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Exploring Life & Business with Martin Sunday of Martin Sunday Lighting Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Martin Sunday.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
During my childhood, my fascination for the way that light landed on objects – sunlight off a lake, the light coming through tree branches, or the way sunlight would beam through a cloud – drew me to develop a unique perspective of looking at light. Growing up, I really loved photography because I enjoyed capturing how light interacts with objects.

Upon graduating from high school, I attended the University of Michigan to study computer science and chemistry. Later, while working for Ken Paulson of Lighting Expressions, a lighting design firm in Los Angeles, CA, I went on to study architectural drafting. Theatrical lighting was my focus while working with Ken, highlighting the objects in a room versus flooding the room with light. This was the beginning of an expansive career. My experiences in this field took me across the country to work with other celebrated lighting designers, including John Case. While working at the Case Companies in San Diego, CA, my hard work landed me the role of Vice President of the company.

In 2000, I moved to Houston, TX to work as a lighting designer for Lighting, Inc. Then, in 2010, I started my own lighting design company, Martin Sunday Designs. In 2013, I began to bring on associates to the firm. Today, our team consists of myself as the Principal Designer, 2 Design Assistants, a Chief Operating Officer and an Office Manager/Marketing Director. With over 35 years of experience, I work alongside my team delivering lighting design to religious centers/retreats, residential and commercial clients across the United States.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. Starting your own company requires that you wear a lot of different hats and make many mistakes along the way. Some of the biggest struggles I’ve faced over the years were finding the right employees and figuring out the best pricing to charge our clients. I’m so happy to say that I’ve finally found a great group of individuals to help me run this company! Most of them were hired within the last year and have helped grow the company tremendously so far. As for the pricing, choosing to hire someone as the Chief Operating Officer was one of the best business decisions I’ve made thus far. Our COO has really helped me to understand the importance of pricing our work in a way that both allows us to profit but also stays within reason, meaning that we don’t overcharge or undercharge our clients.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Martin Sunday Lighting Design is a lighting design company that creates custom lighting for both commercial and residential clients across the United States. What sets us apart is that we sculpt with light. Layering different varieties of light creates a rich, 3-dimensional space and enhances any environment. It’s not just about the lighting of homes and commercial environments, we also strive to light up the lives of our clients. My philosophy is that lighting should inspire and enhance the life that it illuminates. We carry this philosophy forward in all that we do.

Our Mission Statement is: “We illuminate lives through the artistic use of light technology”. We also have a unique set of principles that our company lives by. You can read more about these principles here: https://martinsundaydesigns.com/about/

Starting your own company requires that you wear a lot of different hats and make many mistakes along the way – meaning that it is not always easy. Some of the biggest struggles I’ve faced over the years were finding the right employees and figuring out the best pricing to charge our clients. I’m so happy to say that I’ve finally found a great group of individuals to help me run this company! Most of them were hired within the last year and have helped grow the company tremendously so far. As for the pricing, choosing to hire someone as the Chief Operating Officer was one of the best business decisions I’ve made thus far. Our COO has really helped me to understand the importance of pricing our work in a way that both allows us to profit but also stays within reason, meaning that we don’t overcharge or undercharge our clients.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Interestingly enough, though I believe in luck, I also think that luck is something that is acquired through proper action. Samuel Goldwyn said, “The harder I work the luckier I get.” I have found this to be very true in my career. The other thing that I believe seems to affect luck is faith. The more faith I have, the more the universe seems to send work my way.

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