By Rachana Rathi
Robinson wasn’t the little girl with the corner lemonade stand.
She was the college girl at the community and university craft stands
selling merchandise ranging from silver jewelry to an assortment
of bee products-that’s right, bee-related products-fashioned
from her original designs. Like any good entrepreneur, Robinson
possesses that winning combination of creativity and a nose for
her Bachelor’s in Entomology and Master’s in Agribusiness
Economics, Robinson has made her living designing and selling holograms.
While a part-time business professor at San Francisco State University
in the early 1990s, Robinson says she “knew people who were
gifted in holography concepts. Over time, [she] developed contacts
and found that holography technology was relatively unavailable
to the retail arena. It was an untapped market at that time.”
And thus, the longtime dream of owning her own business manifested
in Lightrix, a maker of interactive optical products.
holographic and optical technology to make its products. Essentially,
holograms are three-dimensional images formed from patterns that
are photographically developed after a series of manipulations with
lasers, a process known as holography. (For more information about
holography, see box.) Since its inception, holography has become
an increasingly pervasive commodity, demonstrating its utility in
a host of products. As Robinson points out, “Holograms have
reached a saturation point today. Your credit card, driver’s
license, passport, and even toothpaste all use holograms.”
But when Lightrix
got its first contract in 1993 to create licensed hologram products
for the movie Star Trek, holograms were unusual in the American
retail market. Polaroid, Lightrix’ image developer at the
time, was making holograms for use in security and the industrial
markets. And holography technology was developed and well received
in Europe, but it had yet to hit the United States.
Polaroid changed that soon enough. Like a proud parent, Robinson
states, “Lightrix was the first to get licensed hologram products
into specialty stores.” While image developing was left to
Polaroid, the creative process was in Robinson’s hand.
and Founder of Lightrix, has created each product her company sells;
from extensive wall decor, two to three dimensional images, bookmarks,
sunglasses, to kaleidoscopes. Robinson has also designed detailed
hologram ranges for museums with marine, dinosaur and insect themes.
a natural businesswoman, Robinson prefers the creative side to the
technical concerns of her business...(cont.)