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#1 Offline woodywally - Posted July 25 2017 - 1:48 PM

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The Project.

 

 

To all members of the forum, to the creators of this wonderful community.

(Please forgive my English. It is my first language, but I'll be the first to admit that it leaves much to be desired. Please look at the filling, rather than the garnish. Dyslexia won!)

 

I've been a frequent visitor to this forum for many years now 'Although never been a member until now', as well as other communities. It has been a giant aid to the development of my ant keeping abilities and knowledge over the last 7 or 8 years. I can't count the times I've thrown my arms in the air and become very frustrated, very quickly with small problems regarding ant keeping. Forums such as these are vital for the current ant keeping community to discover answers to questions that we all need to know when starting out. Even for the experienced ant keeper, its essential to share ideas with others to develop your own colonies.

 

Equally, they're also vital to the continued development and out-reach of potential ant keepers out there. Without these forums and the passionate members behind them, many people, 'who have no idea what they're missing' children and the maturer potential ant keepers alike will never learn the complexity, the fun, the intrigue and the delight of raising a colony 'A Family, I like to call them' from a single fertilised queen!

 

So here it is, the big question that I've been sitting on for a long while now, not knowing exactly what to do with it. This, I'm 100% sure, will bring up debate. that's something I welcome and encourage. I would love honesty and construction to become of it as it will be a powerful aid for me... or possibly a wake-up-call.

 

-----------------------------------------

 

The Basics

 

I'm currently in the infancy stage of a business plan. That business plan revolves around the ant community. It is essentially an idea for a business that will help those in the community who are fresh-faced to ant keeping, as well as those of us with giant 'but still potentially' growing colonies.

 

I aim to create the all singing, all dancing ant company. Selling products from 'already designed' formicarium's for the beginners or starter-kits if you will, to a network of products that will help everyone in the community build their ultimate colony. Here's the kicker... FOR AN AFFORDABLE PRICE!.

I've seen far too often small companies selling ant products for an absolutely obscene mark-up. Now, I understand why that sometimes has to be the case, as many of these products are hand-made and someone has spend hours creating it. Fantastic. I'm not looking to replace that, as that's essential. After all, we all started like that right? Also, you could expect to pick up your bare essentials, from specialised materials for building your own formicarium's, to equipment many keepers could not live without! naming few, but most certainly not all. Also, not in order of importance. pipettes, Test tubes, real cotton, teasers, tubing, all the way to specially designed food.

 

I want to introduce a range of products that will bring ant keeping to those who, at present, are none the wiser.

A product that can be sold in your local pet store or even the larger chains of pet supermarkets!

 

 

------------------------------------------

 

The Inevitable Debate

 

 

Now, I've given a small slice of a very large picture for all of you guys, girls to discuss. Not about the business side of things, as that has already been put in place. I've been planning and prepping for this for a long time now and am now letting you guy's talk about it.  Is this even something that's needed/wanted in the general community and, would everyone be happy that this truly awesome hobby/love became a little more common? Over the coming months I will be having meetings with some of the largest pet stores in the UK. Something that honestly, scares me beyond belief, but this is something I've dreamt about for many years now and I need to break the silence.

 

I honestly want people to question this. To question the idea from the ground up, holding nothing back so that I can understand the community as a whole, rather than a few individual's who love keeping ants.

 

This may on the surface feel similar to the small online stores already available to purchase such goods. Please be aware that this is a much broader approach, aimed at retail stores. It will also have an online presence but purely for convenience. The online store will be there for those who know what they want/need, making it easier than visiting a local pet supermarket.

 

I will leave it there, as I could undoubtably fill this post with thousands of words, turning this into a business lecture or a bore.

 

 

Questions? Let me know...

 


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#2 Offline T.C. - Posted July 25 2017 - 2:54 PM

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Your talking too big for such a small hobby. However other stores would benefit the hobbyists more. More places to buy from, and compare value, qaulity, prices, etc. Maybe not so much vendors though . However all the vendors on this forum don't seem to mind competition. Perhaps because at one point or still, they all were just ant enthusiasts and just enjoy the hobby regardless. But in the end, it's going to be the guy who makes the best products that will make the money.
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#3 Offline Reacker - Posted July 25 2017 - 3:03 PM

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I don't understand how this is different from what already exists, and I don't understand the purpose of this thread.


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#4 Offline drtrmiller - Posted July 25 2017 - 5:04 PM

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http://www.formicult...oduct-business/
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#5 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted July 25 2017 - 5:06 PM

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So you basically want to make a perfect business, wouldn't we all? I love the idea, but do you have designs for your products and plans for how to achieve these goals? I'm sure we would all love to do this, but it's not like just dreaming something makes it a reality. I wish you luck and would love to know if you have designs for your own line of equipment.


                                         Keeper Of
 
    
 
       1 Crematogaster asmeadi Colony That's Full of Personality (The Valentines)
                                                              That likes to escape
       2 Carpenter Ant Colonies (chromaiodes and castaneus)
       

 

        Still looking to collect a Stigmatomma pallipes colony

 

       


#6 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted July 25 2017 - 5:09 PM

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Your talking too big for such a small hobby. However other stores would benefit the hobbyists more. More places to buy from, and compare value, qaulity, prices, etc. Maybe not so much vendors though . However all the vendors on this forum don't seem to mind competition. Perhaps because at one point or still, they all were just ant enthusiasts and just enjoy the hobby regardless. But in the end, it's going to be the guy who makes the best products that will make the money.

Very well put.


                                         Keeper Of
 
    
 
       1 Crematogaster asmeadi Colony That's Full of Personality (The Valentines)
                                                              That likes to escape
       2 Carpenter Ant Colonies (chromaiodes and castaneus)
       

 

        Still looking to collect a Stigmatomma pallipes colony

 

       


#7 Offline woodywally - Posted July 25 2017 - 10:55 PM

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I don't understand how this is different from what already exists, and I don't understand the purpose of this thread.

Hi Reacker,
 
 
Thank you for commenting on my thread. Now, I did expect a number of people to feel exactly like yourself. Without showing you the business plan and explaining it step by step, I'll never quite be able to explain fully the vision behind it all.
 
The main difference is all I can try and explain at the moment. Many vendors who are successful within the small industry of ant products do well within the community. Having spend a lot of time trying to get their products noticed by that already existing community. My vision 'That's already in place and on track, with many successful meetings down may I add' is that this extremely small hobby of ant keeping will begin to get much more exposure.
 
The means of which are not important at this stage, as I'm more interested in the social aspects of the questions that subject raises.
 
"how would the current ant keeping community feel about ant keeping becoming more popular. If products were more readily available at a local shop near you at an affordable price bracket, would the community find that useful?
 
A very abstract vision for you to think about. Fishkeeping has been around for thousands of years. Evidence shows that fish were kept captive in the egyptian times although, the first person to really bring fish keeping 'for pleasure and beauty' was a an called  Pierre Carbonnier back in the mid 19th century. He began to popularise keeping certain fish for pure pleasure rather than keeping them alive long enough for them to be fresh when the time came to eat them. The long and short of it is that I, and many people out there see ant keeping as something many people are just not aware of. That needs to change.
 
Please don't get caught up in the how's, as that's another subject completely and something for a different conversation.
 
I reiterate my original question.
 
How does the current ant community feel about ant keeping becoming more popular?/Would the existing community as a whole feel they would benefit from an industry standard?
 

 

Thank you again for your post.


#8 Offline woodywally - Posted July 25 2017 - 11:11 PM

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So you basically want to make a perfect business, wouldn't we all? I love the idea, but do you have designs for your products and plans for how to achieve these goals? I'm sure we would all love to do this, but it's not like just dreaming something makes it a reality. I wish you luck and would love to know if you have designs for your own line of equipment.

Thanks for the post TennesseeAnts,

 

 

Well, to say yes to that first question would be ignorant of me. I do not want to create "the perfect business". As far as I'm aware, this will be an enormous task, with many pitfalls along the way. No business is perfect, and I won't claim that I will have the first. I do have other businesses though, so day-to-day running will be something I've thought about.

 

I do have a line of products that I've used as prototypes to gain backers. I do in fact have enough backing to give this a crack. I will be cutting the ribbon at some point in early 2018.

I just felt that I needed to talk with everyone I can who currently enjoy/love the hobby enough to give me some feedback as to how they would feel. I must reiterate, I will also be pushing the smaller venders in my advertising to ensure market growth. The product line will be 'all encompassing' by design. 'snap-on, clip together, move and stack, easy maintenance, re-usable and possibly more importantly, recyclable!'

 

Thanks again for your post!



#9 Offline woodywally - Posted July 25 2017 - 11:21 PM

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Your talking too big for such a small hobby. However other stores would benefit the hobbyists more. More places to buy from, and compare value, qaulity, prices, etc. Maybe not so much vendors though . However all the vendors on this forum don't seem to mind competition. Perhaps because at one point or still, they all were just ant enthusiasts and just enjoy the hobby regardless. But in the end, it's going to be the guy who makes the best products that will make the money.

Hi T.C,

 

 

I completely agree with that assessment with the current popularity and market standing.

 

I do not wish to create a business that solely supplies the current generation of ant keepers, that would almost certainly end in a hell of a financial crash for me! 'not something that I dream of on a daily basis!'. I wish to grow the community via certain channels of advertising and marketing at first. generating some interest from those who would currently look at someone with an expression of 'you what?' to the statement of "I'm an ant-keeper"

 

Obviously without an income, the business is doomed, so yes, I do aim to create a profitable business. What I need to emphasise is that its not all about the money for me. I will be making great products that are already designed but this is not to take away from the current community of vendors, this is to grow it much larger.

 

Thank you for your post!



#10 Offline Reacker - Posted July 26 2017 - 12:53 AM

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Comment removed by author.


Edited by Reacker, July 26 2017 - 12:55 AM.


#11 Offline Serafine - Posted July 26 2017 - 3:33 AM

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What this world doesn't really need:

Another ant stuff vendor.
Not saying that it would be a financial disaster but the ant market is a niche market. Yes, it is becoming more popular, especially due to Youtube and social media but it's still a niche hobby and that probably won't change dramatically for at least a good while.

 

What this world might need:

Something like the GAN project but MASSIVELY better - more attractive, better designed, easier to use, and completely transparent. An ant trading site for people to get into contact with each other, sell collected native queens to other people from their area and help them to properly raise their colonies if needed.

If done properly this could easily succeed in North America but it could also succeed in Europe if complete transparency and high quality are assured. There have been issues with several ant shops here lately (massfounding of Camponotus ligniperda resulting in defective colonies or infertile queens being sold, ridiculous brood boosting resulting in dysfunctional colonies with worker counts like 3 minors and 3 majors being sold, overextending hibernation to prevent queens from founding so the store doesn't have to feed them resulting in weakened or even starving queens being sold, improper packaging so the ants die during shipping, terrible customer service, etc.) and if the project establishes itself as a quality brand it could even outcompete most of these ant shops (or force them to raise their standards which wouldn't be a bad thing either, although they will probably struggle to achieve the transparency a project like this could offer).


Edited by Serafine, July 26 2017 - 3:51 AM.

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#12 Offline woodywally - Posted July 26 2017 - 5:29 AM

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What this world doesn't really need:

Another ant stuff vendor.
Not saying that it would be a financial disaster but the ant market is a niche market. Yes, it is becoming more popular, especially due to Youtube and social media but it's still a niche hobby and that probably won't change dramatically for at least a good while.

 

What this world might need:

Something like the GAN project but MASSIVELY better - more attractive, better designed, easier to use, and completely transparent. An ant trading site for people to get into contact with each other, sell collected native queens to other people from their area and help them to properly raise their colonies if needed.

If done properly this could easily succeed in North America but it could also succeed in Europe if complete transparency and high quality are assured. There have been issues with several ant shops here lately (massfounding of Camponotus ligniperda resulting in defective colonies or infertile queens being sold, ridiculous brood boosting resulting in dysfunctional colonies with worker counts like 3 minors and 3 majors being sold, overextending hibernation to prevent queens from founding so the store doesn't have to feed them resulting in weakened or even starving queens being sold, improper packaging so the ants die during shipping, terrible customer service, etc.) and if the project establishes itself as a quality brand it could even outcompete most of these ant shops (or force them to raise their standards which wouldn't be a bad thing either, although they will probably struggle to achieve the transparency a project like this could offer).

Hi Serafine,

 

 

Excellent input! I think everything you've raised is definitely relevant.

 

I agree that the existing support in place for those who simply want to know exactly where to get native ants easily 'who best to go to, and who's reputable' and also know where they were found.

This is something that has been integrated into the business plan, so thank you for raising it. This is a secondary for the time being though.

 

The products will obviously be produced to sell, but, the other major platform I will be using is mainstream media to promote this 'niche hobby' into something a little larger.

working with marketing teams and experts who understand best how to reach people who may quite possibly be interested in this unique hobby.

 

At present, I think everyone would agree that the hobby is just that, a hobby. If more people understood the unique experiences that can be had with raising a single queen into a colony, then the growth of the ant enthusiast community would grow substantially. The products will be a platform to simplify and educate. I agree with you also 100%, The world does not need another ant product vendor alone. This is not my intention.

 

Thank you for the time taken to add this valuable input! 



#13 Offline ctantkeeper - Posted July 26 2017 - 5:42 AM

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What this world doesn't really need:

Another ant stuff vendor.

Yeah, I don't personally agree with that. Maybe its easier to say that in Germany where you live, but in the states, only a small number of antkeeping vendors exist and one of them (atleast currently) does not sell formicariums. More antkeeping vendeors leads to more competition, lower prices and more ideas being shared. More affordable pricing / a greater variety of options is just what the U.S. antkeeing community needs. Sorry about de-railing the subject, just wanted to share my opinion.


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#14 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted July 26 2017 - 7:49 AM

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I do have a line of products that I've used as prototypes to gain backers. I do in fact have enough backing to give this a crack. I will be cutting the ribbon at some point in early 2018.

I just felt that I needed to talk with everyone I can who currently enjoy/love the hobby enough to give me some feedback as to how they would feel. I must reiterate, I will also be pushing the smaller venders in my advertising to ensure market growth. The product line will be 'all encompassing' by design. 'snap-on, clip together, move and stack, easy maintenance, re-usable and possibly more importantly, recyclable!'

 

 

very happy to hear all that, I will be looking forward to your products when they launch, Glad you started this thread.


                                         Keeper Of
 
    
 
       1 Crematogaster asmeadi Colony That's Full of Personality (The Valentines)
                                                              That likes to escape
       2 Carpenter Ant Colonies (chromaiodes and castaneus)
       

 

        Still looking to collect a Stigmatomma pallipes colony

 

       


#15 Offline klawfran3 - Posted July 26 2017 - 8:18 AM

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Honestly to me it seems as though one of the only non-competitive parts of the ant keeping hobby is in regards to plaster/hydrostone formicaria. There's really one company I know of (THA) that makes realistic, non-3d printed/ acrylic formicaria. The prices might be a bit higher compared to the acrylic or 3d printed ones, but I prefer them way higher over the others for a few reasons. They're realistic (and beautiful), they're very well made (and nearly impossible to break other than the glass), and my ants seem to settle into and do much better in a more realistic environment (although that might just be my experience). The market is flooded with 3d printed ant nests and acrylic ones, and although they're great and easy to afford, I feel like it's so competitive that it's very difficult to scratch your name out and make yours "different". Now that is all my speculation and I don't want to discourage ANYONE from entrepreneuring into a niche hobby like this since the more ideas and publicity the faster it grows, but it seems like carving out your own space or entering into a submarket that has little competition might be the best option. Quality over quantity comes to my mind right now, and I'd be willing to bet that a few people here share my opinions and want their colonies to seem like a small slice of nature.

Now don't take it that I'm bashing acrylic or 3d nests at all, on the contrary. I love how they're so versatile, lightweight, cheap to purchase, and foolproof. They're perfect if you have a ton of ant colonies like some people here do or if you just like the look of them. I personally think the market is so flooded with acrylic nests however (ebay and amazon have thousands of products from china and russia, plus the companies based in Australia, Europe, and the Americas) that it would be so competitive that it doesn't leave much room for a newly starting company.


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#16 Offline Serafine - Posted July 26 2017 - 9:18 AM

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Btw can we please give this topic a less awful title? One that's actually describing what's going on instead of being illusive clickbaity nonsense.

 

There 's only one big debate in antkeeping and it's not this.


Edited by Serafine, July 26 2017 - 9:20 AM.

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#17 Offline ultraex2 - Posted July 26 2017 - 10:53 AM

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It sounds kind of like a Walmart for antkeeping?



#18 Offline woodywally - Posted July 26 2017 - 10:43 PM

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Btw can we please give this topic a less awful title? One that's actually describing what's going on instead of being illusive clickbaity nonsense.

 

There 's only one big debate in antkeeping and it's not this.

 

 

Apologies about the name... I was in a "creative" mood. Also very tired. I'll do something about that now.



#19 Offline woodywally - Posted July 26 2017 - 10:52 PM

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It sounds kind of like a Walmart for antkeeping?

Hi ultraex2,

 

 

The answer to that is both yes and no.

 

The yes being that you could literally find anything you needed for any ant keeping need.

 

The no being that this will not be a stand-alone shop/store. In my opinion, with the current 'ant keeping' climate, that would definitely not work. Having said that, that is something I have thought about doing if my first launch picks up and gets to where its been projected.

 

If the non-antkeeping community really start to get into it then it's something that I'd love to do.

 

Imagine that. You have your own store in a busy town centre, the subject would be enough to get people talking and walking in. hmmm, I think I'm dreaming a little to hard though.

that's something I will return to.

 

Thanks for the post!



#20 Offline ultraex2 - Posted July 27 2017 - 6:14 AM

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It sounds kind of like a Walmart for antkeeping?

Hi ultraex2,

 

 

The answer to that is both yes and no.

 

The yes being that you could literally find anything you needed for any ant keeping need.

 

The no being that this will not be a stand-alone shop/store. In my opinion, with the current 'ant keeping' climate, that would definitely not work. Having said that, that is something I have thought about doing if my first launch picks up and gets to where its been projected.

 

If the non-antkeeping community really start to get into it then it's something that I'd love to do.

 

Imagine that. You have your own store in a busy town centre, the subject would be enough to get people talking and walking in. hmmm, I think I'm dreaming a little to hard though.

that's something I will return to.

 

Thanks for the post!

 

 

Cool!  Thanks for the info.

 

My other question is - what are your credentials?  Do you keep/have kept ants?  Personally at least, I think a large part of selling anting equipment is other people knowing that you are an experienced/good ant keeper yourself.







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