Today's subject is about as literal and straightforward as I could get, right?
We get this question in one form or another all the time. Usually, it's couched in gentle, suggestive verbiage, like, "You know, I'll bet you'd sell a lot of __________ if you offered them!" or, "Have you thought about offering__________. I think a lot of people would like them!"
And, of course, all teasing aside, we love getting suggestions from our community and customer base about stuff we should offer. It not only puts us in touch with what you're into, it opens our eyes to the wider possibilities that are out there. On the other hand, it often serves to convince us that we're doing things exactly how we should.
Well, first off, we've created an environment where customer feedback is welcome and appreciated. That's huge. Second, it confirms that we have an engaged audience which is so into the stuff we offer and the ideas we discuss that they're thirsty for more! A validation/confirmation of a vital, growing market!
However, there is a positive side to not trying to offer every single thing that our customers want: We don't stray out of our lane too much! For example, we could offer heaters and pumps and stuff like that. Yet, the reality is that you can and should purchase these from any number of less specialized online vendors or local fish stores, which have not only a greater selection of these items than we'd care to- they offer parts and service and such in a more efficient manner than we ever could- or would want to!
It's always been our thinking, and will likely continue to be, for the most part- that we really won't offer anything that isn't either a Tannin "built and branded" product, or one that isn't so tightly adjacent or relevant to our philosophy and support of botanical-style aquariums that it just makes sense.
Did you catch the last part?
In other words, I just told you that you're going to see more items showing up on our website that are not necessarily botanicals, yet are complimentary- if not essential- to the art and science of botanical-style aquarium keeping. Yeah! Watch for more and more tangential items showing up in our collections- that are things you might not have thought of at first, but are perfect additions to our product line because they intimately support or compliment what we love to do in this "sector" of the hobby!
It's why we've spent almost two years developing, testing, and tweaking our "NatureBase" line of sedimented speciality aquatic substrates. It took a LOT of different formulations and raw materials to get them just the way we wanted them! And that was important, because these are materials intended to be used in the types of aquariums we talk about with you guys all the time. They HAD to be different.
And we had to educate our community on how these products are different, what to expect from them, what we intend them to be used for, and HOW to use them.
Sure, we could offer "____ brand of aquarium sand" or whatever, but the reality is that these products are not specific enough for what we do. They're fantastic, affordable, and well-thought-out. However, they're not specifically formulated to support the form and function of the specialized botanical-style aquariums we are crazy about here. I mean, where else will you find a substrate materials designed to replicate the composition, form, and function of the Varzea or Igapo habitats?
Because they're really focused and simply not suitable for the bulk of mass-market consumers. However, to you people- our community- they're exactly what you've been waiting for! This sort of shows a "truism" that we follow here at Tannin: We'd really rather develop our own specialized products, rather than try to "force fit" products from other manufacturers- or items which don't really fit our "theme" into our product mix. Hell, we just had a "fire sale" and unloaded all of the rocks we used to offer, didn't' we?
Yeah, we did. Because they're not exactly the "perfect fit" for the types of aquariums we play with. This is practice we'll keep doing: Gradually paring down stuff that doesn't precisely fit our narrative here...
And, it's a little "early warning" to you about some crazy-cool products currently under development in the "Tannin Tint Works"- our little "R & D" department. You're going to see a gradual release of a variety of products- some which even defy current aquatics industry categorization- which will make perfect sense for what we do!
This goes back to our recent blog about the aquatics business, and why we have no concern whatsoever about new businesses showing up in the "botanical-style aquarium" sector. This isn't arrogance. It's a lack of worry based on facts: Not only do most of them bring absolutely nothing new to the table (hint: a cute name, a logo, and a website full of some preservative-coated dried botanical materials from an arts and crafts supplier doesn't make you a botanical-style aquarium brand), but for many reasons, they simply can't- and won't- be able to develop and release the types of things we currently have in the pipeline.
We always appreciate the concern that our fans show us when a new, would-be competitor shows up, but the reality is that they're attempting to clumsily move into the direction where we were- not where we're going!
The idea of being all things to all people just doesn't resonate in me, my crew, or our brand DNA. We never were about trying to be this big, all -encompassing aquarium brand. Yes, we've started to branch out (no pun intended!) beyond offering just leaves and seeds pods and such- but those offerings are directly linked to our dedication to the botanical-style aquarium movement and its needs.
There is something perfectly comfortable for us about that. Does it limit the number of people we could reach? Well, sure it does! Does it help us keep more focused, more directed, and more specialized on the needs of our community? Yup.
And that's why you won't find everything on our website.
Just the stuff which matters to you.
Stay curious. Stay educated. Stay focused. Stay excited. Stay tuned...
And Stay Wet.