The June Lightovation/Dallas International Lighting Show held last week at the Dallas Market Center put family-owned, New Jersey-based Bulbrite in the spotlight in a variety of ways. First of all, developments to its product line received favorable attention from retailers, but there was also a lot of focus on the company and the family behind its success.
“Bulbrite started with a dream – the dream of my father, Andrew Choi, an immigrant from Korea who came to New York City in the late ’60s to start a new life and pursue the American Dream. Bulbrite came to life on the streets of NYC where Andrew often went to visit the lighting stores on The Bowery with bagels and bulbs in hand,” recalls Cathy Choi, President of Bulbrite.
Cathy Choi explains the company philosophy in a statement on its website, “Over the last five decades, Bulbrite has grown from one man’s dream to the dream of many. But the one thing that has remained the same – our company’s purpose, our guiding light (pun intended). We are driven by a cause greater than ourselves. We believe that light is so essential – so fundamental – because it impacts every moment of our lives. Our dream is to touch the lives of many by providing the most beautiful light possible.”
The year 2021 marks the private company’s 50th anniversary, an achievement the younger generation of Choi children (who are active in the business) are especially proud of. When accepting this year’s Women in Lighting Leadership Award from the American Lighting Association (ALA) during a special ceremony at Lightovation, Cathy Choi expressed her admiration of her mother’s fortitude during those early years and beyond.
“My mother wasn’t ‘the woman behind the man’ [as the saying goes] but the woman beside the man,” she noted in her acceptance speech. “As I approach my 50th birthday, I’ve realized that my [own] power comes from being a woman, not in spite of it.”
Under the Choi family’s guidance, Bulbrite is widely recognized for its philanthropic efforts such as Kids Can Make A Change (supporting Project Blue Light honoring police officers), the Make A Wish Foundation, the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The Women in Lighting Leadership Award recognizes one woman annually for her role in at least two of the following activities within the past two years: Achievement/leadership in the lighting industry, support of ALA; and mentoring of other women in the industry.
Among her many accomplishments, Cathy Choi also currently serves on Dallas Market Center’s Lighting Board of Governors; is the Undergraduate Committee Lead on the NYU Stern Women in Business (SWIB) Alumnae Executive Committee; is a member of the Board of Directors for the Ridgewood Public Library Foundation; sits on the Leadership Development Advisory Council for Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business; is a Council Member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women; and is a member of Chief, a women’s leadership organization. She is also a past Chair of ALA’s Education Foundation; a past member of Vistage, a business coaching organization; and is a past judge for Enactus, an experiential learning platform for college students.
At Bulbrite, the company culture emphasizes that the idea that “beautiful light is beautiful living,” adding, “Life’s moments are best captured under beautiful light – whether it’s the light that creates an ambiance at dinner, brightens up our work space, or creates a warming patio glow.”
Furthermore, the Bulbrite philosophy is that we are all on a never-ending journey of learning, stating, “We believe that everyone has a light that radiates from the spark within – the kind of light that will turn life on.”