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.
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...