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KelpMax = Kelpak

“A rose is a rose is a rose”, but not all seaweed extracts are the same. However, KelpMax and Kelpak are one and the same. Let me explain.

More than a decade ago, when I was investigating natural plant growth stimulants, I “discovered” Kelpak and the tremendous amount of scientific data that backed up its efficacy. After several months of pestering the manufacturer in South Africa, they shared the contact info for their US distributor, who was kind enough to send me some samples.

Once I graduated from using my houseplants as “Guinea pigs”, and experimented on my precious orchids, I found Kelpak to be the most amazing horticultural product I had ever seen, and knew immediately that other orchid growers would like it too. I went back to the distributor and asked for wholesale pricing so I could begin retailing it. Unfortunately, the manufacturer did not want to retail Kelpak, so they refused to allow it.

After many, many more months of back and forth between the manufacturer, the distributor and me, they relented, under the stipulation that I rename the product for retail sales. An internet contest later, and “KelpMax” was born.

Since the beginning, I have purchased a pallet of 72, 2.5-gallon Kelpak jugs at a time, and now repackage it into 1-, 4-, and 10-liter KelpMax containers for sales. The first pallet lasted about 18 months. The next two or three pallets were sold in about a year, and then things started accelerating. We are currently selling our 4th pallet in the last 14 months, and all that repackaging is getting tiresome.

Logistics is also an issue – or the cost of it, at least – as the product goes by ocean from South Africa, through the panama Canal, then up to California, where it is warehoused. When I order a pallet, it must then be trucked from California to me in North Carolina.

I was working with the manufacturer with the goal of having them package the one-liter bottles for me, and during the discussion of labels, the global sales manager stated that “we would prefer that you sold Kelpak under our trade name.” So guess what?

Starting immediately, I will no longer be selling KelpMax in 10-liter jugs, but will sell it in the original, 2.5-gallon Kelpak jugs. The price will be adjusted downward in accordance to the reduced volume and the fact that I don’t have to buy packaging or labels. In the not-too-distant future, I will be getting 1-liter bottles of Kelpak directly to the east coast from South Africa, and I am hoping that will permit me to lower the cost of them, as well. Ultimately, I will only stock 1-liter bottles, but will offer multi-item discounts when several are ordered at one time.