Whether it’s a BMX competition or catching a flight to Australia, Jeremy Lux, founder of Illumine Collect seems to always be on the move. So, it was no surprise to me that the one chance I had to interview him was in between stops on his 10-hour drive from Missouri to Virginia.
“Yeah, it’s been rough man,” he said over the phone, tired but still laughing.
The guy must’ve been out in the boonies because last time we spoke on the phone our call dropped. He’d been struggling to find a signal since.
Now he was somewhere in a parking lot halfway across the country as I picked his brains over the phone. Even after 10 hours of driving he was still in good spirits; he’s certainly had worse.
“Total time with layovers? It was probably a 32-hour trip, which was terrible,” Lux says, talking about his journey from New York to Dubai to Brisbane, Australia a few summers back.
“But it was incredible,” he describes, “We landed early, like 6 am. I was dead-tired and my friends picked me up and they lived right across the street from a beach. They were big surfers and I had never even touched a board before…beautiful crystal-clear waters. It was a great way to remedy the jet lag.”
Between the traveling, Lux manages his own apparel company, Illumine Collect, a lifestyle brand set on inspiring adventure and giving back to communities. Illumine’s premise is simple, 20% of each sale is donated to a nonprofit organization.
This 20% contribution goes especially far. Sometimes even across hemispheres. Illumine’s last partner, WAVES for Development, based in Lobitos, Peru, helps surfers and volunteers teach English, entrepreneurial, and surf classes to Peruvian youth.
Future Six, another nonprofit partner in Florida, provides free sports and arts programs to special needs children. With the sale of each shirt or hoodie, Illumine Collect helps these nonprofits make a bigger impact.
From a young age, it was clear to Lux that action sports have a positive impact on people, especially kids and teens. That is why his company encourages goodwill through the spirit of athleticism.
Growing up, you could most likely find Lux on a BMX bike, which led to many friendships and his dream to start a clothing brand:
“I grew up riding bikes with my friends, and I wanted to stay involved with it as I got older, and use it as something to give back. That really impacted my life from the people I’ve met to the places I’ve been to; all of this was through BMX. I even met my fiancé through Camp Woodward one summer, and the only reason I was there was to ride my bike.”
But Lux doesn’t stay in one place for long. When it comes to traveling, it’s all about gaining new perspectives.
“It’s very eye-opening,” he says, “It sounds typical, but when you’re traveling abroad you see the differences in culture and people. It’s humbling and makes you reevaluate yourself.”
Last month he got back from a six-day surf trip in the Dominican Republic, while for his upcoming honeymoon, he and his wife will be traveling to Ireland.
“When I travel abroad I can disconnect,” he explains, “sometimes I’m in a country I’ve never been to before and I’m just flying by the seat of my pants. It’s exciting and you just got to trust your gut on the unknown.”
His advice for fellow travelers and globetrotters is simple: keep an open mind. Sometimes those moments when you’re flying by the seat of your pants lead you to even greater memories and lessons. Don’t be afraid to sleep on floors, pick up that surfboard, or drive through the night. For Lux, the hardships and variables that we can’t control shed more light on who we are as people.
“Also,” he says, offering another travel tip, “don’t let people touch your bag when traveling, unless you want to pay a hefty tip.”
But speaking of light, the essence of Illumine is in its very name: “I chose the word ‘illumine’ because it resonated with me as a measure of light; a beacon inspiring adventure and enlightening people through different avenues and programs.”
Lux aims to create a major lifestyle brand like those available in retailers like Zumiez or PacSun, but with the charitable message of TOMS or Warbly Parker.
“I want people to see the shirt or design and bring them back to that memory of surfing, climbing the Rockies, or traveling across the country…and it just so happens that you’re giving back to an excellent organization,” says Lux.
Simply stated, Illumine Collect is an action sports brand that gives back to action sports charities. It’s a purchase that keeps on giving, whether it be funding youth hiking trips on the Ozark mountain trails or young surfers on the shores of Peru.
When it comes to mentors, Lux cites TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie. Mycoskie’s travel experiences inspired him to develop his “One For One” program which donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair sold. Today, the TOMS brand is synonymous with charity and quality.
For Lux, the end goal is quite similar but his personal legacy is a humble one.
“As far as being well-known, I just want to be remembered by the people who are most important to me,” he says, “I want to see Illumine grow into a brand with great products and a great cause. That can be my personal legacy.”
I let Lux go after about an hour of chatting. I learned a lot about his passion for BMX, travel, and charity and how each has set his current course on life. His goal is one set on living a good life and doing good for others; always looking for those who need help, and always on the move.
This post was written by Eric Gasa, which was featured on Sofia in Australia.