Elation Professional B.V., better known as Elation Europe, has come a long way since opening its European headquarter office in Kerkrade, The Netherlands, in 2010. The once fledgling newcomer to the European lighting market has grown to become one of the most influential brands on the market, a decade of development in Europe that can only be described as a genuine success story.
How did the company go from a little known brand in 2010 to one of the top players in the European entertainment lighting market just ten years later? Part of the answer lies in a passion that has driven Elation's European office since day one. "It's really incredible to think how much has changed in these 10 years," comments Frederik Afif, International Sales Manager for Elation Europe and one of a handful of employees who helped to start up Elation Europe in 2010. "We started in a small office with just two sales people and some back-office support, a coffee machine and not much more! I was on the phone constantly, driving to customers all over Europe in a small van, doing demos every day and introducing the Elation brand. We literally called every phone number we could find from production companies, distribution firms, rental companies, anyone who would listen. We worked from early morning until late in the evening driven by a real passion for what we were doing. It was challenging but we were laying the groundwork for relationships that I still have today."
It's a passion that still permeates the company.
"Going the extra mile, in the office, on the road, on the plane, always giving a little bit more. That has been one of our keys to success," Afif says. "It's a passion you feel when you walk through our offices and still today people who visit us often remark about it."
Leading the European office is Sales & Marketing Manager Marc Librecht, a lifelong lighting industry pro who came onboard in 2011. "From day one, we've made an effort to create a leading brand by offering value and taking care of customers," he said. "We've always been about people, about how we can make a better solution together or solve a problem for a client. That's what drives us."
Librecht says that caring attitude starts with the Elation European team. "The fact that we've kept our core team together over the years says a lot about who we are. We're a team that genuinely cares about each other and supports and relies on one another. That's a big reason behind our success."
Another employee who has been with the company since its earliest days in Europe is head of R&D and QA Roger Hamers. "My goal from the beginning was to produce really top quality, high end products that would fit into the professional market here in Europe," he states. "The challenge was to have the right products for the European market. There was a lot of competition in that area of the market at the time but we were confident we could break into that with quality products that had more features while keeping the size down. We put a lot of energy into it so that we could compete here and I think we've reached our goal."
In 2010, Elation had been enjoying success in the US but the Elation brand was new in Europe and finding success there took a different approach. "The European market is a different market than the U.S.," says Afif, "and we knew we would have to create new products to satisfy our clientele. In the U.S. it was often about bigger and brighter but we had a different requirement, more compact fixtures with a lighter weight."
A big change came in 2011 when Elation began to cooperate with Netherlands-based Philips Lighting to develop the now industry-standard Platinum lamp. "We were the first company to use their Platinum lamps and it allowed us to produce more compact units but still with a lot of output," states Hamers, who says that the smaller lamp size and the bright, homogenized beam it created opened up a lot of possibilities. "We were actually the first to come out with a dedicated Beam fixture using the MSD Platinum 5R lamp, the Platinum Beam 5R™. It is the original Beam fixture and soon after other companies followed our lead." A successful range of products using Platinum lamps followed like the Platinum FLX. "We also worked closely with Philips to lengthen the lamp life by creating more sophisticated cooling systems, systems that we've patented. In the end, we got some excellent products out of it and we're still enjoying the fruits of that cooperation today."
Elation has showed its innovative nature often over the years and Elation's European office has been key in the development. In 2011, the company was one of the first in Europe to launch an LED moving head panel and there have been many other milestones like premixed color, quad-color, six-color and Chip on Board (COB) LED technology.
Innovation and hard work helped fuel consistent development in Elation Europe's early years but growth also came in greater leaps like when Elation launched the Proteus line of IP65 luminaires in 2017, helping to raise the company in Europe to new levels. "The Proteus line opened a lot of doors for us into the top end of the market," Librecht states of the IP-rated range of luminaires that has become synonymous with weatherproof lighting. "And the development continues," adds head of R&D Hamers, who notes that Elation started with 30W LED engines just a few years ago and now launches products with LED engines over 900W. The focus on cutting-edge technology has led to a string of industry accolades for innovation with Elation's Proteus™, Artiste™ and Fuze lines all multiple award winners.
Today, Elation offers what is arguably stage lighting's most complete toolbox and Elation Europe enjoys a position as one of the gamechangers in the entertainment lighting market in Europe. To mark the company's decade of achievement in the European entertainment lighting market, Elation Europe will be celebrating the milestone with a variety of special activities in 2021. Like so many other events in 2020, Elation Europe has decided to postpone celebration activities until 2021 when larger groups can again gather safely. "We look forward to the time when we can celebrate our decade of success with our valued partners and friends in the industry," ends Librecht.