John Fearon & James Bassant, Founders, Astro Lighting

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(Above: Astro believes good design demands simplicity. Image: company.)

Almost twenty years ago, John Fearon and James Bassant came together with a shared belief that British design could be rekindled in lighting. Using their passion for design and precision, alongside business acumen, they quickly proved to be a successful combination.

Within a number of months they were working with major retailers such as Habitat and John Lewis among others. That was 1997. In 2015, the company had sales of approximately £20 million and recently moved into a new, purpose-built, 86,000 sq ft. premises in Harlow, Essex.

When stricter regulation for bathroom lighting was introduced in 1999 Astro only had a couple of bathroom lights in its range. Bathroom lighting as a genre hardly existed but John and James saw an opportunity to change that. While the new rules caused other suppliers to shy away from bathroom lighting, they grasped the nettle and built a range which today is one of the most comprehensive in the world. They were instrumental in creating splashproof bathroom lighting as a category.

John and James early on recognised a cross-selling opportunity from the bathroom to the bedroom. They have developed a range for interiors and exteriors including bedrooms, living spaces and gardens, among others, so that they are able to offer a vast choice to Astro customers.

Export accounts for around 50 percent of the business and three years ago Astro won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade. The new company which Astro set up in the USA this year will bring a fresh surge in export for the business.

Identifying gaps in the market has always been priority for John and James and as such Astro was early to adopt LED technology as well as leading the market in plaster lights, which are particularly popular with Architects.

John and James remain at the heart of Astro. They work with a strong team to grow and drive the business forward while staying faithful to Astro’s creative ethos: Good design demands simplicity.

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