Jess Schaack and her husband have lots of Edison bulbs in their home. “We love exposed lighting,” she says, “but after a while, I wanted more.” Meaning, she wanted more color, something brighter, a bulb that was a tad more, well, creative. She jumped onto Pinterest to find the perfect bulb. Nothing. “I was amazed,” she says. So, Jess did what every self-respecting creative person does these days and decided to create her own. “My initial idea was to put a leopard print on an Edison bulb,” she says. “It would add personality, and look good when the bulb was on or off.”
Among the 12 beautiful designs now a part of her company, Relamp, leopard print isn’t one of them. But there are marbling patterns, a bright color swirl, a floral composition, and a giraffe print. She came up with the patterns after testing various designs and materials with her husband in their garage. “The curve of the glass was a big challenge,” she says, “but we got the paint and the patterning to a certain point and then reached out to other people who could help us.” The LED bulbs are printed in Minneapolis, and currently sold online, at Vibrant Décor and Style in St. Paul, at Habitation Furnishing + Design in St. Louis Park, and at two stores in Chicago.
“The future of lighting is 100 percent LEDs,” she says, which means Relamp’s creative bulbs will last 18 years or up to 2,500 hours. Because of the LEDs’ sustainability and longevity, she adds, the patterns she developed needed to address a variety of tastes. Styles also include a mahogany bulb (which the guys really like, she says), a vintage map design, and a light pine pattern. “The cloud design,” she adds, “looks whimsical, but put it in a brass Sputnik and you’ll get a different effect. It’s fun to be creative with them.”
To that end, the Schaaks are now also designing fixtures for their bulbs, building on a fast-growing company that just launched in January. There’s more. The Relamp packaging can be transformed into all manner of décor, from a telescope for kids, to a lamp base to a snack container. “We want our business (our very first!) to be a force for good, so we crafted our bold mission: Change A Light Bulb, Change the World,” she says.