Who are you/what do you do?
I'm Lesley, a travel photographer and nostalgia junkie. I design quirky artwork with a vintage feel to it, to evoke memories of places and spark a little nostalgia or wanderlust in others.
How has Covid changed your business?
I run my business from a small studio in The Hidden Lane in Glasgow. I'm lucky enough to have an area at the front of the studio big enough for a shop. Before Covid, a huge amount of my business was from that shop front with local customers and tonnes of tourists. Now 95% of my sales are online through my website.
Is there a story behind the name (if it's not your own?)
My surname is Gray, so Neon Gray is a fun play on words with colour.
How old is the business and how did you get started?
I started out selling prints of my travel and landscape photographs but really wanted to create a product label that was different. I set up Neon Gray late 2016 to have a separate brand from my more traditional photography.
My style is definitely a throwback to the 80s and 90s. Old cameras, grainy, vintage photographs and polaroids mixed with a modern take on travel and exploring.
Who/what/where inspires you?
I'm constantly inspired by the Scottish landscape and the places I visit, both at home and around the world.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What advice would you give your younger self?
Trust your instincts and follow your dreams. Don't settle for what other people want you to do with your life/career if it's not what you want.
How did you learn your craft?
I'm a self taught photographer. I bought a semi-pro DSLR and went travelling for 2 years. I learnt everything out in the field as I went.
What do you do on your days off?
Jump in the car and head for somewhere new to explore. Lots of walking and hiking and camping. Or just enjoying time in Glasgow grabbing a bite to eat and having a wander.
Running a business is always challenging. From problems with manufacturing products to life events like a pandemic where your whole business model has to shift overnight. I've done numerous courses on personal development, mindset and how to control stress and anxiety. Now I trust in myself and know that I can handle whatever comes.
What sparks joy in what you do?
Seeing the reaction from my customers when they see my artwork. It usually sparks some sort of memory or feeling and that's the reason I create it.
Dream stockists/brand to collaborate with?
Blockface Design Studio.
Any lessons you'd pass on?
Focus on the things within your life or that make you happy and do more of them. Let go of anything that makes you miserable if you can. I stopped selling my products to shops in 2018, having done it for years. It was the best decision for my business and has actually helped me grow enormously, but it was also great for me personally too.
What's next for you and your business?
I'm really looking forward to being able to explore more again and spend more time out with my camera. I have several new collections I'd like to create which I can start to work on now that lockdown is over.