Gainlight Studios, Inc. is a branding company located within the Peoria community which was founded by two Bradley alumni, Derek Oddo and Matthew Lakics. Both Oddo and Lakics were marketing majors within The Foster College of Business. The two met during their time as interns with the athletics department. This internship along with previous internships proved invaluable to the team.
“My best advice for anyone looking to start a business is to get engaged on campus, learn to ask for help when you need, and get to know your professors because they could be your future mentors,” said Oddo, Gainlight Studios, Inc.’s CEO.
The company, now in its fifth year, focuses on branding apparel and other accessories on over 15 collegiate campuses including here at Bradley. They employ one intern per campus who sells specialized t-shirts and other apparel to that campus’s organizations.
Gainlight has worked with larger companies like Ameren, Methodist (now Unity Point), and Humana on one-time projects such as motion graphics, packaging, and logos, but they have also worked closely with smaller companies on focused integrated campaign strategies.
Oddo and Lakics’s classroom experience provided the baseline for them to go out into the working world and learn from their internships. They both stressed the importance of involvement in campus organizations and internships. The hands-on experience gained from these activities taught them about the work force and about themselves.
“Now is the time to push outside of your comfort zone and try new things,” said Lakics, Gainlight Studio’s Chief Operations Officer. “College is the only place where you will be surrounded by a group of same-age, like-minded individuals. Take advantage of that.”
One way entrepreneur students can get involved is through Project Springboard. Though Oddo and Lakics did not get the chance to participate in the competition, they have returned to campus to talk to this year’s participants about some of their previous experience, including the work they did to raise money for Washington after the natural disaster.
“Springboard is a wonderful way for students to learn skills that they can use in the future such as the creation and development of business models,” said Amy Fairfield Doering, Director of the Project Springboard New Venture Competition.