(Original Photo By: Gregorio Photography)
There are very few things in this world better than seeing something make someone happy. In Brian Lim’s case, he was able to relive that moment time and time again as he built the company we know as EmazingLights from the ground up.
Growing up, Brian’s parents had come to the United States to escape communism in China. For 25 years they worked tirelessly as they ran a doughnut shop, which unfortunately left them in a great deal of debt. From this experience, Brian formed his aspirations of financial independence and entrepreneurship. Whether it was burning CDs and selling them to friends in elementary and middle school or building computers with parts he was able to obtain at a lower price due to his gaming sponsorship, Brian found a way to make things work.
“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just didn’t really know the best product or service. After graduation from UCLA and my previous entrepreneur spirit, which was just really pedaling whatever I could for extra money to survive, I came across gloving. I actually fell in love with the art form and I noticed a huge gap in the availability of great products and a good company that was providing a good service. As soon as I was able to save up $100 to buy some pretty janky products from the retailer at that point, I started selling them on Craigslist and meeting up with people at the local Jack in the Box. I just took the profits and kept reinvesting back into what is called EmazingLights today.”
At the time of EmazingLights’ birth, Brian was working for Deloitte Consulting Company for about two years. It was a rewarding position that he enjoyed very much, but there was nothing quite like the look on people’s faces in that Jack in the Box parking lot when he would deliver pairs of gloves.
“What really took me by surprise was when I was delivering these glove sets to these glovers. Their eyes would light up like it was Christmas morning. I could actually see that I made a big difference in this person’s life. Multiply that by thousands of others that I was meeting since I was selling sets locally, and I was like ‘wow, I feel like I have a bigger impact doing this and making people happy with these glove sets than I have working at a big corporate job, where if they lost me I don’t think they would really care.’”
Although, making people happy doesn’t necessarily put money in the bank as often as one would hope. One of the toughest parts about getting EmazingLights off the ground and achieving the status that it functions at today, was finding a way to make things work monetarily. As Brian says, the company is bootstrapped off of that first one hundred dollar investment.
“I didn’t exactly grow up with the best network where I had a rich uncle or a rich friend or anything like that. Most of my friends were more broke than I was, which was pretty sad. When growing a business from the ground up, I was relying on learning a lot of things myself and trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. I wasn’t able to hire the best talent so I really had to work with what I had. I was freelancing folks and asking for favors until we were really able to grow and offer real time positions. It was an extremely slow process compared to someone with an investment or working in capital. When you’re starting from nothing, it’s just much tougher.”
On the other hand, one of the most interesting aspects of creating something such as EmazingLights from the ground up has been the way in which it grows. Brian sees himself and his abilities as the lid for the company’s advancement. That being said, the more growth there is in the electronic dance music market, the more business potential elevates. This potential has allowed him to expand his business ventures to other companies like iHeartRaves and IntoTheAm which have grown into leading sellers of clothing that applies to both festival fashion and street style. According to Brian, his companies can only grow as quickly as he can manage them and assemble smarter teams to help him do so. Knowing all of this has helped Brian delve into the understanding of how to become a better leader. By keeping up with the latest blogs geared toward the industry and continuing to learn about the dance music community, he is able to push ‘the lid’ up even further.
In fact, Brian has been able to use EmazingLights in a way that not only works closely with the dance music community, but also to help those who truly need it. The latest charity from EmazingLights, known as Glove4Glove, has made leaps and bounds towards shedding light on the medical benefits of gloving.
“Our headline story is about a kid whose name is Matthew Hernandez…Matthew’s story is that he was born premature, he has Cerebral Palsy, and he can’t walk. So this guy is about 15 years old, he can’t really use one of his arms and he has had no finger strength for his entire life. He started gloving, and because he enjoys it, it pushed him to build finger and hand strength. Today he can actually lift weights. He was very depressed in the past where nothing would really excite him but now he has become a spokesperson for the medical benefits of gloving. Now he’s outgoing. He’s talkative. He’s talking on social media…for a guy that can’t exactly get up and start shuffling or do a traditional form of dance, dancing with your hands has really opened up a whole new way for him to express himself. There are so many other people with other situations where gloving has been able to help them through their toughest times. Through Glove4Glove I believe we’ve already donated 1,500 glove sets. So when someone purchases a glove set we donate one to those that are in need.”
Brian has also recently launched a campaign to lift the ban on gloving at major music festivals. For the last few years, gloving has been unwelcome at a number of festivals including those under Insomniac Events, the reason being that city officials have deemed it a fire hazard. Also, those not involved in the rave scene and don’t quite understand it tend to only see it as a drug-related activity. The ‘Gloving Is Not A Crime” campaign sets out to raise awareness of the positive effects of gloving, educate city officials about how the art form has evolved, and to shift the focus from gloving as a drug-related enterprise and make it entirely its own entity.
“One of the big things from 5 years ago was to try and legitimize the art form of gloving and to introduce gloving competitions where you would have official judges, official sponsors, and prizes, which has evolved into IGC today. It’s like the Super Bowl of gloving competitions. But the whole idea was if we show how far the art form has evolved, it’s no longer just a bunch of kids waving flashing lights in front of each other’s faces. It’s a real art form that people are practicing literally every single day and it showcases the art side. One of our challenges with Gloving Is Not A Crime is that gloving was born from the rave scene, and therefore it has an array of negative stigma already. We have to try to educate city officials and show them that gloving is not just a ‘druggy’ thing, it really is an art form. That’s what our #GlovingIsNotACrime campaign is all about…the ban is very counter-intuitive to the festival and rave scene because you’re supposed to be able to express yourself and be free, right? Now imagine they said you can’t shuffle anymore. To all the shufflers who spent all that time developing their art, you could imagine how they would feel when they are totally singled out. That’s how glovers feel. They can’t practice their dance form at a music festival from which it was originated.”
Brian has not only devoted himself to making the electronic dance music community a place where people are able to feel as though they belong, but he has also made substantial efforts to provide members of the dance music community with the essential items they need to keep the magic going.