Interview with Joe Player of Groovy Balls – “Light for Cause” Fundraiser

I’m down in Playa del Carmen and at a local online/entrepreneur meetup I started chatting with serial entrepreneur Joe Player, who’s also from Canada. We got talking about his plans and found out he’s in the middle of an exciting project, which involved flying to Richard Branson’s Necker Island, to meet the man himself! With Richard Branson a hero to us both and I’m sure many of our readers, I had to grab him for an interview. (Update: Joe is currently on Necker Island and I’ll be sharing his experience when he’s back!)

Richard Branson's Necker Island

Simon: First, tell our readers what your Groovy Balls are?

 Joe: Groovy Balls are these amazingly cool-looking, fun to assemble spherical lamps. The shade is 13” in diameter and is available in 9 vibrant colors: Absolute Blue, Icy Blue, Eco Green, Happy Orange, Flaming Red, Pink Passion, Purple Power, and Snowball White. They are  perfect decorative lights for any home, business, restaurant, retail store and bar because they work well indoors and outdoors.  Most people have never seen a Groovy Light, but when they do, they simply fall in love

Joe Player "Light for Cause" Campaign

Simon: Could you tell us about your “Light for Cause” fundraiser?

 Joe: The Light for Cause fundraiser is being hosted on the popular crowdfunding platform, Here people have the opportunity to pre-order a Groovy Light Kit by giving a donation. All of the money collected goes straight to Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite Foundation.

The really cool thing about The Virgin Unite Foundation is there is no overhead, all operating cost are covered by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, so 100% of the money raised goes straight to the charities the Foundation supports.

So I’ve set up quite a few incentives to donate various amounts. For example, a donation of $26 to $50 will get people a Groovy Light kit, and an uplifting “You’re Awesome” sticker. Other attractive incentives to donate include Tower Paddle Boards (as seen on ABC’s Shark Tank), VIP Trips for 2 to Tulum, Mexico and Corporate Sponsorship Packages. My goal is to raise $40k by April 24th.

Simon: So now that our readers know the plan and product, what first inspired all this?

 Joe: Light for Cause came about a year ago when I saw something online promoting Richard Branson’s book “Screw Business as Usual”, which focuses on the concept of using business as a way to promote positive changes in the world. This is around the same time I discovered the Groovy Light. I decided to merge the two ideas together by selling The Groovy Light and raising money for The Virgin Unite Foundation through Light for Cause.

Groovy Balls Dining Room

Simon: It sounded like quite a journey for you, from hearing about Branson’s competition to actually flying to Necker Island to meet him. Please share it with our readers!

 Joe: Well, not too long after I came up with the Light for Cause idea, I saw an advertisement for a contest to meet Richard Branson. I entered with a video submission. Unfortunately, it was last minute. I think there was only a week left in the contest and to my dismay, I had no chance since the contest primarily revolved around social media. I did not have enough Facebook ‘Likes’ or Retweets. But it was a great kickstarter for my Light for Cause vision and in any amazing turn-of-events, a year later to the exact date, I was invited to Richard Branson’s private island with 12 other entrepreneurs.

Groovy Lights Bedroom

Simon: Richard Branson is a very inspiring figure, especially to entrepreneurs like us. What draws you to him, over other billionaire entrepreneurs?

 Joe: I think I’m drawn to Branson because I consider him a serial entrepreneur like myself. He inspires me because he really focuses heavily on corporate responsibility and believes in the idea that businesses should endeavor in making the world a better place, not just generate revenue and turn a profit. Thats why I am so driven to give proceeds from Light for Cause to Branson’s Virgin Unite Foundation. They are committed to solving problems around the world like helping homeless teenagers, slashing carbon emissions and providing clean drinking water globally.

Simon: Can you share your plans while you’re on the island?

 Joe: My main goal is to get an endorsement, from Richard, for the Groovy Lights and more importantly, Light for Cause. But there is a full week of business-oriented activities with 12 other highly successful entrepreneurs, such as Marketing Expert, Joe Polish, Actress, Patricia Arquette, and Author and Internet Entrepreneur, Yanik Silver , so I plan on soaking up all of the knowledge and innovative thinking  from such an accomplished group.

Joe Player Groovy Ball Lights

Simon: And what are your plans for after your fundraiser is over?

 Joe: Well, I plan on launching the e-commerce website for The Original Groovy Light at and I will keep raising donations through Light for Cause. So, for every light sold, I will donate $5 to the Virgin Unite Foundation. My long-term goal is to raise $3 million dollars by 2015.

Simon: Thanks for your time Joe, I’ll definitely harass you when you’re back to hear your stories of Necker Island and my hero Richard Branson, which I’ll be sure to share with our readers.

Please join Joe’s “Light for Cause” charity fundraiser by visiting the campaign at

And connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Simon Gerard
[email protected]

Simon is a luxury marketing consultant and editor at Luxury Branded. He writes about luxury brands, travel and lifestyle trends for our blog and our clients. He lives for travel and spends most of his time between Vancouver, BC and the Riviera Maya in Mexico. Follow him on Twitter: @S_Gerard and on Google Plus: +Simon Gerard