Showroom of the Year: Revenue Under $2 Million

Jodie Orange, Living Lighting on King’s owner and chief “Lighting Ninja,” didn’t prepare any comments for this year’s Showroom of the Year Awards ceremony. “It’s just me, I never expect to win,” she says. “I figured if our name was called I would just go up there and be genuine.”

Being genuine, as well as innovative and exceptionally creative, are traits that describe both Orange and her 4,500-square-foot showroom. Located in a high-end furniture district, Living Lighting on King draws in professional designers and the district’s hip denizens living on King in luxury condos.

Inspired by graffiti artists as well as the rugged Newfoundland coast, Orange works hard to keep the showroom fresh and interesting. A new lighting lab showcasing LED light sources is unlike anything in the Toronto market. Herself an interior designer, Orange created isolated boxes that allow designers to see how fabric swatches and metal finishes will render under one lamp or another.

As a special touch, the display is built from Living Lighting on King’s Interior Design Show booth — a wall that customers sign and write notes on.

“It’s fun when designers are working in the lab and spot their own name,” Orange says. “The lighting lab has given us a real edge and makes our salespeople — we call them Lighting Ninjas — even more dangerous. It’s also helped replacement lamp sales.”

Orange said Canada’s economy tanked just as she was opening her showroom, so building a small business in tough times is “all we have ever known.” Today her showroom carries more product than ever before and the staff has grown, too. When competitors were laying off employees, Orange resisted. “I invested in our team as much as I could, and it has paid off.”

Orange went to the June Dallas Market with a fellow Lighting Ninja in tow, a first. “We spent two days going in and out of showrooms before I took time to have my own meetings and write orders,” Orange says. She is a firm believer in networking.

All the risks Orange has taken to establish a profitable lighting showroom came easier thanks to support and advice from industry colleagues. “It gave me the confidence to grow,” she says. “You can’t do this on your own. Not being part of the industry is to your disadvantage.”

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