Maker Monday: Cerno Lighting

Founded in 2009 by Bret Englander, Daniel Wacholder, and Nick Sheridan, Cerno Lighting is the brainchild of three best friends with an entrepreneurial edge. With no experience in lighting or interior design prior to their launch a decade ago, the three men combined their area of expertise and created a company that now finds itself at the top of the lED lighting industry. Merging Nick’s eye for design, Daniel’s engineering background, and Bret’s sales gene, the trio has elevated their bond from buddies to business partners. We met the three leaders of Cerno Lighting for this week’s Maker Monday.

The minimal Acuo outdoor light from Cerno adds symmetry and shine to this laid-back patio.

Andrew: What’s your wakeup ritual?
Nick Sheridan: I am a fan of the snooze bar, so I typically set my alarm a good 30 minutes before I get up despite annoying my fiancé. I like the summertime and when it is warm, I will go for a quick dip in the pool right outside my door. After a quick shower, I toss on some clothes, pour myself some coffee, and take our dog out for a few minutes. Next, I jump in my old beat-up ’68 bug and take the PCH up the coast to our facility in Irvine, CA. Often the first food I have is off the taco truck that stops in our parking lot every morning at 9:45 am.

Andrew: What’s your favorite time of day?
Nick Sheridan: I love the late-night hours. There is something about designing late at night after most people are asleep that I find liberating. It is when I am dreaming up new ideas – mostly lighting but occasionally other objects just for fun. This time serves as a creative outlet that is very different than the creativity that occurs at the office.

Andrew: Dream country to work in? Or dream project to take on.
Nick Sheridan: I studied architecture in Florence, Italy for a year and fell in love with Tuscany. I sometimes dream of having an old house in the Tuscan countryside to work on and live in – that would be amazing!

The Penna light from Cerno features a leather strap and gold embellishments.

Andrew: How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Bret Englander: Knowing when to say ‘no’. I used to take too many meetings and never give myself time to dive into the part of my work that I love, which is essential to feel balanced and keep the passion alive. I also meditate daily, surf when I can, and spend quality time with the people I love. The quality of life outside of work can make challenges at work easier to navigate.

Andrew: What modern design trend makes you cringe?
Daniel Wacholder: Smart everything; not all products need to be smart or have unnecessary technology. I appreciate analog products that function well without overcomplicating with technology that does not necessarily make the product any better.

Andrew: What are some of the podcasts you listen to and why?
Bret Englander: How I Built This. I love hearing about other entrepreneurs and how they faced all the challenges that come along with being an entrepreneur.

Andrew: What’s one ingredient you put in everything?
Bret Englander: Mago hot sauce.


About The Makers | (Pictured L to R: Nick Sheridan, Director of Design; Daniel Wacholder, Director of Engineering and Operations; Bret Englander, Director of Sales and Marketing) Laguna Beach’s creative culture and natural environment shaped our professional and aesthetic ideals. As kids they were surrounded by people who used their hands and their minds: people who found ways to make a living doing what they love. Naturally, they made art, rebuilt boats, experimented launching their own mini businesses, and explored the West Coast together. Looking back it’s now clear that their childhood projects and experiments grew into their best adventure yet: building Cerno Lighting.


Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, ASPIRE creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, ASPIRE explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.