Have you ever seen a child’s eyes light up with amazement and marvel when they see something truly special, something that fills them with joy and excitement? We’d like to think of that moment in time being an ‘Optic Blaze’, that moment where your eyes are filled with wonder.
It is with that idea in mind that we founded Optic Blaze, not just because we needed an income or could design, or could programme or could write copy for clients, but because we enjoy what we do. It’s that type of enjoyment, that searches for something special that will keep you up for hours. It’s the desire to do something awesome even if you don’t bill extra for it, and try something new because you can, because it’s fun…of course, it is a bonus that it pays the bills as well.
Optic Blaze was founded in 2009, when Shaun, a marketing manager for fairly large property developer at that time, found himself without a job. The 2009 global financial collapse had had a devastating impact on the South African economy and property industry.
Unemployment was rife and even more rampant than it is today, with queues snaking around the block of the local Department of Labour’s offices like an enormous anaconda waiting to swallow more unwitting, unlucky victims. Shaun was faced with a choice; go looking for a job, like countless of thousands of his countrymen and women, or follow his dream of starting his own company.
After many hours of debating the issue, Shaun and Sandra agreed that the time was ripe to start the company and so, with a borrowed laptop and a couple of contacts in his phone book, he and a friend started Optic Blaze.
Let’s be honest, those first few years were tough; many a month came and went with very little cash-flow and more and more bills; but they persisted, building their business on value for money solutions. Eventually, the friend would realise an opportunity to study further and left the company, and as Optic Blaze grew, so the need for a strong administrator became necessary. Sandra was the obvious choice, with her vast experience in both the printing- as well as web design industries and in August of 2011 she joined Optic Blaze. Who knew that it would take another three and a half years for the next major phase of the business to begin.
As time went by, more and more strategic partnerships were formed which culminated with College SA purchasing a stake in Optic Blaze. Today the business employs 10 full-time staff members which include Shaun and Sandra, as well as three designers, two web developers, one copywriter, an email automation coordinator and an online marketing coordinator. The company now operates out of its office in Tygervally in Cape Town.
Shaun received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Potchefstroom in 2001, where he majored in economics and business management. He has also completed several courses in relationship marketing, web design and programming, as well as Google AdWords. Shaun started his career in graphic design in 2002 at an agency which specialised in producing below-the-line advertising material. This enabled him to gain valuable experience and expertise, especially while working with the Caltex/Chevron brand. In 2006 he was appointed as the brand and marketing manager for Blue Skye Holdings Pty (Ltd) and was responsible for the management of the group's brand, as well as the development and implementation of marketing and advertising strategies.
Sandra studied public relations and small business management and initially started her career in media working for a Johannesburg-based web design agency that produced material for the British Mail and Guardian. Sandra has been working in the printing industry since 2003. Initially involved in customer relations and administration, she quickly added estimating and supplier management to her skills sets. Sandra’s passion for people prompted her to make the move to retail where she successfully managed a Postnet outlet. In 2011 she left her position at Postnet to join Shaun at Optic Blaze. Her experience in the retail trade makes her an invaluable member of the Optic Blaze team with extensive knowledge of the printing industry.