We all like a little grumble. British are particularly renowned for our grumbling prowess. Mention the weather and see where that goes. The cost of a good bonsai soil mix?
We all like to grumble about the price of things too. ” I remember when …..” that sort of thing. I have a lovely old mate who pointed out a fairly average bonsai tree for sale on our bench cost more than his first house. On investigation that was about 65 years prior to our discussion. It’s all relative though. My dad likes to point out his first house cost him what is now the price of a special pair of handmade shoes but then he was earning 2/6 a week.
Money is not worth what it was and there is nothing we can do about that. However as age advances it does become difficult to deal with. I was discussing the minimum wage with my old fella the other day and he nearly passed out at the cost.
As a seller of products we constantly have to wrestle with making enough profit to keep the wheels on whilst not pricing ourselves out of the market. It’s a tough one and we (at KB) will not be able to retire on the proceeds. We all know about the crisis in high street retail and online retail is absolutely no better. They say the costs are less for online sellers but that’s utter bull crap.
There is rarely a day goes by that I don’t get bitch slapped by someone complaining about the cost of stuff. It goes with the territory but that does not mean it does not hurt. It really digs deep and the lack of respect and understanding is deeply offensive.
The real problem is that everything looks quite simple from the outside. Creating a bonsai tree looks like a simple thing to the uninitiated. We know better of course. There is nothing more enlightening than to walk a mile in another man’s shoes.
I get a lot of complaints about the price of what we commonly call soil. Bonsai growing media, or soil, is a complex business as I outlined here Choosing Soil For Bonsai Trees. The time, effort and work, not to mention transportation, warehousing, mixing and packaging that goes into these products is simply beyond the comprehension of most folk who are not directly involved.
Processed clay aggregates of many different kinds are a large part of most bonsai growing media. Take a look at this incredible video. Consider the cost of build, running, maintaining and feeding this absolute monster. 90% of a good bonsai soil mix will have come from similar plants around the world.
Those products have to be bought to one place and then processed, blended, packaged and finally packed for shipping direct to your door. How convenient is that? I reckon the price of these things is incredibly low. Many products are cheaper than 20 years ago and don’t forget 1/5 of the cost goes onto the Westminster gravy train.
I am very grateful to companies like the one shown in this video. Their hard work, dedication and long term investment makes our silly penchant for little trees possible. Next time you pick up a bag of soil product remember this video.
I have no issues with soil/media. My trees have never looked better since I changed to these products. Naturally no one wants to pay more than necessary but I think it’s money well spent.
To me that’s the point. It’s not the cost, it’s the value for money that is important. Of course we all like a deal too 😉
I think you have more than made your point here Graham and of course the video is only showing the production of one component of your very good bonsai mixes.
I changed over to Kaizen mix (as I prefer to call it) in time for repotting in spring last year (2019) and have been delighted with the results. Growth has been consistent with excellent *root extension, plus watering is easy and it only takes me about 2-3 minutes to water them all compared to 1hr + it used to take to plunge water them (with the resultant backache!) when I used a 1970’s mix of JI No3 with course sand. I have recommended them to fellow online Bonsai enthusiasts.
*A had to repot a Mame Literati Juniper because it had blown of a shelf in the strong winds of March scattering the rootzone mix.
Interesting video, although I do feel that you’re preaching to the converted.
You know that Kaizen will always be successful as long as the interest in Bonsai continues alongside your own commitment in providing the best quality at a competitive price.
The occasional idiot challenging prices or wondering why their tree died after keeping it indoors is something you just have to accept.
Take comfort from the fact that the rest of us ‘get’ what you do and why you do it.
Your business keeps a lot of people very very happy.
Agreed. Kaizen soil mix is excellent, both in terms of value for money and the improvement in my trees.
The days of John Innes and grit, that takes me back! Thank goodness I found your mixes. Your species/ mix info is spot on too. My trees are healthier and the shohin mix especially has helped me become a fan of the smaller bonsai. Another back saving wonder!