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Lab Journal... Tissue Culture Startup

Discussion in 'Journals' started by adkaqua, May 25, 2018.

  1. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    Tldr: this is going slow. I got laid off from work. So this is now back burner by a lot. On 90d paid non working time rn, then I'm out of income. This was nowhere near being profitable, let alone at a level to replace my full time job. Hopefully wherever we end up having to move to we can afford a 2br place that I can continue this work or it is done. Only place that's called me back so far it in Manhattan. And even out on Long island over an hour and a half commute from them, a 1br is almost 2x what our 2br costs. And is still unaffordable even matching what I made hourly in upstate.

    No idea where things will be in a month. If this is done, or if it'll survive. All depends on where and when I can get a job.

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  2. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    Sorry to hear such bad news. :(

    I've quietly been following along and very interested in your progress.
    Hope this all works out so that you may continue.
     
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  3. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Lifetime Member
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    Sorry to hear that too, and I hope it works out okay for you.
     
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  4. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    Thanks. Our families are trying to help find something at least close in pay that'll keep us somewhat close to home. I can move lab into my mother's former commercial bakery, and downsize our apartment if I can find something within a few bucks an hour up here. They were the best paying employer by a long shot. So that's not gonna be easy. But, it's a possibility. If we move out of the area and can't afford a place with room to continue on the work, it will be dead. So I'm not being picky with what sector the job is in (aside from medical restrictions, i have narcolepsy and bulging disc/spinal stenosis, so manual labor and heavy equipment is out, hah). Goal is to stay local, relocate lab to the former bakery, and move forward.

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  5. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    We could take up to maybe 10k a year pay cut and still make ends meet. Would be tight AF. But we could do it. Our student loans are on income based plans so they'd readjust. We need to maintain good medical benefits though. IDC about retirement. Medical benefits will make or break any job offer I get.

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  6. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    Hi everyone. Just an update. Little one.

    Still looking for work. Still getting paychecks through end Nov as part of severance package. Have used all this free time to not only apply for work (400+ applications), but have also kept working on this.

    AR mini is selling. Got about 45 containers in the first round that are ready to go. Staggering them so I don't have a massive stock that I can't sell and then die in containers on me so they're small batches. Laganendra meeboldi red is about 2mos out. As is Micranthemum umbrosum (giant baby tears) and possibly a limited run of crypto spiralis 'tiger'. I've just ordered some stuff to make steralizing new plants easier, effective, and less lethal to them that will hopefully help me get some new stuff in to culture. (Specifically an iguazu 2009 sword that is just begging me to try it once my new supplies come in next Friday)

    If we have to move then I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Right now I have this and I'm still moving forward. Gotta head out to I can get an order in the mail to Chicago though before USPS closes.

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    #66 adkaqua, Oct 20, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
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  7. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    Still no job. One interview. Hundreds of applications. So. Ignoring that bit.


    Have made my first sales. Facebook and discord channels that I'm in for a few. And an aquarium store bought 20 containers. Shipping tomorrow actually. Not enough to be sustainable, hah, but it's exciting none the less. Finally caved and bought a label printer. I'll need to eventually get upc codes registered, and get actual proper packaging, but for now my new Dymo will do the trick. Slowly slowly moving forward. Testing out my new peroxide to steralize plants. I think I ran a little strong for the flame moss, that might all be dead again, hah. But the laganendra seems to have cleaned up nicely. Jury is out on the Cryptocoryne I tested. I'm going to have to find the concentration and time that works best for each type of plant. I'm using the limited publicly available research journals, seeing what they did for whatever aquatic plant they were using in each given paper. It'll take some tweaking but I'll get it. It's all part of establishing plants; you need to figure how best to steralize them without killing them. That's why I'm testing flame moss, and not iguazu 2009, hah.

    But it's still a thing. Still slowly moving in the right direction. I also finally bought a proper notebook to be making drawings of design and plans for all these tanks I keep coming up with in my mind and jotting down. Hoping to start work on the first one in the coming months. That all relies on me getting a job. We'll see. Not giving up yet :)[​IMG]

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  8. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Lifetime Member
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    Looking good, and it's great to see you still moving in the right direction. I hope work comes your way soon.
     
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  9. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    So cool news. Sort of. I have a job! Hah. I'm back with my former/current employer, the ones that let me go. I start back there the week after next in a new role. 2 days before my employment would have formally ended. I'm not very optimistic about long term stability there, BUT this gives me the financial security to continue moving forward as planned, to not have to move out of our apartment, to just keep on like nothing happened and I just got a 3mo vacation. Hopefully it'll last until I can grow this large enough to replace that job.


    M. umbrosum is moving into multiplication medium now that I'm finally satisfied that it is fully established and sterile. So it looks like giant baby tears will be #2 in my species list. Killed all the flame moss. Too much peroxide apparently. Hah. Will have to order more and try again. Christmas moss did not fare well either. Luckily I have that growing in my own tanks to try again for free. I regretfully had to just drop another chunk of change on a replacement heating element for my tool steralizer. I bought it used on eBay. When it came in, the ceramic was already old, breaking apart. Pieces falling out. It lasted me a few months of regular use, and considering I bought it for like 90% off face value, I can't complain. Luckily it still works on low. That just means it takes longer to heat up, and to actually steralize. It won't run on high at all. I don't know how much more life it has in it. Hopefully the new one comes soon and this element keeps running until it arrives. Kinda wish I'd splurged on a bead steralizer now, but oh well.

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  10. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Lifetime Member
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    That's great news. And good to hear you've at least got some breathing space to grow the tissue culture business.
     
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  11. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    Indeed. Once I made it through the typical "overly excited startup phase" with overly ambitious timelines and work loads for a sole venture, it started to move forward and then my main income got cut off. Now I can continue to introduce new plants, grow my inventory, and work towards a level of consistent sales at a responsible and reasonable rate.

    Plus I am still looking for a better employer to move to still. So who knows, in a few weeks I might be able to move to a better position that would be even more conducive to growing my business.

    It's not the best situation, but it's the best I can get right now so that's the upside. I still have friends that got laid off at the same time who still haven't found work. So I am relieved I was able to.

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  12. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    So. First week almost done... It's a pretty cool gig.

    I'm working maintaining the largest RODI system I've ever seen. It'll handle about 1.5-2m gallons per day. There's half a dozen activated carbon filters in it... With 10k lbs of carbon in each one. The inlet and outlet lines for the RODI racks are 4". Our UV system? Is thousands of watts. Banks of Chambers with 40x 4' bulbs in them. Numerous Multimedia and polishing Chambers with 35k gal capacity, resin beds that are the same size. Its pretty crazy. Here is am used to working on a system for less than a hundred gallons of water total volume recirculating at home. Now I'm dealing with 6k gal per minute. And then treating the crazy waste streams that come out of the facility at the same volume. It's pretty wild (and giving me ideas for better filtration on my tank project I'm also drafting up currently haha).


    Could have found a far worse position, that's for sure. at least this is enjoyable while I continue to move forward with my own work.

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  13. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    Oh. Yeah. No ceramic heating element yet. So... So much for 2d shipping. Kinda on hold till it comes in. I really should have bought the darn alcohol lamp.

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  14. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    These past few months have been up and down. But I've slowly moved forward day by day.


    In the last month I have gone from 2 species to 13 solidly established and multiplying. I have 2 others that are fighting to hang in while I clean them up (Iguazu 2009, and Elatine hydropiper). I've also killed 3x Cryptocoryne x timahensis... So that's not so great. But the fact that the rest of my plants are doing so well makes up for it.

    I'm going to be moving my lab in the spring into my mother's old commercial bakery that she retired from and closed. It has far more space that I need, a 50 amp breaker vs the 15 amp breaker I'm working off of right now. And it makes room for the nursery (assuming we're still living here in October when the baby is due). Very exciting to be looking forward to not only winter being over, but moving into a drastically more appropriate work space. I'll be able to set up my barnstead still to make water (grade 2 water distillation, that automatically runs and fills the ~20 gallon glass carboy... So no more hooking my little RO system up to the kitchen sink to make 2.5 gallons at a time). I'll have the electric to run both my 14qt pressure cookers at once to make 7 liters of media at a time. I'll be able to have room to set up a full rack for each species, rather than one shelf for each, which will allow me to maintain not only more of my large multiplication containers but also produce far more sale size cups to support wholesale operations.

    That is the direction I decided to go with this all. I don't have the time, experience, or desire to develop ads, place ads, drive sales, maintain a website + online store, do customer service, handle people who want refunds because they ordered something and then were gone for the weekend it arrived and it baked/froze on their porch and they want their money back. No... I don't ever want to go back to customer service. I'll keep the stuff up on ebag and Amazon for now. But my plan is to focus on wholesale operations. Find a few (my goal for 2019 is 4 or 5) customers buying a decent quantity of plants from me each month. Websites, brick and mortar stores... Work directly with business people rather than the general public. Sell to the people who already have the whole customer service end of it down, rather than trying to compete for market share with no experience.


    Things are finally clicking into place.

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  15. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    So I have to be up for my day job in about 5 hours. So not gonna be much typing

    Things continue to do well. Very very well actually. Most of my plants are right on track. My Iguazu 2009 and Cryptocoryne x timahensis are both recovering well. Not gonna be ready super soon, but they are alive and contamination free too. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  16. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    Another quick update and then bed.

    Things are going along well. I'm waiting on samples of my new cups to come in. Found a new supplier. Going to be getting 2000 of them if they're as good as they look online.

    23 species. Should be looking to fill wholesale orders in 4 to 6 weeks. B2B only. 4 stores in NY, a few websites, a a few stores in other states so far.

    If I can hit 2k cups per month I'll be quitting my job and going full time with this.


    Also going to be moving my lab in a month or so, since if we can't move I'll be needing the room it's all in right now for a nursery. Expecting our little girl in October.


    So very close to making this into a reality I can feel it at my fingertips. Now I just need to get the customers to support that kinda volume. [​IMG]

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  17. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Lifetime Member
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    It's fantastic that it's all working out for you. Your plants look super healthy, and I hope you secure enough orders to make it your full time occupation :)
     
  18. adkaqua

    adkaqua Member

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    A year ago this week I was on an ordering spree with all the cash I borrowed from my 401k to make my dream of owning my own legitimate lab business become a reality.

    This week I'm hoping to get the samples of the containers I'll use to start doing wholesale orders, very close to pulling this off. 36 species of plants thriving.[​IMG]

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