This year has been seminal for Kings of Neon, thanks to successfully breaking into the US market. It made signs for the NFL draft and also for the events company Live Nation.
“We did a six-figure order for [US festival] Lollapalooza as well. We did the main installation where everyone walks through the entry. That was definitely a highlight,” says Pastor.
While its bread-and-butter is making signs for small businesses, it also works for big names such as Adidas and Twitter. It also makes signs for engagement parties and private homes, and even produces naughty signs for the adult industry.
The website incorporates a tool through which people can design custom signs, which cost upwards of $300.
Although the business model was initially e-commerce-based, its B2B side is run in a more traditional way.
“As a society, we’re obsessed with not talking to people. But we push through that awkwardness, because everyone still wants to chat,” says Pastor.
Developing talent is a priority. “We’re a big believer in growing the team from the bottom up. We bring on a lot of trainees and they will lead new markets in the future,” he says.
Like Kings of Neon, online activewear and streetwear site LSKD, which is also part of this year’s AFR Fast Starter’s list, is also pursuing an offline strategy in tandem with its online business.
The company was founded as Loose Kid Industries in 2002 as a wholesale outfit from CEO Jason Daniel’s mum’s bedroom.
Daniel moved into the company full time in 2010 after he finished his carpentry apprenticeship. The business was rebranded to LSKD in September 2018 and the wholesale business was closed in 2020.
“We then started developing functional sportswear with a street aesthetic. Every decision we make goes back to our mission of inspiring people to chase the vibe through sport, fitness and adventure. We want to create something bigger than ourselves and stand for something more than just selling a product,” he says.
LSKD develops its own raw materials for its proprietary Rep and Zephyr fabrics, out of which its women’s leggings are made. “Our Rep tight has more than 4000 five-star reviews,” says Daniel.
He explains the company is now pursuing a blended commerce strategy that combines online and offline.
“We’re moving into the retail space at a rapid pace,” he says. “We have opened two stores so far, and we aim to open a total of five stores across major Australian cities, as well as a shop in New Zealand, over the next 12 months. Our next store will be opened in Chermside Westfield Shopping Centre on December 3.”
Aside from developing its local operations, LSKD is also exploring growth opportunities in international markets such as New Zealand, the US and UK. This year, it also opened a 4000 square metre warehouse, office and retail store in its hometown of Loganholme, Queensland.
Next year there are plans to continue with its retail store roll-out and explore new international markets. Says Daniel: “Our aim is to build a global brand presence and become a household name.”
The business will also continue to hire new team members, and Daniel says the goal is to develop staff so they are capable of being employed as CEOs in the future.
“We will also continue to improve our in-house commitments to sustainability as a clothing brand and explore new collaborations,” he adds.