Darlene Henshaw, founder and owner of Replacement Lamp Services has electricity running through her veins. Both her father and grandfather were electricians and like Darlene, both successful entrepreneurs.
Before Replacement Lamp Services Darlene ran a company her grandfather started importing car lamps. It was a time before the car market was deregulated and the business was very successful, selling to distributors such as Repco and Lucas. Her father and grandfather also launched a specialist lighting company providing projectors, medical lamps and other specialist lighting direct to businesses and later to electrical wholesalers. “At that time, my grandad and dad had the most knowledge in the whole of New Zealand when it came to specialist lighting,” says Darlene.
That business later branched out to focus on commercial lighting – in those days they were still using the 60-100W toilet light bulb which used a lot of power. “There were no LED or energy efficient lamps, they were the days when we only had one light in the lounge and we didn’t have all these options for lighting,” she says.
There was a need in the market for a service that just changed light bulbs – there were a lot of property managers in large office buildings doing it themselves and no one was offering the service. So, in August 1989 Replacement Lamp Services was born.
In 1991 when the Building Act came into effect, emergency lighting became a requirement on building WOFs. Replacement Lamp Services were one of the first companies in New Zealand to be certified to carry out emergency lighting installation and maintenance. “As part of our service we would check all the other lamps in the building too – we became a lightbulb replacement machine and in those days lights failed all the time because the technology wasn’t great,” says Darlene.
As technology has evolved Replacement Lamp Services has had to shift their focus. In years past they would visit customers up to ten times per year and with lighting so much more efficient, that has dropped down to about five. They now provide reliable and comprehensive options for LED lighting to customers – helping them transition to smarter, more energy efficient lighting and still specialise in fast, hassle free lighting and electrical maintenance – from flickering lights to switch board upgrades.
Several years ago, with a home full of teenagers and juggling many hats (including running successful sister company All Pumps), Darlene brought Blair Ulrich on board as Operations Manager to look after the day to day running of the business. Blair has been holding the reigns for the past few years and works closely with Darlene who is still very much involved in driving the business strategy.
“We have a small team of qualified, friendly and diligent electricians who really get to know the premises and the people with whom they call on regularly. What sets us apart from our competitors is that personal service backed by expertise, the best quality products and a genuine focus on the safety and care of both people and property,” says Darlene.