Name Glo co-owners Sas Simon and Lena Imamura are no strangers to finding innovative ways to fulfill a need – whether that need is custom neon signs or protective gear during a pandemic.
The New York-based company’s story began in 2014 when Simon was scouring New York for someone to produce a neon sign of her nephew’s name as a birthday present.
Simon was frustrated by the lack of accessibility when it came to creating personalized signs so she Googled “neon New York City” only to find outdated websites and complicated explanations of neon production. “They were talking to me like I was a licensed electrician,” she says.
Then she remembered her high school friend, Imamura, a neon artist and sculptor who offered her a “seamless process” for creating the sign.
The two quickly became business partners, launching Name Glo in 2016 with the goal of creating “accessible, digestible” neon with a contemporary, feminine approach.
Name Glo has been innovating ever since, even designing a first-of-its-kind app to help customers design their own signage.“There was no application we could find that did exactly what we wanted,” says Simon.
When COVID-19 hit New York City, Name Glo temporarily closed – until Simon and Imamura saw health care workers’ dire need for masks. They quickly partnered with a doctor from Mt. Sinai to design effective, comfortable face shields and began 3-D printing the shields. Thus far, they have distributed more than 2,500 masks and plan to continue their efforts until the demand is met by other means.
“It has really been a grassroots effort,” says Imamura. “Friends, makers, workers, and caring citizens are all coming together and pitching in where they can to connect healthcare workers with the PPE they need.”