David Wolff, of Ocean Habitats Inc. is making entrepreneurship and product launching look easy. There are so many elements to a successful launch, and I want to use their most recent launch as a guideline to show how, when you solve a problem and remove big barriers, the marketplace is much more accepting.
Say Hello to the Mini Reef
The team at Ocean Habitats has developed an artificial habitat system, called a "Mini Reef" that establishes an ecosystem of aquatic life under boat docks. Their mini reef mimics mother nature and the environment that is normally found in the prop root system of mangrove trees. The initial phase of this launch was as a nonprofit push to help restore some of the natural environment that was wiped out in the 50's and 60's from large scale coastal development. In conjunction with the City of Marco in 2016, 25 mini reefs were installed on a test canal (hello market proof) and the results were stunning.
Each of the mini reefs develops its own ecosystem by initiating a process that is conducive to the marine life. First, small shrimp and baby fish use the structure as a safe place to avoid predators, which encourages other residents to drop in. Over 150 different kinds of filter feeders, like oysters and sea squirts, grow on the mini reef, and spend their days eating the green plankton out of the water passing by. Here's a few other fun facts for you:
A fully developed mini reef can clean the plankton out of 30,000 gallons of seawater, on average.
Currently, all of the mini reefs installed are filtering over 3.1 million gallons of water every single day.
The waste products from these filter feeders is a food source for small marine animals, which in turn are food for those same baby shrimp, crabs and fish which started using the mini reef for protection.
A mini food chain is set up which brings larger fish around a dock with a mini reef looking for a meal.
Over the course of a year, residents with these mini reefs report seeing young goliath groupers, barracuda, snapper and many more fish species visiting and sometimes taking up residence under their dock.
To date, over 50 types of fish have been seen in or around the mini reefs as well as blue and stone crabs.
So why am I sharing all of this data with you? Because the mini reef has turned out to be so effective, their for-profit arm is overpowering their non-profit arm: people want to buy the mini reef because it works.
Pricing in the Water
Another element of a successful launch has a lot to do with price points. When you understand your market, understand your numbers, and understand your margins, it's much easier to settle into a price point that works for both the creator and the consumer. The price point of the mini reefs allowed the initial project with Marco's City Council to move forward, and has allowed the mini reefs to stand alone as a viable for-profit product for consumers.
Multiple Selling Points
The mini reefs aren't a hard sell for another reason too. People who are socially conscious of the environment and marine life surrounding their property see the value outweighing the price, and love showing off their mini reef. Coming in at the right price, with high efficacy, strong partnerships, and a promise to rebuild what used to be there, creates multiple selling points for Wolff and Ocean Habitats. And there's even more believe it or not.
Wolff says the mini reefs are being manufactured in Florida, where Ocean Habitats is headquartered, and the material they've chosen are another smart launch point.
The lightweight habitats are made from fiberglass, PVC pipe, polypropylene rope and crab-trap floats and come in two sizes. The materials have a long lifespan, and make it easy for Wolff to maintain costs; both smart launch and selling points.
Giving mother nature a chance to do her thing, without maintenance, without technology; the solution is a simple one that allows consumers to invest in a cause they believe in, benefit from their purchase, and with minimal effort. When a client looks over their dock and sees species of fish they've never experienced in that location before, they're telling their neighbors and their friends. Expecting consumers to want to do good is not enough, but if you hit the points we've laid out, you're likely to see the same success Ocean Habitats has.