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Thread: Changing Business of Koi, Part II

  1. #1
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Changing Business of Koi, Part II

    The impact of the internet on the koi business was highlighted this week by a promotion being circulated by Devin Swanson of Koi Acres. There have always been grow-outs where a group gets some tosai and talk about bringing them back together in a year to compare and see how the koi have grown. These were usually organized by a club working with a dealer to get a group of siblings from a particular breeder, often promoted as a way to learn about how that breeder's fish develop. Sometimes the grow-out would be organized by a dealer for the dealer's customers. Participation in these has been primarily local by necessity. In recent years, some koi boards have sponsored grow-outs, expanding participation to an entire country (or the entire EU in some instances), limited only by the breeder/dealer's ability to ship safely. There is a grow-out occurring now, organized by Appliance Guy through another board, in which participation is geographically broad, with the idea that he will bring the koi to the Central Florida Koi Show in March for pick-up by those attending. All of these incremental expansions of the grow-out experience have led to a truly international scope with what Devin is doing.

    Tani Koi, the huge Japanese dealer and trans-shipper, has arranged for 200 Isa Showa tosai to be available for selection. These will be kept in Japan and then entered in a show in March. (I presume a 'show' of just these koi.) Dealers outside Japan who work with Tani, like Devin, can have their customers participate. After the 'show', the fish will be shipped to the coordinating dealer for delivery to their customers. So, sitting in Florida, I can check out photos of the tosai, make a selection, and have the fish entered in a show, perhaps win a prize and eventually get the fish. There is also a sort of lottery involved. The first place Showa will win a prize of ¥ 500,000, second place wins ¥ 300,000 and third place wins ¥ 200,000. (That's 10% of the gross revenue going into prizes, if all 200 are sold.) That should appeal to the Asian hobbyists accustomed to prizes of real value being given at shows. It is an internationalization of the grow-out made possible only by the convenience of the internet. And, it is quite a business move... for Isa, for Tani and for dealers Tani allows to participate. It's not cheap. Each Koi has a set price of ¥ 50,000, plus there will be shipping and handling costs. (No keeping fee or show entry fee.) Selling 200 tosai in an approximate $90,000 (net of prizes) deal is good business. The participant gets to be part of an international experience. Like all grow-outs, the chances are a lot of folks will end up with koi they do not want... some will turn out male, some will fail, some will prove to be bargains. That's the gamble of tosai.

    I do not know if I'll participate. Perhaps some tosai Showa's photo strikes my fancy. Perhaps not. But, I can appreciate that such an event, like the breeder auctions promoted through the internet, eliminates or lowers barriers that have been part of the structure of the koi business. It really is a different reality compared to just a decade ago.

  2. #2
    Sansai
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    The impact of the internet on the koi business was highlighted this week by a promotion being circulated by Devin Swanson of Koi Acres. There have always been grow-outs where a group gets some tosai and talk about bringing them back together in a year to compare and see how the koi have grown. These were usually organized by a club working with a dealer to get a group of siblings from a particular breeder, often promoted as a way to learn about how that breeder's fish develop. Sometimes the grow-out would be organized by a dealer for the dealer's customers. Participation in these has been primarily local by necessity. In recent years, some koi boards have sponsored grow-outs, expanding participation to an entire country (or the entire EU in some instances), limited only by the breeder/dealer's ability to ship safely. There is a grow-out occurring now, organized by Appliance Guy through another board, in which participation is geographically broad, with the idea that he will bring the koi to the Central Florida Koi Show in March for pick-up by those attending. All of these incremental expansions of the grow-out experience have led to a truly international scope with what Devin is doing.

    Tani Koi, the huge Japanese dealer and trans-shipper, has arranged for 200 Isa Showa tosai to be available for selection. These will be kept in Japan and then entered in a show in March. (I presume a 'show' of just these koi.) Dealers outside Japan who work with Tani, like Devin, can have their customers participate. After the 'show', the fish will be shipped to the coordinating dealer for delivery to their customers. So, sitting in Florida, I can check out photos of the tosai, make a selection, and have the fish entered in a show, perhaps win a prize and eventually get the fish. There is also a sort of lottery involved. The first place Showa will win a prize of ¥ 500,000, second place wins ¥ 300,000 and third place wins ¥ 200,000. (That's 10% of the gross revenue going into prizes, if all 200 are sold.) That should appeal to the Asian hobbyists accustomed to prizes of real value being given at shows. It is an internationalization of the grow-out made possible only by the convenience of the internet. And, it is quite a business move... for Isa, for Tani and for dealers Tani allows to participate. It's not cheap. Each Koi has a set price of ¥ 50,000, plus there will be shipping and handling costs. (No keeping fee or show entry fee.) Selling 200 tosai in an approximate $90,000 (net of prizes) deal is good business. The participant gets to be part of an international experience. Like all grow-outs, the chances are a lot of folks will end up with koi they do not want... some will turn out male, some will fail, some will prove to be bargains. That's the gamble of tosai.

    I do not know if I'll participate. Perhaps some tosai Showa's photo strikes my fancy. Perhaps not. But, I can appreciate that such an event, like the breeder auctions promoted through the internet, eliminates or lowers barriers that have been part of the structure of the koi business. It really is a different reality compared to just a decade ago.

    I am trying to remember how long ago it was that I was in my first grow-out, and we had the koi delivered to CFKS by Kevin Pham and Brady also had some involved at that time as well, the number escape me know, but would have been near or over 100 pieces I think all together. Kohaku and Showa, the Kohaku imports from Japan and the Showa were domestic from Brady. And one of the Kohaku from the group won the Baby Grand that year. That would have been 7-9 maybe 10 years ago. Am to old to remember. lol....

    That being said, my theory on growouts has not changed. In that growout mentioned above, we did purchase 2 kohaku (Momotaro, grandchildren of the mighty Eagle, tosai not making that last cut, that were not good enough to go back in until the next year). I found out the true meaning of "Tosai not making that last cut, that were not good enough to go back in until next year" really means.....I bought 2 culls...And I also now that the Japanese are very good at culling....

    But what I did learn was one thing with regard to tosai growouts....

    To the best of my knowledge, all of the kohaku all went south....some faster than others, but all eventually went within 3 years (of my pair, 1 went in 1 year and the second within 2)

    The domestics from Brady faired a lot better, as I recall more than half faired well.

    So my conclusion, solely based on my own expericence, that being for grow-outs you get "more bang for your buck" having a domestic growout, than imports...,

    And if you are going to be in a growout, make sure you are there in person, to pick/select your koi in person, do not allow someone else to do it for you and do not get involved in random, luck of the draw numbers...

    But just my own personal opinion, others swear by them, others enjoy them, and that is all that matters....if you can have fun and learn while doing it, it does not matter what anyone else thinks.....


  3. #3
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Yes, grow-outs are more about the fun than getting a jewel. That's not to say some worthy koi will not come out of it, but that one's chances are much better with nisai.... and better still with sansai. Picking for the competition in March necessarily involves selection of early finishing koi, rather than one with longer term prospects. Of the grow-out tosai I've gotten over the years, the one that 'won' as tosai was a Showa that became a male Shiro Utsuri within a few months. My luck has been best with tosai that the breeder did not keep because they missed the size cut-off for a second year in the mud. They did not have the potential to become large, but the percentage of females proved to be higher and some developed very nicely, albeit maxing out at around 60cm (24 inches). Still, it was fun. I find that my enjoyment of the pond on a day-to-day basis has much more to do with raising up tosai, having them amaze or disappoint with their growth, than keeping/'grooming' the bigger gals. ....sort of like puppies and kittens. They're just not as much fun when they grow up, even if they become part of the family.

    ....It would be neat if for this international grow-out there was a special website where folks around the world could post progress photos and commentary. That would add to the sense of being connected across the continents.
    Last edited by MikeM; 12-19-2014 at 06:49 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Jumbo sacicu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    The impact of the internet on the koi business was highlighted this week by a promotion being circulated by Devin Swanson of Koi Acres. There have always been grow-outs where a group gets some tosai and talk about bringing them back together in a year to compare and see how the koi have grown. These were usually organized by a club working with a dealer to get a group of siblings from a particular breeder, often promoted as a way to learn about how that breeder's fish develop. Sometimes the grow-out would be organized by a dealer for the dealer's customers. Participation in these has been primarily local by necessity. In recent years, some koi boards have sponsored grow-outs, expanding participation to an entire country (or the entire EU in some instances), limited only by the breeder/dealer's ability to ship safely. There is a grow-out occurring now, organized by Appliance Guy through another board, in which participation is geographically broad, with the idea that he will bring the koi to the Central Florida Koi Show in March for pick-up by those attending. All of these incremental expansions of the grow-out experience have led to a truly international scope with what Devin is doing.

    Tani Koi, the huge Japanese dealer and trans-shipper, has arranged for 200 Isa Showa tosai to be available for selection. These will be kept in Japan and then entered in a show in March. (I presume a 'show' of just these koi.) Dealers outside Japan who work with Tani, like Devin, can have their customers participate. After the 'show', the fish will be shipped to the coordinating dealer for delivery to their customers. So, sitting in Florida, I can check out photos of the tosai, make a selection, and have the fish entered in a show, perhaps win a prize and eventually get the fish. There is also a sort of lottery involved. The first place Showa will win a prize of ¥ 500,000, second place wins ¥ 300,000 and third place wins ¥ 200,000. (That's 10% of the gross revenue going into prizes, if all 200 are sold.) That should appeal to the Asian hobbyists accustomed to prizes of real value being given at shows. It is an internationalization of the grow-out made possible only by the convenience of the internet. And, it is quite a business move... for Isa, for Tani and for dealers Tani allows to participate. It's not cheap. Each Koi has a set price of ¥ 50,000, plus there will be shipping and handling costs. (No keeping fee or show entry fee.) Selling 200 tosai in an approximate $90,000 (net of prizes) deal is good business. The participant gets to be part of an international experience. Like all grow-outs, the chances are a lot of folks will end up with koi they do not want... some will turn out male, some will fail, some will prove to be bargains. That's the gamble of tosai.

    I do not know if I'll participate. Perhaps some tosai Showa's photo strikes my fancy. Perhaps not. But, I can appreciate that such an event, like the breeder auctions promoted through the internet, eliminates or lowers barriers that have been part of the structure of the koi business. It really is a different reality compared to just a decade ago.
    At 50,000 Yen for the price of an entry, I would assume 98% would be male. Of the 2% females all would not be worth keep8ng after the 3rd year. Of the 98% male, I would think 10 to 30% would have good enough quality for those looking for males in their pond. If you will just look at pictures instead of going to the farm and pick for yourself I believe you will have a big disadvantage as you will not see then the luster in comparison to thr rest of thr gtowouts, the evenness and quality of the beni, the quality of the sumi, the body frame in relation to other entries. What you will be just relying will be the pattern (which would probably been reserved by long time Tani customers in Japan first). Probably the best you can do is to have your trusted dealer pick for you the best looking male finished showa among the batch and assure your dealer a percentage of the prize money in case you win and if you only collect female, your dealer would be able to sell the koi for you as such you dont end up loosing 50k yen.

    There can be many variations of growout and many would be an interesting and educational tool for hobbyist to learn from each other the bloodline of a particular breeder at a certain price points. By comparing a few months to one year of development gives at least a small time frame how other hobbyist take care of their koi as well. Over the years, I have joined growouts where I needed to choose the best looking 100$ male up to tategoi growouts of guaranteed High quality special femalr tosai priced as high as $3500 a tosai. While growing and future keeping objectives are different in the kind of growout, all benefit from the growth of the hobby.

  5. #5
    Jumbo Appliance Guy's Avatar
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    I started a thread on my current Kohaku GO. I had a mini GO by myself this year- I received 25 Purdin Goshiki at a really ubsurd price back in March. I grew them til late October, pulling them every six weeks or so for pics and to inspect them closely. It was a great experience. I found that out of a single female Goshiki, there were two distinct 'types' that I labeled as hard and soft beni types. I presume these were the different males. While initially looking all the same, it was over time that I began to see the differences. The soft beni type also had a smaller body style than the hard beni type. Of the 25 I had, I think two went full muji, and maybe two or three had breaking beni to different degrees. Interestingly all of the breaking up or muji koi were of the hard beni type. BUT, the hard beni also had the best skin and superior body. I found the soft beni type to lackluster and flat skin. I also did not care for the bodyline, nor size of the soft beni style. In the end, the harder beni was more of a gamble, but was also more reward. I ended up keeping one of each beni type. The harder beni is the one in my avatar. It has excelled and is growing gangbuster- having caught up to gosanke that are a year elder! What it will become is yet to be seen, but I feel it has potential to some degree and has earned a couple years in the main pond. The soft beni one I kept is not keeping pace with the other, although it is likely a male. I am keeping it only to study the beni, otherwise the skin is really flat and lacks luster. I will likely be rehomed next year at some point. I sold two koi to a local fella and had the opportunity to see them a couple weeks ago. He actually got one that I was very interested in, but determined that I liked the one I kept better. He also got one of the two tanchos, and it was looking good too. Of the two tanchos, on had thicker beni and better body. I also rehomed some to another local ponder and Meg took a couple, Larkin took a couple and Sandy took a couple. I recovered the cost on the only two I sold and gave the rest awy for free. I am hoping to compare in the future. I think this will give a good idea as to variance in husbandry and food.

    What I like about my little experiments is that I get to see a group, not just a single koi or two. Having a group allows me to see the subtle changes and compare against each other. In this Goshiki GO, I changed my mind several times as to which was the best future koi. In the end, I did not keep my intial three selections. This is interesting because what if I had kept only those three? What would I have learned? But instead, my lesson learned is that the koi that is the most promising that day is not necessarily the most promising the next day. The sleeper koi are out there, you just have to have enough to know which one is the sleeper and not let it go early. Tis the game of koi selection- finding the koi that promises a better future, but at today's price.
    Tora Bora likes this.
    Tim

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