Interview: Owner of LEDGloves
The Aurora, Simplex and Nano series of lights have quickly become a favorite in the gloving community. The man behind them, Jarrad Fallon, isn't in the spotlight often but he is super passionate about the flow arts. We sat down with him this week to discuss his lights, his path to success, and a little bit about his personal life.
How and when did you get into gloving?
I’ve owned gloves in one form or another for about 4 years now, but I’ve only been seriously practicing the art of gloving for a little over 2 years now. It was Coachella 2014, all my friends were sleeping and I was roaming around late at night listening to some live music and I had my gloves on me still. An awesome guy named Gio noticed my gloves, approached me and asked if I wanted to trade. Despite my lack of experience I said sure. He then gave me what turned out to be a life changing light show. It was beautiful, he brought me through a full range of emotions, telling a story with his hands and lights. I was instantly hooked. We became fast friends, and roamed the festival grounds for the rest of the night sharing stories and being dweebs.
What made you want to start making lights?
After Coachella I immediately bought a pair of Chromas and began practicing, and after a solid 3 months of gloving all day - all night, I realized I had fallen in love with the art. At the time I was doing a bit of soul searching, looking for a career path to pursue. I wanted to do something I was passionate about, a job that didn’t feel like work. It just so happened that gloving was my new found passion, so I decided to pursue building my vision of a perfect light.
What kind of engineering experience did you have before this?
I went to college for electrical and computer engineering with a concentration on embedded electronics. So basically I went to school to learn how to design microprocessor systems, which is exactly what LED microlights are.
It sounds like a perfect match - you wanting a career but being fully equipped to pursue this passion. Did you do the entire design yourself?
Yes absolutely! I was a bit out of practice at the time so I did have a little help setting things up from a wonderful friend, but the hundreds of hours coding, testing and debugging were all me.
I think that makes you the only one man show.! Tell us about your experience getting the lights manufactured - was it easy, hard, what mistakes were made?
In some ways yes, in other ways no. I designed the PCB and system and sent it off to be manufactured through a reputable company, that was the easy part. Quality control is a whole different ball game. The first few batches had some issues, but after a few iterations and we nailed down a solid, reliable manufacturing protocol.
Did friends and family help you fund it, or did you just save up to make it happen? It's lot to take on.
Credit cards! I wanted to be 100% in business and ready to ship orders the day I launched, so I built the company in the background, charged up a bunch of inventory and I was in business.
So then I guess the real question is have you managed to make gloving your full time job yet, or do you have another job?
I can proudly say that gloving is my full time job =)
That's really cool to hear! So I have to ask, are your lights "attached" to gloves? hahaha.
Attached - Merriam-Webster.com definition
connected or joined to something
No, there is nothing that connects, joins or is attaches the light component to the glove component, therefore they are not attached. For them to be attached, logically you would have to sew them together.
Do any glovers ever refer to them as being attached?
No. This terminology is not common to the realm of gloving.
Do you have any thoughts on patent 9148931? (http://www.google.com/patents/US9148931)
It is a very specific patent pertaining to a very specific embodiment of an LED microlight. Though it makes some broad claims, it only protects intellectual property in very specific cases. My patent attorney and I have reviewed the documents extensively and are 100% positive that no currently existing products infringe on this patent.
So after all these years, making lights, running a company, etc. Who is your favorite glover?
That guy Gio, he helped inspire me to do the work I am today and I’ll forever be grateful.
Do you consider gloving an art, sport, dance...what is gloving to you?
I personally consider gloving to be an expressive form of dance focusing on illusions and manipulation of perception.
That's a great explanation. What do you think about gloving competitions?
They’re cool and all because they bring the community together and push the envelope, but I really am not a fan of quantifying an artist's expression and applying a scoring metric to their performance. I glove for fun and to share experiences with others, so turning that into a competition doesn’t align with my intent as a glover. Not saying that competitions are bad in any way, it’s just not my style.
What glove set do you recommend to beginners?
The Simplex Nano glove set. It’s the lowest priced programmable glove set made in the industry and has more features than any gloves in its class. The chips are also 40% smaller than any other light, making it much easier to wiggle your fingers without smacking your lights off of each other doing finger rolls.
Great product plug, haha, they really are the best beginner set! If someone told you they wanted to help the gloving scene, what advice would you give them?
Some wise advice was given to me after I gave someone a light show at an event, he said “Leave a piece of yourself with every show” and that really resonated with my personal philosophy. If you want to do something good for the scene, it starts with every interaction, be kind, courteous, helpful and respectful to your fellow glovers. Teach each other things, help each other grow. It won’t happen overnight, but if you start planting the seeds now, the future of gloving can be wonderful.
That is an awesome piece of advice. I guess that would carry over to who you align yourself with so how do you pick your sponsors?
First thing I look for is intent, why do you want to be a sponsored glover? If it aligns with the foundations of my company, we can go from there.
Why are your lights different or better than other lights? More product plug....go!
The nano line of lights are the smallest chips made by any company by a wide margin, so that makes gloving feel more natural. Have you ever noticed how much different it is throwing a show with your fingers than with gloves and lights? The nano’s are about as close to a finger show you can get without getting LED implants.
They are some of my favorite go-to lights. Can you tell us anything about your upcoming gloving projects? (web, events, tutorials, etc.)
No =) I like surprises!
Can you tell us anything about future products you may release?
I’ve been spinning poi off and on for over 10 years now, so keep an eye out for that.