Welcome to LED86
How it Started
Back in 2012 I was excited as everyone else about the upcoming Toyota 86. I was due for a new car and the 86 had the look I wanted. Those of us that go back to the start remember the days of the 8+ months long wait list. I put a deposit down mid-year and it wasn't until December 2012 I finally got to pick up my brand new 86!
But before I picked it up I had already started planning my mods. The first thing I wanted to do was update the interior lighting with LED bulbs. Searching around at the time all I could find was sellers in the United States. I bought a basic LED kit that contained something like reverse bulbs, license bulbs, interior map light and maybe some other pieces and this probably cost me almost $100 including shipping. Gzz this is going to be an expensive hobby I thought.
But then the idea came into my head.. Why couldn't I save myself cash & time and everyone else by packaging a complete LED kit! I began importing bulbs, testing what was best and eventually I had a complete LED kit which remains one of our best sellers to this day.
I got my tax return and with $1000 in the bank I created a few LED kits for the different 86 models, had the website ready and LED86 officially launched around August 2013.
Building the Business
My first big problem was coming up with a name. Deciding on a name for a business is really tough! While I thought about it I started building the website and contacting suppliers. My first supplier was Avest in Japan, followed by Auto Revitalization.
I'm the type of person that is jack of all trades, master of none. Not many realize but LED86 is entirely run by myself and it's only over the past year I have started getting some help. I did the website, accounting, contacting suppliers, installations, product QA, stock take, customer service, marketing and all this while having a full-time job during the day. Not sure why I did it this way and maybe I could have made things easier on myself by getting help but this will probably be a lesson to any future businesses I do.
The important thing though is that my dedication and personal touch definitely helped win many fans and customers over these years and they can all vouch for the great customer service and after sales support I give to each and every one of them. And I too am thankful for the trust you all gave me. Running a small business in Australia is tough and there is some serious competition to me but I have carved out my small corner of the market and coexisted with the big players on the field while making a name for myself.
Where did the name LED86 Come From?
So people have guessed that its LED & my birthdate. Good guess but it’s more obvious than that and has a bit of story to it. One of the second mods I wanted to do after getting the car was personalized plates. In QLD the cheapest option is a combination of 3 letters and 2 numbers. The usual combinations were going through my head like TOY86 or 86BRZ etc. At this point I was deep into setting up the website but still hadn't come up with a name for the business.
Before sleep which is where I do most of my thinking it was in my head what the name should be. I had a dream that I had personalized plates with the combination LED86. I woke up and immediately checked the combination online to see if it was available. It was! So, I ordered the plates and business name and that's how the name came about.
How's Things Now?
Really good! It surprises me every day that LED86 continues to grow and see new customers after 4 years. I feel like I have made a bunch of new friends that show me the progress of their car builds and I feel I have played a part in that build by providing them the parts.
I have grown the business to other car models like Subaru WRX, Impreza and Ford Mustangs. I keep looking for new unique items and forge new relations with suppliers.
I think the day Valenti contacted me was a real turning point. I got an email from them asking if I would like to sell their products, I took a look at their brochure noticing it was all Valenti parts and almost fell off my chair! I didn't believe it was them at first but after dealing with them realized it really was them and we have such a strong bond working together now. I will be taking my first visit to Valenti in June 2017 and seriously can't wait!
What's in the Future?
With the way things are going I hope to continue just building on things. With this new website I feel it's the start for a fresh change. The old site was getting stale and I wanted to create something easier to navigate and I hope that it shows.
I'll continue to source new products. There is a range of new tail lights and such coming out in 2017 for things like the new Subaru Impreza & Levorg, Ford Mustang and some classic JDM vehicles that I'll be stocking. I'm excited to start showing these off when I can.
I hope you have enjoyed reading our story and maybe it even motivated you to try your own thing. It's tough but highly rewarding doing what you enjoy. To everyone I say thank you for your orders and making LED86 what it is today.