My side hustle: why Poke's Nik Roope launched an energy efficient light bulb brand

Starting with one prototype back in 2007 and launching the first production model three years later, Poke's co-founder Nik Roope now runs Plumen, a growing designer efficient light bulb company.

Roope took a risk with Plumen's first 001 lightbulb inventory by shipping their initital consignment – 10,000 units over from China, ahead of their launch at the BFI. Fast forward to 2018 and Plumen now sells multiple light bulb designs as well as shades and accessories.

Roope said: "I'm very concerned about the environment and this is something I can do. Even though we're not tackling energy directly, the demand side is really important to fix.

"You can spin up a windmill but if people are still using far too much energy on the other side then you still have to keep a coal fired power station on stream. Actually reducing energy is really really important."

Roope is a strong believer in side hustles, proividing they are "managable" and work with "the specific needs" of a person's full time role. He also thinks side hustles help you to "keep in touch" with what's happening on the ground and he feels he can often draw on his experience at Plumen when making senior decisions at Poke.

He said: "When you become a senior player in an agency, yes you have more kind of influence one way but also you're more distant from the thing you're producing.

"There's some dangers with that – particularly when you have technology that's constantly changing. So actually running some of the stuff for Plumen and being hands on really keeps me in touch with whats happening."

However, launching a start-up "doesn't come without its sacrifices", says Roope. He added: "I'd say don't bother unless you're really committed and really excited by what you're doing."

The brand name comes from "the fusion of the word plume and lumen" with the metaphor of the plume as the non functional feather and then lumen meaning light. Roope believes Plumen could grow to be huge, because it fits a gap in the lighting market between the expensive and aspirarional "Tom Dixons of this world" and cheaper Osram light bulbs.

He said: "The technology is ubiquitous so wherever you go in the world you'll find roughly the same light bulb format – so there's a great opportunity there."

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