A customer called me the other day and frantically described how he found some guy on eBay or some such site who was selling leaves and things..."He's trying to rip you off!" he screamed. I was very flattered at his loyalty and concern.
However, I explained to him, as I do to you all the time- we didn't invent the idea of using leaves and stuff in aquariums. It's been around for years...scattered here and there in the backwaters of the hobby. We like to think that we're the first who came along and elevated the concept a bit; developed it into a cohesive idea; created a community, excitement, and curated inspiration.
Have you ever noticed that we spend a lot more time chatting about our ideas than we do our products?
Yeah, it's a fact.
We feel that, once you understand the concept; the idea behind Tannin- our mission, our focus, our aesthetic- that you'll either love our products, or hate them. You won't feel indifferent about them! And that's what we want!
You and I- all of us- are at the epicenter of a growing "New Botanical" movement within the hobby..an interest in doing "natural" aquariums with a different aesthetic and angle.
It's an exciting time. Every day, I receive new pictures from customers and fellow hobbyists, excited to share their discoveries, ideas, concepts. We've got people from every corner of the hobby rolling up their sleeves, breaking out the pots, and cooking up botanicals to try in their aquarium setups!
Every new tank that is developed in this unique area is helping advance the state of the art; breaking new ground, and just elevating the concept of incorporating botanicals into aquascapes in a manner seldom, if ever, attempted previously. We're expanding into the global marketplace, as the interest in our source for information and products grows worldwide. It's exciting.
We don't delude ourselves into believing that we are the ultimate experts and originators of the concept of using botanicals in aquariums. There are tons of "vendors" on E-Bay, Amazon, and other sites hawking Catappa leaves and such at bargain-basement prices.
And that's fine with us. We're more concerned about doing the best job that we can for you than we are worrying about everyone who sells a bag of leaves on line. To do otherwise would be foolish. We up our own game. Besides, who else do you know who can wax romantic about leaves and such like we do?
There will come a point when other vendors will be sourcing, aggregating and offering some of the same botanicals that we do. It's inevitable. Some might even offer lower prices or other sizes, quantities, or whatever...
And that's fine with us. We're as excited about the concept of blackwater, botanical-influenced aquariums as we are about offering you stuff for them. If other people are getting into this niche, it simply means that there are more hobbyists interested in the concept! We'll just have to up our game even more. Competition is not a bad thing.
We add one thing that they won't, and cannot: Our unique perspective, our experience with the products we offer, and the information, instruction, and ideas on how best to utilize them. Call it a touch point, body of work, a marker, or whatever- but it's what sets us apart. It's what we hope will always set us apart: Value. Dedication to our craft. Love of the concept. Support. Service. A community. Anyone can sell you stuff. Not everyone can "sell" you an idea; interact with you. Not everyone can offer perspectives and ideas every day like we do. It's the added value that makes everything we do a little bit different.
So worrying about that kind of stuff is more of a distraction than anything else. We have important work to do!
And we're just getting started. We vow to keep pushing, improving, exploring. A lot of cool changes are coming in the next few months, and we look forward to sharing them with you!
So, to my friend who went out of his way to express his concern: Thank you. And don't worry.
Stay excited. Stay adventurous.