Graduate student launches neon sign startup

Carissa Brones, who is pursuing a Master of Science in entrepreneurship, launched the company in July along with Warren Weiss, a Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising alumnus. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

Noticing the growing popularity of neon signs adorning the walls of local Los Angeles establishments, Carissa Brones, who is pursuing a Master of Science in entrepreneurship, and Warren Weiss, a Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising alumnus, founded startup Good Life Neon to contribute to the trend.

Launched in July, the company designs and produces custom neon signs for its clients. To grow the brand, Brones and Weiss have been advertising to bars, restaurants and stores. Thus far, Good Life Neon has created two signs: one for a birthday party and one for Sugar Lemon Water spa.

“We want to make the signs part of the design of the place and also something people think is really pretty and want to take pictures,” Brones said. “A lot of…destinations now have something that makes them attractive and you go not for the store but to take the picture. We’re really playing into that appeal.”

Brones and Weiss met at an Equinox gym over a year ago, and have been close friends since. They were inspired to create neon signs when they saw how well they were selling at the store Weiss used to work at.

After taking two entrepreneurship classes at USC Marshall School of Business during the last semester of senior year, Brones was convinced to start a business. According to Brones, launching a startup had already in the back of her mind as she knew the venture would encourage independence and creativity.

Good Life Neon Company accepts commissions, creates sign designs and sends them to a third-party manufacturer. Brones and Weiss are hoping to work with businesses in Los Angeles and eventually branch out into multiple cities. Their current project includes developing a sign for a bar in Palm Springs.

The business is also working on building an Instagram following and a stronger digital brand.

In the future, Brones hopes to own a fitness center while Weiss aspires to start a clothing boutique. The Good Life Neon co-founders aspire to familiarize themselves with popular brands in their chosen fields by designing signs for them.

“A lot of entrepreneurs that you’ll talk to, they’ll say … if you want to know what it’s like, start your own business and get out there and learn everything on your own,” Brones said. “And it’s true. In the real world, when you have to do things on your own …you’re out there and have to figure things out as they go.”

While Brones and Weiss consider the company a side project for the time being, they are hoping it expands and appeals to the brands they look up to. Brones believes that leading this business will be a learning experience and a good career opportunity.