People always ask me how I got started in Nishikigoi so in a nutshell here is the saga. I think you will probably find it a lot like your own story except that I took a perfectly good hobby and turned it into a business.
Several years ago by accident I built a water garden, I thought it would add to my back yard's atmosphere. It did and I became more and more interested in ponds and water gardens, even more so then my dirt garden, which by the way I was horrible at. For me having the water garden was very therapeutic and calming and I really enjoyed it. Through the local Koi club (Mid Atlantic Koi club) I heard of a Koi store that was going to open near where I lived. The store was called Quality Koi and I went to check it out. Funny thing is while I was there they offered me a part time job when they opened. Cool right?
So there I was 28 years old thinking about a major career change while I netted Koi and backwashed filters. At the time I was a self-employed auto mechanic and had a flexible schedule so I worked at the Koi store on my days off from the real job. This worked out well for several months until the owner asked me to close my auto shop and manage the store full time. This was a dream come true for me as my real job was starting to wear me out. This was a job I would do for free and here I was getting paid to manage one of the east coasts largest stores. Lucky me.
After a few years managing Quality Koi I moved on to Manage Millstone Koi but only for a short time until I started TMi USA a direct Koi importing business. Direct importing was great but I didn’t actually get to handle any Koi or retail sales and I also wanted to sell equipment. With this in mind I started USA Koi and USAKOI.COM and was the first person and only distributor to break Evolution Aqua's Answer onto the scene in the USA. While I did all of the USA marketing and distribution for EA’s Answer my Koi business really lagged and this was where my interest really was. So once distributors were found nationwide and a seamless distribution network was established I cut back on my equipment sales and started to sell Koi almost exclusively. Now here at USA Koi I have retail and wholesale Koi sales, Japan trips, direct shipments and many other services.
I’m striving to be the best in the business and also compete in the Internet business world. The hobby is growing fast and of course the Internet has opened the hobby and my business up to the world. With this in mind it makes competition much greater, better for you the consumer but for me it makes it harder for my business to stand apart from another. There is probably just one way to stand apart from other business in this industry and that is by offering the best customer service you can receive along with healthy quality Koi. If you see me falter from this position and I do sometimes do when I get over run with emails and phone calls please give me a friendly reminder to get back on track. I’m always open to your suggestions about the website and the shop so contact me any time and let me know what you think or how I can better serve you.
Mark Bodycott, USA Koi