As I’m lounging here on the red writing couch on the morning of January 1, 2012, the sun is just beginning to show itself at 6:50 a.m. The spring / summer gardening season feels like a leap of faith right now but I know it will come. It always does. And this year my belief is that the traditional gardening season will usher in the start of an explosion in interest in aquaponic gardening.
Why am I predicting this? First, I’m basing it on the growth trends we’ve seen in our business over the last 12 months. Our order volume has increased dramatically over this period.
Further, The Aquaponic Gardening Community has gone from zero members at this time in 2010 (I opened it for members at the end of January, 2010) to about 800 members at this time in 2011, to over 3,500 members now. That is a 337% annual growth rate for 2011!
Another indicator is the response to the Aquaponic Gardening book. After its launch this past September, it ranged from the #1 to the #5 top selling gardening book on Amazon.com for about six weeks. Now it is typically between #15 and #20 – still a very good showing for such a niche subject. The reason why this is a strong indicator of future interest in aquaponic gardening is that all these book purchasers are potential future aquaponic gardeners, and once their gardens are built and thriving they will bring over their friends and neighbors to see this crazy cool thing they are doing. Then some of their friends and neighbors will want to do it, and so the exponential growth begins.
How do we plan to support the upcoming surge in interest in aquaponic gardening?
- Aquaponic System Kits This will be the year of the aquaponics system kit for us. In December we announced our new AquaBundance Modular line of larger aquaponics systems based on 200 and 300 gallon tanks. The response has been phenomenal, and we’ve already sold several even though we aren’t even shipping until the end of January. We’ve also started talking about the new AquaBundance Designer Series that will be launched soon, as well as a new AquaBundance Tote Series that will be unveiled in the next few weeks. With these three systems lines, plus our original AquaBundance Space Saver line, we will be able to offer any aspiring aquaponic gardener a system solution that fits their goals and budget. We are pretty excited about that!
- More Aquaponics Plumbing Kits In 2011 we started offering aquaponics plumbing kits for customers who already have, or have easy access to grow beds and fish tanks and are just looking for some help tying them all together. From the response, we’ve concluded that we are definitely filling an important need, and have many ideas for introducing even more plumbing kits in 2012.
- Expanded and Improved Aquaponics Components and Supplies – While I won’t go into detail here, suffice it to say that we have a list of dozens of new products for aquaponic gardening to put up on our website. By the end of 2012, we will completely fulfill our mission to supply ‘everything the home aquaponic gardener needs.’
- International Shipping Up until now, we have only dabbled in international shipping. Honestly, our approach on international has been that when someone bugs us about shipping to their country we turn on that country in the country pull-down menu. But this year we are committed to shipping all around the world. Not for live or perishable products, not for all of our drop-shipped products, and not for the systems, but we will ship educational material, testing supplies, plumbing parts, etc. anywhere in the world.
- More Videos We are amazed at how much reaction and viewership our quick little internet-based videos get! You really seem to like them (check out our Aquaponic Gardening YouTube channel), so we are committed to providing more. In fact, we are going to attempt to feature a new video of some sort or another in every bi-monthly newsletter. This means we are committing to about twenty six new videos. Better get rolling!
- Featured Customers And last but not least, we are also committing to telling you a bit more about yourselves! We plan to start a Featured Customer piece in each newsletter this year. Each featured customer will be announced in the newsletter, and then a page on our website will provide images and a corresponding article for all to admire, learn from, and enjoy!
At the risk of sounding trite, I can honestly say that Alan and I are extremely excited about the possibilities for The Aquaponic Source in 2012. We are re-dedicating ourselves to serving you, our wonderful customers, and to spreading the good news throughout North America and the world about this incredible growing technique.