The JKR Manifesto – Part 1 – The market is ALIVE!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately… those who know me well know that’s not unusual. I love Ball Pythons and I love this business and its hard for me to watch the stuff that goes on without weighing in on it. There’s just no good way to do so on social media and lets face it, it’s the internet and everything turns into a fight.

So I’m going a different route. I’m writing a manifesto, this is what I believe about our industry (specifically BPs) and even more importantly, this is how I operate my business. JKR was founded with a certain set of principles. I did not have the perspective then that I have now, but my understanding of how the industry is and how it should be gets clearer every year.

This article will be six parts long and I’ll release each part separately, then combine into a whole.

My goal is not to denigrate what others do. That’s for you to decide. If you agree with what I write, I invite you to come along with me and create something special for all of us. If you don’t yet know what to think, I hope this inspires you. If you think I’m wrong, I hope its an entertaining read.

Part 1: The market is ALIVE! (Below)
Part 2: Creating Competitive Customers
Part 3: Building a REAL Audience
Part 4: Selling with Integrity
Part 5:
Part 6:

If you’re plugged in on Facebook, you likely see the almost weekly “market is dead” posts. (Usually FB comments actually because the people don’t have enough facts to put their thoughts into more than a couple sentences. Its more a sentiment.) I also get asked a lot if its still possible to “break into” the Ball Python industry.

Mostly I stay away from these topics because many would see my comments as self-serving and in the end, no amount of words will fix the reality these guys are feeling.

The truth is that the Ball Python is is quickly becoming a mature market. That means the wild west days of crazy numbers and limitless opportunity is mostly over… and that’s not a bad thing. It couldn’t possibly last forever.

12108759_10153291978817239_3091923511885457716_nAn emerging market is where all the opportunity is, that’s true in EVERY industry. Whoever is in the earliest to the market creates and supplies the people and businesses who get swept up in the trend. The pioneers also have the opportunity to capitalize big time as demand grows exponentially faster than supply. With Ball Pythons it was a free-for-all of sorts. Almost everybody who could breed a Ball Python could sell that Ball Python, regardless of how inept the seller was or how subtle the morph or how bad the combo looked.

I wasn’t one of those earliest guys. I was their customer. When I invested 12 years ago many people where saying “the markets about to crash, don’t do it”, and I’ve heard that every year since then as well. Sure the market has changed, demand has gone down at times, but it has gone up as well. That’s what markets do. There may even be a “crash” at some point, (a market correction and a fantastic opportunity) but one thing that will not go away is people loving and collecting Ball Pythons. This is not a fluke, people love these beautiful animals for reasons that have nothing to do with the “market”.

CG_GeneX_PiedThe Ball Python industry is now a more mature market, with well established players who control marketshare. There are millions of dollars being spent in the US and all over the world on Ball Pythons both among breeders and in the retail arm. If you build a great business you can have a part of  the market and be a force for growth as well. But you will have to do something different. Do something better. Don’t think you can take someone’s established projects and customers away from them doing the exact same thing they are doing. You will need to have better looking snakes, better customer care, better advertising, you name it. Apple was a dying company desperately trying to steal marketshare from Microsoft before they decided to go their own way and turned out hits with the iPod and iPhone.

Market demand is still growing, but we have breeders who are not changing with the market.

  • They think they can still produce hundreds or thousands of low-demand animals with no sales contracts, no marketing or customer service.
  • They think they can make a $5k snake that looks worse than a $500 snake and people will still line up to buy it.
  • They think they can create a subtle new morph and sell it for big bucks without marketing and working to create genuine value.
  • They think they are big enough to screw individual customers in big and small ways because they have an army of fans that will defend them.

These are the same people who complain that the market is dead.

2014-12-21 10.23.05Its much easier to fail now than it was 12 years ago. That’s what a mature market means. There is still a ton of opportunity – the money is being spent, but others are getting it. They are doing something right. If you’re serious about Ball Pythons as a business, what will you do right? What will you do better? Most importantly, what will you do differently?

For those who dare to do things the right way, forge their own path, and run a business with integrity, Ball Python market is ALIVE!

I will hit many of the above points in more detail in upcoming sections – Part 2 coming soon

9 thoughts on “The JKR Manifesto – Part 1 – The market is ALIVE!

  1. Justin I think the market for ball pythons has been and will always be one for perspective. I mean if a person produces a combo / new morph that he/she desires in their collection is the first step. Second step if someone else is interested in having something that the person has produced and agrees that the price the said animal is offered for sale at (or negotiations fora price agreed by both people) then the market is alive, if the same person produces a clutch that he / she has done just for sale, and no one is interested at the time it’s offered for sale – it’s either more money than others value the animals at. Or the potential customers have the morph / combo already and do not require them – which does not mean the market is dead either just the person produced morphs/ combos that are saturated in the current market. Thus people to be able to read a changing market to carry on producing what will be required to improve their own collection and allow the surplus to be sold by demand.

  2. Congratulations, Justin. I think your business history has shown that you have progressively revealed that this Business is not just a “Business”. It is the fruitage of a personal passion for more than income, but rather a desire to create and share something creatively unique with others who appreciate the unique in the world of nature. This is one of the fundamental characteristics of any successful business whatever the venue– Art, Music, Building, Medicine, whatever career. Keep up the growing. God bless. Grandpa H.

  3. Pingback: The JKR Manifesto – Part 2 – Creating Competitive Customers | The Ball Street Journal

  4. Hi Justin, I’ve been in the hobby now for about 4 years and I’ve always appreciated your online post. Its been quite enlightening especially for me who is just getting into bp’s. Thanks and I hope to get some bp’s from you soon.

    Neil from the Philippines.

  5. Pingback: The JKR Manifesto – Part 3 – Creating a REAL audience | The Ball Street Journal

  6. Pingback: The JKR Manifesto – Part 3 – Creating a REAL audience | The Ball Street Journal

  7. Pingback: The JKR Manifesto – Part 4 – Selling with Integrity | The Ball Street Journal

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