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In Pictures: Making handcrafted signs at Eyecandy in Halifax

The company is known for cherishing the craft of sign making

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Allison Moz and Jake Ethridge are co-owners of Eyecandy Signs, a Halifax firm known for its high-quality displays and thoughtful approach. The company has won clients across Atlantic Canada, but now it wants to expand to serve a larger market. But how can the company preserve its carefully cultivated reputation while scaling up? What has set Eyecandy apart is a dedication to craft – what sign making was when hand-carving was usually the only option.

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Eyecandy employee Cody Duncan applies paint to a sign. The company’s eight workers approach designs collaboratively, says Ms. Moz. “We’ll take the time to brainstorm, to really push out what needs to be emphasized, or add what qualities may be missing.” Eyecandy also is dedicated to the idea of “free play” time. Each employee has a few hours, at least once a week, to mess around with the company’s machines, to test their limits and discover new designs without working on a specific project.

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DJ Andresen puts together a small sign. The company’s dedication to experimentation encourages employees to think outside the box. When a client contacted Eyecandy just before Christmas with a rush order for 400 engraved cups, for instance, one employee had just spent time mastering wine-glass engraving; the company was able to fill the order before the holiday.

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Fabricator Adam Broome plans a sign. Though Eyecandy today uses digital-print technology for their bread-and-butter work, their priority, as they take on more clients, is the complex, custom signs they are known for. The staff believes their personal touch is something other markets would gobble up. But getting there means taking Eyecandy’s penchant for personal connections to places where they – and their creative processes – are less known.

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Minyan Liang looks over color choices for a sign. “We’re trying to stand on a national soapbox and say, ‘We’re here, this is what we can do,’” co-owner Mr. Ethridge says. “But it’s hard to make those kinds of inroads.”

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Allison Moz and Jake Ethridge with some of their work.

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