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Bright Sparks – Beanie Counters 

As a twenty year old promotional marketing company, Bright Sparks has seen many changes but one thing that's has held true is people love logos on merchandise.

Starting in 1995 by two industry leaders, the company grew in a decade to be the third largest company in its sector in New Zealand, serving the corporate market.  

It has always understood the power of bringing brands to life and making them real through clever promotional merchandise.

Bright Sparks introduced Thundersticks to New Zealand over a decade ago

 - a bright idea for pumping up a crowd, if ever there was one.

The business grew across the country with a head office in Christchurch, and others in Auckland and Dunedin.

One of the owners then sold out, the business changed and competition saw a chance and pounced.  

"The story of the last ten years has been one of restructure, refocus and resurgence," says Managing Director Matt Withers, who joined the business in 2004.

"What we've experienced is probably similar to many others, where a business has become successful quickly and reaches a point when it needs to consider what it means as a long term brand," he says.

"We realised this and have centred our attention on creating a company that our people enjoy and our clients want to do business with," he says.

Matt was shoulder tapped to join Bright Sparks in 2004 and experienced the pressure of growing competition and changing leadership - but he says it was four years spent formulating ideas for how the business could be, given the chance.

"I bought into the business in 2008, with the vision to create a company with the best environment so that people want to be at work," he says.

"We are a young team so there's no point in having a space and attitude that are one dimensional or boring – work has to be fun, and from that you will get performance and results," he says.

But to achieve his vision Matt needed an advisor who could take care of the money side of things so he could focus on his people and operations. 

"My vision meant nothing if it didn't work commercially, and that's why I approached Taurus to help," Matt says.

Taurus supported Bright Sparks through a restructuring that reduced the number of offices but maintained business in both the South and the North Islands.

"This reduced fixed costs and we now serve clients across the country from Christchurch," he says.

"We worked out we didn't need to have a base in Auckland or Dunedin as our brand spoke volumes and we could benefit from having all our team in one place in a really cool office," he says.

For Matt the most important thing about Bright Sparks now is that it combines work with lifestyle.  The business has financial goals but it also has lifestyle ones too.

"Put simply, we want to do business our way, and we know from comments we get from clients that they like doing business with us because we have a relaxed approach.

"Taurus listened to us and understood our dreams and ambitions right from the start.  They then helped us model the business so we could achieve what we wanted.  The business space is so cool we even decided to film a Bright Sparks virtual tour and post it on You Tube," he says.

Bright Sparks is now challenging the top companies in its sector across the country and produces well over a million items of branded merchandise each year, from beanies to sun-shades and pergolas. It's working with the team at Taurus to achieve all its aspirations 

"Anything you can put a logo on we can do," says Matt, "we even managed to put a logo on a rock for a local well-known construction company.

"There's always life in branded merchandise," he says, "it's the only form of advertising that people actually thank you for!"