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Allison West and Thumprints Lamps

An international lighting sensation is hardly something one would think they'd be when they grew up.

But, that is exactly what Allison West turned out to be. What began as West's hobby soon turned into a growing business. Like many successful enterprises, Allison West began what is now her career by happenstance. After graduating from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2000, West returned to her home in Little Rock, Arkansas. She had earned a degree in advertising and set out to make a career in the industry. However, she developed a somewhat unique hobby, making lamps. Although art is a common hobby for many people, the art of making lighting fixtures is less-than-usual. West says she started designing lighting fixtures in her spare time in 2001. What started as a side activity in her basement soon grew out of control. She made so many of lamps that she ran out of room for all of them. Being an enterprising and educated young artist, she decided to try to sell he excess lamps. That turned out to be the best decision of her adult life and the start of Thumprints Lamps. The unique appearance of Allisons lamps make the really stand-out. Although her lamps are now produced in series, her design style lends a peculiar sense of individuality to the fixtures which make them stand out. This is quite obvious when looking through a catalog of West's work, as its full of fixtures which bare no resemblance, with regard to form or style, to lamps from any other manufacturer. Initially, West sold early versions of Thumprints Lamps through local stores and interior designers. However, her design style is so appealing that her local market was quickly became too small. She had been selling them through a local company which display her work at local shows and in their stores across Arkansas, but it soon became apparent that the popularity of her lamps extended beyond the scope of local artistry. In 2003, West started her own wholesale company, through which she could distribute the lamps on her own terms. This has proved to be wildly successful. Although her lamps aren't sold at common big box stores, they've been featured in high profile stores from Las Vegas to New York. In each store her work has been carried in, they've stood out from the rest and caught the attention of many interior designers. Such was the case in New York, where West's lamps were noticed by the set designer of NBC's "The Apprentice." Her lamps have been used to illuminate many of the sets of the series in its latter seasons. Granted, her fixtures aren't the focus of the series, but their appearance on a popular national television show has brought her and her lamps increased attention. Currently, she is working to expand Thumprints. Several years ago, she was featured in various design magazines and newspapers. As result her business began growing faster than her small design and manufacture shop could keep pace with. She has since expanded her manufacturing operations overseas, which has brought the company international attention and recognition as a growing name in the lighting industry. West has stated that she future focus is to expand the scope of her business. Lamps and lighting may have built her company, but her aspirations are leading her to other markets. West is currently expanding her business beyond lamps and is moving into furniture and home accessories. Given that she has proven herself a capable and creative designer through her unique lamps, she will undoubtedly excel in these new fields.