Blue Moon Lites, Inc.

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Why and when did John Tondra start his business?  In 2008, after the stock market crash and his job ended, Tondra moved to Pittsburgh. He looked at opportunities during the recession and noticed that people keep spending money on children and pets even during economic downturns. He did not have any good ideas for pets, but he developed an excellent idea for children. 

An ex-colleague of his was involved in promotional items manufacturing.  After investigating that market, he concluded that cheap marketing items did not make sense in the market. Thus, he invented an upscale, portable children’s night light and incorporated Blue Moon Lites in late 2009.

He had reasonable customer response to and acceptance of what he called his “experiment.” He further customized the product by doing his own designs and branding.

Tondra approached the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to explore international markets. With a new design and branding, the client started selling by mostly using internet based marketing and limited face to face sales calls.  International market research was conducted and the SBDC Global Trade Manager introduced Tondra to the Pennsylvania Overseas Offices to help him increase his exports.

These efforts contributed to 28 percent sales growth in 2012 compared to 2011.  In 2013, he has had consciously limited growth as he explores a better supply chain model including on-shoring. He is trying to hold to about a 25 percent growth while changing suppliers. Currently he exports his products to Canada, UK, and Australia, and has plans to expand to other overseas markets.

His goal is to make the new version of the product compliant with all the EU regulations and open additional markets in the EU.

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