Sleeping in the back of his Subaru Outback to catch early morning turns at Mammoth Mountain, product designer Peter Ducato knew there had to be a better way to car camp. He had led design for hundreds of products as the Founder of STEL Design and leveraged his experience to draft a design, develop a prototype and test his car camping solutions on the road.
Luno launched in Santa Barbara, California in 2018, and is the first-ever company to focus solely on improving the car camping experience. As interest in outdoor recreation exploded following the pandemic, Luno’s products made camping more accessible for all types of travelers. The company has seen 300%+ year-over-year growth for three years in a row (2019-2022).
“I am a proponent of starting companies with all creatives that can drive brand value as a foundational pillar of Luno. I had no business or finance people in the early days as I didn’t want individuals who weren’t creatives in the starting phase of the company. We are a company that’s often said to have products that are designed by campers for campers,” said Peter.
Alongside Co-founder Sarah Van Berkum, Luno has built a direct-to-consumer brand that includes a growing product line of mattresses designed to fit around wheel wells, window screens, privacy curtains, storage bags, organizers, and more. Peter attributes their early success to a focus on building a brand with a trustworthy reputation.
Peter explained, “We invest a lot of time, energy and finances into our brand and creating a culture based in community. Our focus is on what we call ‘Power of Moments’ – celebrating small moments when we can go above and beyond for our customers. Whether that be expediting shipping for delivery before a big road trip or offering a discount when a customer needs to swap products for a new vehicle they purchased, our team is hyper-focused on fixing the little things that add up to big wins.”
Last year, Luno moved their headquarters operations from Santa Barbara to Bend’s Northwest Crossing. The company now employs 22 team members (full-time and part-time campers) and Peter prioritizes hiring local and working with local partners whenever possible.
EDCO’s Bend Area Director, Don Myll, provided assistance for the relocation and said, “Luno’s product line is unique and adds to Bend’s creative and successful outdoor products companies. They have identified an underserved segment of the outdoor industry with thoughtfully engineered products that are durable and incorporate sustainable strategies. Peter was quick to solicit assistance from EDCO before relocating the business and over the last several months the team helped with site selection and landlord negotiation assistance, apply for the Deschutes County Forgivable Loan Program and providing connections to the outdoor industry ecosystem.”
Luno’s focus on community transcends all levels of their business. They work with Bend-based warehouse solutions provider Collective Pallet to manage order fulfillment. When products are returned in almost new condition, Luno makes them available to locals through their rental program, and when the occasional defective product is retuned, Luno partners with Tailgate Industries to upcycle those materials into new camping gear through Project ReRoam.
“In-person matters. I love being with people. We offer a hybrid model and we benefit from talent outside of Central Oregon but company culture matters and we want to engage with our community and to engage with other companies,” said Peter.
Through the company’s impact program, Luno has made donations to local biodiversity and land conservation efforts, Oregon Adaptive Sports and provided in-kind donations to nonprofits around the country.
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