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Behind the neon glow: How Jack Quddus created Birmingham’s neon sign powerhouse

Meet Jack Quddus, the mastermind behind NeonCow - a revolutionary neon sign company that’s quickly gaining traction across the UK and internationally.



At just 20 years old, Jack set out on a mission to create stunning neon signs that spoke to individuals on a personal level.


Little did he know that his venture would soon become a national sensation, attracting corporate giants like Harvey Nichols and even catching the attention of celebrities like Ja Rule.


Get ready to be inspired as Jack shares the story behind NeonCow and how this company is making its mark worldwide.

 

NeonCow bursts onto the scene

Based in Birmingham, NeonCow’s story began when Jack was searching for a neon sign of J Cole’s iconic ‘Born Sinner’ album cover.


Unable to find a company who understood his vision or had a personalised approach to customers, Jack realised he’d stumbled across a gap in the market, and the idea for NeonCow was born.

He began learning to create statement art neon signs, using his mum’s kitchen as a workshop, and officially opened for business in January 2022.


Initially, the plan was to create signs for personal use, "I wanted my customers to be people like me and you who just wanted something for themselves".


However, following an unexpected boom in demand from local businesses, he decided to rethink his initial plans and expand to serve corporate clients as well.


As a result, NeonCow is fast becoming the recognised brand for high quality, affordable, energy-efficient neon signs.

 

For the love of customers

What sets NeonCow apart from the rest is its unwavering focus on customers.


Unlike other businesses that use online customisation tools and operate in a depersonalised, transactional nature, Jack takes the time to visit his customers to get a feel for the business and an understanding of what the customer is trying to achieve with the sign.


Do they want to grab attention? Or increase footfall? Do they want to create a particular type of atmosphere?


He then pours this understanding into a perfectly curated neon sign, and the results speak for themselves!

 

The ups and downs

Running a business is never a smooth ride. "When you do something like this, the ups are great but the downs are just as bad. Ultimately, it’s you that everything falls on."


Instead of getting too attached to either successes or failures, Jack tries to stay focussed on his goals and reasons for starting the business. "In an ideal world, you’d say ‘oh I welcome the challenges,’ but they can take a toll on you... it’s easy to get lost in the noise and lose focus."


Despite any obstacles Jack might have faced, the successes of NeonCow have already been huge.


He now has a small production team on board and is working with some major clients, including establishing himself as the national supplier for Harvey Nichols!


He’s also started to tap into international markets this year gaining customers in New York, Vancouver, Switzerland, Spain, Gambia and more - “it’s a new challenge but I welcome it with open arms”.

 

A strong foundation

Jack's journey has definitely been influenced by his upbringing. From a young age, he spent time working at his grandparents' corner shop, helping with deliveries and chatting to customers.


“I’ve got a lot to thank them for. It put me in a great place to get comfortable with naturally engaging with people and it’s 100% influenced me wanting to have my own business.”


He also talks about working in his cousin’s brewery and the huge amount of support that all of his family have given him in getting the business up and running.


“Having those people are around you is really important, especially when times are tough.”

 

Lighting the way

With his passion for people and understanding of business, Jack has already achieved remarkable success. Here are some invaluable pieces of advice he has for other young business owners:


Build a brand that speaks

"Branding is a big thing for me, there are so many companies where their downfall is that they have no brand. I never wanted NeonCow to be a singular transactional purchase. Yes, you’re buying a neon sign, but you’re also buying into NeonCow and you’re part of something."


Embrace networking

"Talk to people, whether it’s at networking events or just someone down the road – you never know what you might learn."


Don't rush, take your time

"I hear a lot of people who start businesses and want to drop their 9-5 straight away, but my advice would be to slow down. Having a full-time job gives you flexibility to test things out and take more risks with your business."

 

Speaking to Jack, it’s clear that he absolutely loves what he’s doing.


Over the next few years, he plans to keep a constant focus on the customer, work with more corporate clients, and crack the international market.


However, he also talks about being prepared to adapt the business as he goes. “Until you do it, you never really know. That’s all we’re really doing isn’t it, just trying to figure things out!”


It’s clear we can expect big things from Jack and NeonCow and we can’t wait to see where he takes this incredible business next.

By Dominique Gardner

 

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