a freshman in college and started a $25,000-a-year side business decorating houses for the holidays with a friend. Even while working as a sales manager after college, he used his vacation time to continue the lucrative tradition. In 1997, Limber went full time with the business, convincing two of his colleagues to jump aboard the Christmas bandwagon.

All Lit Up: Lighting up houses led to brightening whole areas, including Phoenix and Hong Kong. But while decorating was Limber's gateway into the industry, it wasn't his final destination. He started noticing a need for products that didn't yet exist. Ideas sprang forth, including the Wrap-n-Roll, a device that neatly unrolls lights and avoids tangles, and Black-Out Caps, which make covering undesirably visible lights merrily simple. "We think innovation is a mind-set," says Limber. "We're constantly coming up with new ideas."

Sleigh Ride: Limber and his partners took their inventions straight to the trade shows. They also persistently submitted their Wrap-n-Roll product to QVC until the network picked it up for their 2000 "Christmas in July" show, which resulted in the immediate sellout of 17,000 units. Every year, they introduce new products to more than 45,000 retail locations, including Home Depot, Target and Wal-Mart, and have secured 20 U.S. and foreign patents for products that help consumers put up, take down and store their lights. Says Limber, "Our goal is to change the face of Christmas decorating and the way people decorate."

This story appears in the December 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »