Yesterday marked the 10-Year Anniversary of my first sale of a custom harmonica comb. December 30, 2009. I launched my business on a whim, going by the name of Florida-Trader (hence my moniker here on MBH) selling on eBay. Blue Moon Harmonicas LLC was founded September 12, 2011. I had zero experience making harmonica related products or catering to harmonica players. In fact, my only exposure to the online harmonica world at the time was via harp-l.org. No Facebook. No Modern Blues Harmonica. Those came later. After about two years of reading the various harp-l posts it was apparent to me that there was a big demand for custom harmonica combs but nobody was doing a particularly good job meeting that demand. So, I decided to toss my hat into the ring. I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect. I just figured if I offered quality products, shipped them quickly (a big issue 10 years ago) and delivered exceptional customer service, it might work.
What has happened is nothing short of amazing. I was immediately embraced by the harmonica community. I was coached how to make my products better. I was encouraged. I got ideas for new products. It validated my decision to get into the business. Truly, I owe most of whatever success I enjoy to the support I have received from harmonica players. As a group, they (we – you) are incredibly nice people. They are passionate about their instrument. They want good service and appreciate anyone who delivers it to them. About all I have done is listen to the market and give them what they have asked for. Almost all the good ideas I have put into play have come from my customers. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
I could go on boring you with details, but mostly I just wanted to say thank you for your support. I have learned a lot from hanging out here on Modern Blues Harmonica for the past nine years and the membership has been tremendously supportive. I also want to let you know that I will be making some changes in my business. What has happened for me at Blue Moon Harmonicas is a bit of a double-edged sword. It is has become a far more successful business venture than I ever expected. What a blast! Running the business demands a lot of my time. Frankly, more than I anticipated. Blue Moon was started as a part-time sideline business, but it has grown into pretty much another full-time job. I will be 65 on Friday and an age when many people retire, I find myself busier than I have ever been in my life. Don’t get me wrong. That’s a good thing. I love it. However, I sense that I have a window of opportunity over the next 10-15 years where I am still young enough, vibrant enough, healthy enough, plenty of energy, and have the means to really enjoy life. I love building harmonicas but there are things I would rather do than sit at a workbench all day building harps. I will never stop building harps, but I am going to slow down and make room in my schedule for other things. If you have an unfulfilled order with me right now, fear not. I’m working hard to get caught up and will get your harp(s) out to you as quickly as possible. I’m not going anywhere. Between my supply of custom combs, new harmonicas, pre-wars and other components, I am sitting on about $40,000 worth of inventory in my shop. Trust me when I tell you that I will build plenty of harps in 2020. It will take me a few months to wind things down a bit and get them where I want them. But, you gotta start some time and a new year is generally a good time to make new plans.
Congrats Tom! I'm still ready to quit my job and help run your "New England Branch" of Blue Moon. I have been a customer of yours for around 3 years, and you've been helpful and gracious and always responsive to my inquiries. My harmonica world is better with you in it, buddy!
thanks for all of your hard work. I appreciate it each time I play my harmonicas (every day).