Chris Severn, a former Denton County resident now living in California, loves Christmas. A lot.
“I used to be that kid in the neighborhood that would go around and put up Christmas lights for everyone that didn’t have time or ladders,” he said.
He loves it so much, in fact, that he began using his free time away from his day job thinking of business ideas involving Christmas. The idea came to him one day after brainstorming with some college buddies.
They called it Twinklify.
“I got into computer programming in college and was always interested in Christmas lights, and when I wasn’t working I began devoting a lot of time to this side project of Twinklify,” Severn said. “ Today, it’s going really well, and people seem to like it.”
What Twinklify is, in the most literal sense, is a virtual bridge to turning anything you want into a Christmas-light-wearing spectacle. By accessing Twinklify.com, visitors can upload a picture of anything they want – a house, a car, etc. – and then use the Twinklify program to put Christmas lights on the item in the picture. Severn noted that people have been using the program as a kind of “drawing board” for how they want to decorate their house, while others use it just for fun.
“We’ve had people use it for everything – they’ve put Christmas lights on the family dog, people’s faces, houses, Christmas trees, anything and everything,” he said. “But that’s the idea. Our goal is to make people want to make things Christmas-related.”
Severn said the program is accessible right now on PCs and tablets, and in the future, he and his team hope Twinklify can become a phone app. And, to use Twinklify to eventually make money, Severn and his team have come up with a plan.
“We’d like this be like Amazon,” he said. “In the future, we’d like for visitors to be able to see how many Christmas lights it would take to decorate their house and then click a button that says ‘Checkout.’ They can then order that amount of Christmas lights from a distributor.
“It will be easy, because the program will hopefully have a scale built into it that shows how many lights you used and how many feet of line is needed.”
It appears that Severn has thought of everything needed to get Twinklify off the ground. For now, in 2013, his team is still tinkering with the website. But Severn knows that big things are on the horizon for his new holiday business.
“It started as just a whimsical idea, but now that it’s catching on, we’ve been looking at many different ways to make some money and expand the site,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to wait 12 months at a time to really be busy, but we’re tinkering right now. I think it’s going to turn into something really cool.”
No pun intended.