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From paint brush to successful signage business: The Signlab story

WFOL spoke with Corey Simpson, owner of Signlab located at 222 Port Road, Alberton, SA.


Corey told WFOL that he learnt the ropes signwriting at an advertising agency in Adelaide called Adlab. In 1992 after having mastered his brush and paint techniques, Corey took a leap of faith venturing out on his own to open a small signage company in Alberton, called Express Signlab. (Alberton is a metropolitan suburb in Adelaide, South Australia, about 20 minutes’ drive from the city.) 1 signlab 4

Those early days involved just Corey and his trusty paint brush. He invested in some early equipment including a Graphtec 510mm wide vinyl cutter running on Sygnus DOS Software, which cost him the then lofty sum of $20,000.

Corey spent a couple of tough years establishing himself, but slowly his business has grown to the point where he now employs a team of 15 full time staff. He also has a network of vehicle wrap specialist installers nationally that he uses.1 signlab 1

The team at Signlab have a diverse set of skills, from graphic designers, to sign writers, signage installers and fabricators. Whilst Corey has his hands full running and managing the business day to day, he likes to keep his hands in the business and he still does roll out the paint and paint brushes occasionally, he also is very much involved in the day to day production including the car wrapping.

As his business has grown, Corey has remained committed to the Alberton community and the team are currently in their third – and largest to date – Alberton premises.

Signlab are a traditional Sign Shop, employing a team of estimators, who are regularly out on the road visiting customers – both existing and potential – providing consulting, estimating and quoting services. Whilst they do have people on the ground, Corey told WFOL that almost 25% of their sales are now achieved online and he sees this number only growing over time.1 signlab 2

Corey and the team provide their customers with most signage solutions, including three dimensional; illuminated and neon; composite and A Frame; shop front, building and safety signs – as he told WFOL, “we do not use contractors for signage, we keep the work inhouse, then we know we can control the quality of our products”.
Just as his business has grown from an employee perspective, he has also expanded on his equipment and now runs an array of printers and cutters, including:
• Trotec Speedy 500 Laser
• Tekcel CNC Router
• Mimaki JV33 Printer
• HP L26500 Printer
• HP 360 Printer
• Mimaki CG-FX2 Vinyl Cutter

Signlab has been a labour of love for Corey. This is very much reflected in his team and their enjoyment of the Signlab work environment, based on Corey’s work ethic and his sense of fun. 1 signlab 3

The Signlab success story, is an inspirational one. Corey, a hard-working sign writer, had a vision that there was opportunity there if you wanted to take a few risks. Corey put his money on the table and rolled the dice, based purely on himself, his skills and his vision of what he wanted to achieve.







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