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How GlowCulture Began
May 22, 2016
I get asked quite often how GlowCulture began. GlowCulture started as a frustrating search for a quality EL wire retailer online while trying to design a next-level Halloween costume. During the summer a few years back I was trying to put together a Mario costume, but I didn't want to use the cheap store bought version. What should have been a simple task was turned into a monumental task as getting the costume to glow wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.
The original plan was to go as 'Star Mario' and somehow have my costume change color like Mario did in the game. After many late nights trying to find something that would work online, I came across 'EL wire' and was instantly drawn to it. The unique glow as well as the flexibility of the wire instantly made me change my plans, and I was also doubtful of being able to pull off a cool Star Mario costume anyways.
Star Mario became Fire Mario and the costume started coming together. Finding overalls that weren't denim or black was a big problem but actually finding a quality source for some EL wire turned out to be a bigger problem. The majority of the retailers were US based and were charging ludicrous amounts for shipping to Canada on top of the USD exchange turning a $25 kit into a $100 purchase (They are still charging insane amounts for Canadian shipping, last time I checked the two big ones they both were in the $40-60 shipping fee range at the cheapest level).
I couldn't bring myself to wasting that much money on an already expensive costume so I continued my search bringing me to a Canadian EL wire retailer. My excitement was short lived as I realized that even though shipping was now cheaper, they wanted more than twice what it would cost from the US. I ordered it but I wasn't happy about it. When it arrived I was very excited to see EL wire for the first time and was amazed at how cool it looked in person. The costume turned out amazing and I spent the entire night talking to people who wanted to know how my costume was glowing.
The online shopping experience left a bitter taste in my mouth and it was always there in the back of my head. There has to be an easier way to order EL wire I thought, but 'life happened' and I moved on to other projects. A year or so later I decided to jump in to the EL wire business as I knew I could do EL wire better and sell it for less than the competition. My extensive background in customer service and e-commerce would help set the website apart. Most competitors were selling raw EL wire and random drivers and it was a very confusing process to buy EL wire at the time.
To stand out I decided to sell pre-assembled ready to use EL wire kits to take the guesswork out of buying EL wire. The kits proved incredibly popular from day one and it grew from 1 starter kit in 5 colors to over 25 kits in 10 awesome colors. I've been constantly working to improve the EL wire shopping experience as well as looking for new and high quality products to sell. Our EL wire glasses have proven to be quite popular for the non DIY crowd who want something ready-to-use, and the LED strings are a great complement to EL wire.
Over the last few years I've switched manufacturers a few times as I've always been on the lookout for better EL wire. I've never compromised on quality which has meant disposing of some bad products in the past that didn't meet my quality standards. We have been working with a great factory for over a year now who has the best EL wire and best prices which has allowed me to pass on the savings to you.
GlowCulture is not a low quality drop shipping company, it is a hands on company run by someone with a passion for customer service and quality products. I take great pride in everything I do and will always be sure the customer is satisfied with the shopping experience and the product. I am still excited when I see EL wire and it's cool glow, I continue to build things with it as really is fun to work with.
Matt's EL wire skeleton for Halloween with EL wire bat party decorations.
EL Wire Ugly Christmas Sweater.
How to choose your EL wire kit
EL Wire Buyers Guide
EL wire is a great way to add a wicked glow to clothing, costumes, backpacks, hats, bikes, and more. It is a thin, heat-free plastic coated wire that gives off a cool 360 degree glow. EL wire is available in 10 colors and 4+ lengths to suit your needs. Our glowing wire is flexible to allow for intricate designs and is simple to attach to fabric, surfaces, and items. EL wire which is short for electroluminescent wire is made up of a tiny copper wire coated in a phosphor that will glow when powered by a 'driver'. There are two smaller 'corona' wires surrounding the copper wire that carry the electricity back and allow it to glow. The inner wire is covered in a PVC casing that gives the wire its unique color and it also protects the core from the elements.
Here is a breakdown of our 4 main kit types:
Our offer a great way to get started as they are ready-to-use and contain everything you need. We have paired up our extra bright & colorful glow wire with a small & easy to hide driver to light it up. These kits are great for small to medium sized projects such as adding some glow to the brim of a hat, lining the zipper of a hoodie for Shambhala, or decking out your bike for Burning Man.
Our are great for when you need multiple strands connected to one driver. Our kits come with 2 to 6 individual strands of EL wire, a splitter, and a driver designed to power that length of wire. The deluxe kits are great for medium to large projects such as decking out your bike, lighting up your campsite at the next music festival, or building that winning halloween costume. The drivers are typically a little bigger than the starter kits, but on the upside the battery run-time is a lot longer.
Our are similar to the starter and deluxe kits except the wire included is a 'welted' version that is made for sewing. The welted EL wire has a small 1cm plastic tab that runs the length of the wire so you can sew or pin it to clothing & costumes. Regular EL wire can still be sewn using a loop method which can be more efficient depending on the design.
Our are extremely popular and make a great choice if you are going to be using it around music. These kits will dance, pulse and flash to the music when in sound mode. We sell single color EL wire kits as well as 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 color deluxe kits. These kits are great for parties and outdoor festivals, but sitting next to the speakers will have them fully lit as it can overwhelm the sensor.
Which EL wire kit is the right kit for me?
It's better to round up when measuring your required amount as most people don't buy enough length the first time, and extra EL wire can be cut and capped. Picking out 2 funky colors will help your design stand out, the most popular combinations are blue & pink, lime & red, and purple and yellow. With all of our EL wire kits we highly recommend our 2m power extenders allowing you to keep the driver in your pocket or tucked away somewhere safe.