Q: Please state your name, location and occupation(s)?
A: My name is Ronnie McGhee from Long Island, NY and I am the president of Glowtronics.
Q: What exactly is Glowtronics?
A: Glowtronics is a design, printing, cut and sewing shop highly influenced by the DJ market. We are known in the DJ scene mainly for our turntable slipmats, which we’ve been producing for over 17 years. We started transforming our shop into apparel design and manufacturing geared towards DJ’s. Once Covid hit, we started producing custom masks at distributor prices to the public. We are in the process of launching an artist section on our website with UV/Blacklight Active Tapestries with retail displays for record stores and head shops.
Q: How did you get involved in such a diverse company?
A: I was a DJ in my early years, but I wasn’t focused. At some point it made sense to go to college for multimedia and web design. I loved both worlds of DJing and designing and I tried my best to mesh these two worlds together and started Glowtronics.
Q: We love the 6 principles your company swears by! How did you come up with that concept?
A: Honestly, this has come from life experiences and learning how to mentally grow over time. For me personally, when I’m upset or in a negative mindset, it’s difficult for me to concentrate and I see the effects all around. When I let go of everything and have a positive mindset with love, the ideas go the furthest. “1. LOVE” is the foundation and the first brick laid.
The other five principles “2. IMAGINE, 3. THINK, 4. FOCUS, 5. CREATE” are the creative processes that follow to make an idea come to life. I believe following these steps you will eventually get to principle “6. EVOLVE”.
Q: Please tell us about your background in the DJ world.
A: I started DJing in my early 20’s and was intrigued with the entire scene. I’m 47 years old now and although I’m still as intrigued as I was in my 20’s, I just do not have much spare time to play. The DJing world was introduced to me when I was in Houston, Texas. I had a few friends and we opened an apparel and record store boutique. We owned a clothing store in the back and the front was a record shop. There wasn’t a lot of traffic in the back of the store so I would go up front and hang out with David the owner. He started showing me records and basic concepts of how to DJ and I was hooked!
Q: When you noticed there was a missing market, how did you create the company?
A: The market was already there, but I wanted to put a creative spin on slipmats. Being a rave/club kid at heart, I based the entire company around glow-in-the-dark products. Glow-in-the-dark, full color printed slipmats (with a stained glass effect) was one of our first products released. It started in a garden apartment in Chicago with a desktop printer and a heat press that could produce one slipmat at a time.
Q: How do you maintain your quality in such a saturated market?
A: There were a lot of trial and errors in the beginning, but we work super close with our raw material suppliers and through all the years and knowledge gained, it’s just simple steps now.
Q: We love the idea of glow in the dark, how do you keep things glowing over time? Does the glow ever wear off?
A: Our glow-in-the-dark slipmats are produced with a photoluminscent pigment, which lasts a very long time. The pigment is embedded in a layer under the top surface of the slipmat so it can not wear off. We also print using UV/blacklight active inks with a dye sublimation printing process. This print should last the life of the product it’s being printed on.
Q: What would you tell someone trying to get into the DJ merchandise market?
A: Be patient and be sure you love what you are doing. In my case, it wasn’t an easy road to travel.
Q: How has Covid-19 affected your business and what do you see happening to the DJ world in the future?
A: Good question! Covid has been a double-edged sword, it’s both bad and good for us. Since we are based in Long Island, NY, we were one of the first to get hit hard. During the shut down, the shop could only operate with one person legally. Luckily, we had just purchased a lot of large equipment to produce products quicker and more efficiently and the machines could all be operated with one person. This allowed us to stay open and operate to fulfill orders. Business did slow down during the initial shut down. It gave me time to rethink, refocus and reorganize the shop for growth. At the moment we have had such an influx of business, we are pacing to outgrow. I think this whole virus situation will help push the DJ world forward. People are getting more comfortable with the online streaming, while DJs are having more time to concentrate and sharpen their skills. I am hoping someone implements a virtual reality scene soon!
Q: If you could give yourself one piece of advice when just starting out, what would it be?
A: Be confident, connect with more people running businesses earlier and ask more questions to learn faster.
Q: How did you find N.A.M.E. Entertainers?
A: I’ve been connecting with the guys over at The Senate DJ’s and met (board member) Greg Curran who introduced me to N.A.M.E. Entertainers.
Q: Why should professional DJs sign up with N.A.M.E. Entertainers?
A: Insurance, insurance and insurance! We all need insurance coverage just in case something happens and professional DJs are not an exception. With expensive equipment or accidents, a bad situation could become devastating without insurance.
Q: How can people get in touch with you and explore your brand?