Member Stories: eyecandy SIGNS

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Ace of Base may have been the ones to sing about seeing “the” sign. But take a walk around Halifax—and look at all the signs you can see—and chances are Allison Moz and the team behind eyecandy SIGNS are responsible for making it seen.

For the last 20 years, eyecandy has been filling Atlantic Canada with creative and memorable signs for small businesses and large institutions alike. The team takes pride in their unique designs, exceptional craftsmanship, and the fact that people will literally recognize and talk about their signs.

“It’s the creativity that makes our signs recognizable,” says Allison. “We’re artists that focus on the design as a means to deliver a clear message. It lends itself well to creating signs that are not only effective, but that capture peoples’ imaginations too.”

The business had a very organic start. Jake Ethridge established eyecandy in 1997 after the sign shop he had been working at closed. Several of his creative colleagues joined him at a studio on Gottingen Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia and together they quickly discovered Jake’s creative aesthetic was a hit. Many of their first signs are still recognized throughout Halifax.

In 2004, Allison stepped into the role of co-owner and operator. An entrepreneur with her own small business at the time, she and Jake recognized their independent strengths made them mutually stronger. “Entrepreneur partnerships are the backbone of many small businesses,” she points out. Their partnership is certainly effective—Allison’s focus is on accessibility design and business development, while Jake remains committed to creating unique design and manufacturing details.

The secret to their success has been the understanding that even the most mundane products can stand out. A ubiquitous washroom sign for example can become a piece of art. “We create a visual language that people can grab hold of. As standards for accessibility change across Canada, we need to make sure braille signs stand above the field and get people where they need to go as efficiently as possible.”

It also helps that everyone at eyecandy is devoted to the company.

“There is nothing harder than running a business,” Allison says. “If you don’t want to do it, then you shouldn’t be in it. You have to enjoy working hard and believe in your vision. You have to be committed to giving it everything and partner with others who share that vision.”

“It will take over your life,” she adds. “Your business will become the most personal part of your life.” And to Allison, the key to succeeding as a small business owner is to surround yourself with people who support you and share your values.

One key supporter has been iNova Credit Union. “They actively pursued us,” Allison explains. “We never considered our bank a partner before. We thought of it as just an institution.” But from the very first conversation with Dave Moffat at iNova, Allison knew they shared the same values. “We talked about the entrepreneurial spirit in the North End of Halifax. We understood each other. Dave was ready to support us.”

The credit union supported eyecandy on an application for a mortgage and within a year, Allison and Jake were able to purchase their building—which happens to be just around the corner from iNova.

When asked what she is most proud of, Allison doesn’t hesitate: “Our success! People love what we do and that’s measurable."

Images courtesy of eyecandy SIGNS' Facebook.