Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a small business starting out in your own home which then grows into a 7,000 square foot facility 20 years later? Photodon is an example of a Northern Michigan small business that started from scratch by making a hood that would protect a screen from glare. Don Basch is the "Don" of Photodon and founder and owner. He created his business out of a need and his love for photography. He needed to see the digital screen on his camera while taking photos in bright light. Other photographers saw what he came up with and wanted to use the hoods, so Don decided to sell these hoods on the internet. He soon began to customize the hoods, and Photodon found its niche.
He and his wife, Jeanette, worked together for many years filling orders together in their home. The company evolved to sourcing protective film for screens and began cutting the film with a laser for screen sizes up to 100 inches. The government and business-to-business sales grew along with consumer needs serviced through Photodon's website. Specialty products such as privacy filters were needed in government offices, banking businesses, colleges, and healthcare facilities, so Photodon found even more of a niche. Microfiber cloths and cleaning supplies supplement the screen products and are ordered separately by businesses and re-sellers.
Photodon's continual improvement culture is highlighted when the company looks at the challenges it has faced. As the pandemic hit and there was a call for PPE for hospitals and consumers, Don and his talented employees created a face shield design with their unused inventory of PET film. The team produced hundreds of these face shields and donated them to local and regional hospitals.
Kaizen is a principal that is important to Photodon and is constantly being used and referenced. The basic concept is continual improvement. The company is always looking at processes and procedures to see how the products and production can be made better and more efficient. Photodon applies the LEAN principal and has had professional training in the LEAN concept.
Photodon is now entering a new phase of their journey in manufacturing with focus on new products and new customers. The company continues to adapt and grow and find new ways to serve its customers and community. Photodon inherently understands the need for a niche in business. It continues to find these new niches as it grows its products and services.
Don and Jeanette have made Photodon a great business based off from their values of honesty, fairness, and excellence, which exudes the workplace culture. Due to their leadership, Photodon has attracted a highly skilled and loyal workforce ready to serve the needs of all Photodon's customers. Even with the challenges of the 2020s, the future looks fantastic for Photodon and its customers and employees.