Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Dreading the return to work after maternity leave? Maybe you don’t have to!

Follow Jess Munday through entrepreneurship and starting a business whilst on maternity leave!

Jess Munday is no stranger to the business world, having worked her way through the managerial ranks of clothing retailer Cotton On. Through relentless dedication and the determination to succeed, Jess now wears many entrepreneurial hats all while raising two young children and being a devoted wife. Just how did she do it?

As she studied a Bachelor of Human Resources Management, Jess would work part-time as an assistant store manager to one of the many popular Cotton On clothing stores in South Australia. Something about her charismatic charm, and the effortless connection she made with just about anyone, saw her advance into management fairly quickly, becoming store manager only a few months later.

A few years on and Jess has graduated with flying colours, and had become Field Visual Merchandiser across all the Cotton On Body stores in South Australia. She bounced around for a few years, exploring her love for human resources, until she lands right where she wants to be, here at Custom Neon.

Rewind back to 2018, Jess and her partner Jake were trying to source a neon sign for their son’s bedroom.

Having looked at several retailers, there were none that ticked all of the boxes. Quality assurances, custom design, safe for children and a price that was affordable. Undeterred by this, Jess’ drive saw her contact manufacturer’s directly.

She and her partner then went on to create custom neon signs for their wedding. Realising the popularity of their signs and the noticeable gap in the market for accessible, creative neon signs, Neon Collective was born. Grown out of Geelong in Victoria, the infantile operation soon grew fast.

Maternity leave and the fast-approaching arrival of their son, Jagger, saw Jess serendipitously thrust into the helm of the global business that she now runs alongside her husband, and seasoned entrepreneur, Jake.

Jess’ business acumen allowed her to seamlessly nurture the business, initially reaching out to local businesses in Geelong, offering discounted rates as a means of developing their brand. This along with their unwavering customer service saw the business grow at a pace!

Global brands such as Kookai, Adidas, Facebook and Rekordling Cider were soon in their repertoire, and Jess’ baby was growing much quicker than she could have ever have anticipated, all this whilst welcoming their son Jagger into the world.

Two years later and the business has now rebranded to Custom Neon. The decision to take on the global market was easy, as they were already servicing customers in the United States. They felt the rebrand allowed for a consistent and uniformed brand for their international customers, making them instantly recognisable.

Since launching in the US, the business has doubled the size of what they have in Australia.

What started as a small project whilst on maternity leave, which then became a commanding side hustle for Jess, has now turned into a global success story.

Custom Neon has continued to evolve across industries, demographics and geographical borders, modernising the way people feel about neon look lights, and the impacts and versatility that LED neon lighting brings to a space. The power house business now boasts 8 staff in Australia, 6 in the US, 1 in the UK, 1 in Columbia and 1 in the Philippines.

The business has grown exponentially and Jess, who recently welcomed their second child, daughter Indie Grace, attributes much of the success to the team they have built around them. From the designed to the manufacturers, the customer service team and the web developers, they are all part of the journey and we are excited to see where the future goes.

So, what exactly is the key to success? And how do you get there? Simply put, hard work, determination and a supportive network can carry you through anything and get you to where you want to go.

Courtney Stables is an online marketing specialist for Custom Neon Australia, a signage provider that is fast becoming a trailblazer in the industry. Whatever you need, be it a sign for your business or a funky piece of art, we can create something amazing for you!