Today we’ve focused on a well known local business which I’m sure almost everyone in Cronulla and the Shire has come across at some point over the last 20 years. Cameron from CJ’s Signs tells us more…
Cameron you seem to have the signage business in Cronulla wrapped up. How long have you been in business for and how did you get into it?
Yeah I am very lucky I have lived here my entire life & through many avenues like sports, the surfing community & life long friends I have built quite a large customer base around Cronulla.
I got into sign writing by accident, I have always liked drawing & painting but how it all came about was I grew up surfing at the Alley (North Cronulla) one day when I was around 12 or 13 years old I was running past Joe’s Milk Bar after a surf & noticed a man sign writing a solo soft drink sign on the wall.
Being an inquisitive grommet I asked him what he was doing. He said I’m working mate I said you’ve got to be kidding me, you mean to tell me you get paid to stand out here in the sun & paint stuff like that? He said I sure do.
From that day I was always going to be a sign writer. I left Cronulla High School in 1987, did a 4 year apprenticeship with Cronulla Signs then finished off a year as a tradesman with a company called Signage. At the age of 20 I decided to chase my dream & start my own sign business CJ’s Signs.
Since September 1992 I have not looked back, I have been self employed now for over 20 years. My Mum bought me a framed photo of the Solo sign of the wall at Joe’s Milk Bar that the guy was sign writing that day for my 21st birthday and I have that picture hanging by my front door & each day I leave I look at that picture & remember why I do what I do. That old saying choose a job you love & you’ll never work a day in your life!
How long does it take to do a standard, most common sign order?
A standard most common sign would be a fluoro/water colour sale window & one of them takes around 2 hours
What’s the biggest sign you’ve ever made?
I once sign wrote a Beaurepaires Tyre repairs building in Wollongong it had 3 walls 100 mtrs long by 25 mtrs high & I had to sign write the 3 sides. It took 50 hours to finish, each letter was over 2 metres tall. After 20 years that’s the biggest job I can remember.
What’s the craziest sign you’ve ever made?
I sign wrote a Fiji theme on JJ lingerie shop in Cronulla street (now closed) in around 1993 there was a competition in the street for the best shop display of a Fiji theme to win a Fiji holiday, I had done just about every window in the street well the sign written part anyway so when JJ won the other stores were giving me heaps because their window didn’t win. So the crazy part was that I was competing against myself pretty much not the shops against each other. Maybe I should of got the trip to Fiji hahaha! There was a story in the local newspaper and I still have the article.
Do you have people working for you or do you work for yourself?
I have people that sub contract for me & have larger sign companies I can call on if needed. I have had a few opportunities to expand but why fix something that’s not broken, I am happy running things the way I do. I have 3 children so one day one of them might join me & take over.
What are your tools of the trade – iPhone, iPad, computer etc?
All of the above, Apple Mac plays a big part. iPhone, iPad & Macbook all play a part in designing, running a plotter to cut vinyl lettering, running a large format printer for digital printing & of course brushes. I am pretty much 1 of the last sign companies around here that still uses a brush.
What is your favourite spot in Cronulla?
My favourite spot in Cronulla is The Alley (North Cronulla Beach). I grew up there surfing, my beloved Cronulla Sharks Board riders are based there, I proposed to my beautiful wife of 14 years there & my 3 kids learnt how to surf there.
What is your favourite spot to surf in the world?
Uluwatu Bali Indonesia, so beautiful
Finish this sentence… I Love Cronulla because….
It’s the best place to live, we have everything – great people, great beaches, great restaurants and great facilities for families. The only thing missing is a skate park for our kids!
You can check out more of Cameron’s work on his Facebook page here!