So, there's gonna be some changes around here..
You've probably already noticed a few things that are different about the Tannin Aquatics website, right?
For starters, the look is a bit different.
We're gradually adding all-new product photography, which highlights the beauty of botanicals as they are. Sure, the garden bench thing was sexy, and sort of "set the tone" for Tannin being a bit different when we started three years ago, but it was time for a change. Not only did it not really highlight the botanicals as well as it could have- it was a "style" that was starting to be copied by other vendors...That's your first clue that it's time to change again!
So, we enlisted the help of well-known professional advertising photographer/scaper/creative director Johnny Ciotti (who's work has graced these pages before, as well as that of the ads of some of the most recognizable companies in fashion, food, and consumer packaged goods) to shoot our botanicals in an all-new light (literally...).
We did an epic 14 hour photo shoot of every item in the inventory. Some of these photos have already started showing up in our catalog, and we expect to have them all up within the next week or so.
The shopping experience has changed!
Yes, with lots of feedback and testing, we realized that the shopping experience and menus were not really optimized for was of use. It was difficult going back and forth between collections. It was not intuitive. We changed all that. You now have sections specifically or leaves, seed pods, and stems and branches. Same for hardscape.
Oh, and there's that new section called "Curated Themes."
That's where you'll find our recommendations of what botanicals to use to replicate specific habitats, niches, etc. Or simply, aquaecapes that inspire. It's a sort of fusion between our "Studio Tannin" page and our "Inspiration" section. This will be a regularly-changing section of interesting themes to be inspired by. We're still very much a work in progress, but expect more pics of the actual habitats we're talking about, as well as aquariums featuring the materials.
"Inspiration" is going to evolve from the sort of ragtag "dorm room wall" vibe of video and pic it has now into a clean, more searchable and aesthetically consistent page.
We've been told that we're "thought leaders" in this space, and we think it's time to step up and get the web site up to speed, too!
Where is Tannin Live? Well, the idea was really cool. It was exciting. And logistically it was really hard for us to manage. I mean, a remote inventory in a facility that was not ours. We simply couldn't deliver the great quality of service and reliability that we can for the botanicals. The service you've come to expect from us.
It was nobody's fault. Trust me, having co-owned and ran a huge marine livestock facility before, I can tell you how challenging it is- especially if that's not your main focus, or if you're not even physically there! Mike Tucc did this as a great accommodation for us as he started his larger-scale wholesale fish import business. His fishes are amazing!
It was very cool, but quite frankly, his biz grew, we grew with our botanicals, and the small orders we were receiving for a few fish just weren't economically viable for him or for us. We were privileged to give it a whirl, but we also realized that what we do best is botanicals and such. We're doubling down on what we do best! (that's not to say there won't be some "pop up" fish sales in the fire...just stay tuned!).
The Variety Packs...are...gone! Um, not really. They're all right there still. In fact, all fo the materials that comprised what was becoming a truly bewildering variety of packs are still here. A common comment from first-time customers was "You have an awesome selection! I'm just not sure which variety pack to get!" That was our signal that something needed to evolve here. (Oh, that and the fact that every copycat botanical vendor that pops up starts their biz with variety packs...lol)
In fact, you can now select the amounts of botanicals you want to have in your own, self-curated packs! And the more you purchase, the less expensive the materials are! It's just easier, and enables more creativity. Before, if you only wanted 8 Banana Stem Pieces in your pack that had 16, and wanted to substitute "Mariposa Pods" instead-you were out of luck. Now, you simply select the quantity of the materials you want! We have more size selections than ever before! And we'll introduce some new botanicals soon, too!
Tannin is becoming a place where your creativity is enhanced with the empowerment of self-curation!
We're going to become way, way more of what we always intended to be: A source for inspiration AND the materials for you to explore, curate, and create. We're still in the rudimentary phases, but watch for lots and lots of regular changes weekly!
"Preparation" will ultimately become a page with video and infographics on botanical prep. Each product now has its preparation instruction on the product page. We'll be getting rid of the looooong "preparation" page with instructions for each item, making it more simple, useful, and interesting!
No More WYSIWYG wood! Yup, you've come to trust us to select and offer only the best pieces we can find- pieces we'd use in our tanks. Yet, it really wasn't all that necessary. You told us you're fine with the types of peices we create. You trust us! So, say goodbye to WYSIWG wood...the peices still on the site are the very last ones before we go to "hand-selected."
And, with the time and energy we'll save by not having to measure, tag, photograph and list each and every piece, we're able to bring you the same consistently great pieces at a better consistent price! And we can move faster, get orders our even more quickly, innovate new products, etc.
Oh, and the other BIG announcement...
Shipping within the U.S. is FREE! Need we say more? You could order one pack of Catappa leaves, and it ships FREE. Or an entire scape of rocks, wood, and botanicals. FREE. Or 2 "Jungle Pods." FREE.
Yes. Enough is enough. I hate paying for shipping, and you do, too.
Now, we realize that our international customers still pay for shipping. Trust me, we looked at every possible way to do free internationally; it simply wasn't economically viable. Pretty much every order we ship internationally loses money on the shipping costs- and we have a pretty good rate. We did lower them to the minimum that we could for each region, and we'll always give a few extras to international customers to help ease the pain. Trust me, we're constantly evaluating this...Stay tuned.
We're going to do more videos.
Yup, you asked for them, we'll be doing them! We plan on really developing out our YouTube presence in 2019, with monthly featured videos and more frequent video content. I've been asked by a lot of you to do "The Tint" as a podcast, perhaps even with a direct delivery to your email- and it's something we're looking at!
We'll have more contests, more inspiring work from well-known aquascapers, and more overall information on video.
Where is "Estuary?" As with our variety packs, "Estuary" has sort of devolved into the overall collection. You'll know what is a "brackish-friendly" product with the little icon that you're now familiar with:.
Oh, and look for more "Lifestyle" products- coffee, art, hats, tee shirts, and more! And the debut of "Tannin Marketplace", which may or may not be a separate section, featuring very carefully selected gear and aquarium products which fit the needs and interests of you- our customers! Also coming Q1 and Q2 of 2019.
And of course, the overall aesthetics of the site will gradually emerge from the mishmash that it is at the moment to an overall cleaner, more sophisticated and inspiring look.
And A LOT of other surprises coming your way.
We hope you're as excited and inspired as we are!
Stay bold. Stay Curious. Stay inspired. Stay creative. Stay empowered...
And Stay Wet.