Who are you?
We are Jen McDonald and Andy Orr and together we run Neon Ninja.
What does your business do?
Neon Ninja is an alternative streetwear label from Glasgow, catering to everyone and anyone that is ready to step out from the shadows and embrace our neon philosophy. We specialise in bold, colourful prints and textiles inspired by just about anything and everything from 90’s computer games to Japanese streetwear fashion.
Where are you based?
We currently operate from our studio in the Southside of Glasgow. We are a web based clothing brand which allows us to keep our costs to a minimum.
How did you get started?
Neon Ninja was born out of endless conversations that lasted well into the wee hours of the morning, the genesis of which can be traced back to the hustle and bustle of South East Asia and Australia.
In 2010 we left Glasgow and travelled to Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong before finally adopting Sydney as our home away from home. It was whilst travelling that we first discussed the idea of one day starting our own fashion label. We were inspired by each place we visited and our ideas changed and evolved as quickly as our surroundings. Everything was so new to us be it the food, the sights or the culture. To an extent that’s where our new approach to street wear and the craziness in our designs come from. We’re trying to capture the very essence of our Asian Adventure.
Sydney was such a melting pot of cultures and styles that it was very hard not to be inspired. We both landed jobs working for a fashion label called Minty Meets Munt which was brilliant as it gave us an insight into how to run a successful business. We were influenced by just about everything in Sydney. There’s always something exciting happening and we try and showcase this in our designs.
The brand remained a pipe dream until Jen applied to study fashion at University. In 2015 she graduated with a first class honours degree from Manchester Metropolitan University and we immediately started working on ideas and designs for our first collection.
Things took off pretty quickly when we were asked to stock in Wear Eponymous in Princes Square in Glasgow and the Scottish Design Exchange in Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, both of which were fantastic opportunities and provided us with invaluable business experience.
What is your background?
Jen studied Fashion Design and I studied English literature at University. We’ve both held positions in the legal sector for many years which is obviously a million miles away from what we’re doing with the brand.
We’re both very creative and share design responsibilities and we’re fortunate in that we both have different skills that complement each other. Jen has an amazing eye for colour and textiles, she’s also pretty deft with a sewing machine. I’m good when it comes to producing graphics for our designs and website and I like to think I’m ‘not bad’ with a camera.
What is your top tip?
Always trust your instincts and identify and understand your target market.
Where do you plan your business to be in five years time?
For the time being we’re working tirelessly to cement our online presence however at some point in the future we’d love the opportunity to open a shop in Glasgow.