Part 2 of 2
Due to the meticulous nature of koi keeping in Japan, it is imperative to generate strong relationships with the breeders, as they provide access to the highest-quality koi. In order to add Japanese imported koi sales as an element of your retail or pond contracting business, one of the first logistical steps would be to create a partnership with a koi dealer. While it is possible to import koi directly from Japan, working with a reputable koi dealer can offer several advantages that can help guarantee the best possible koi.
Choosing a Koi Dealer
By working with a koi dealer, you will be able to gain access to top breeders, as a good dealer should have established relationships with top koi breeders in Japan and can help you find the best quality koi available. In addition, a good koi dealer will carefully inspect the koi before purchase to ensure they are healthy and of the highest quality, while educating you along the way. This can help you avoid buying inferior fish that may not meet your customer’s expectations.
In addition, a koi dealer can assist and provide you with all the shipping and logistics information. Importing koi from Japan can be a complex and expensive process, and a dealer can help you navigate the logistics of transportation and customs to ensure your fish arrive safely and on time. A reputable koi dealer can also provide you with expert advice on all aspects of koi care, including water quality, feeding and maintenance. This can be especially helpful if you are new to including koi sales as part of your business.
Before creating a partnership, it is important to do your research. Consider looking for a dealer with a strong reputation in the koi community. You can ask for recommendations from other koi enthusiasts or search online for reviews and testimonials.
In this search, it is important to choose a dealer who has many years of experience in the koi industry. Building relationships with the breeders takes time, so it is important to select a dealer who frequently visits Japan and maintains great relationships with the breeders. Oftentimes, different breeders specialize in different varieties of koi; therefore, it is important to look for a dealer who offers you access to a wide variety of koi types and colors so you can find the perfect fish to match your preferences.
You will want to select a koi dealer that imports koi for their own business needs as well. This way, the dealer will ensure the koi are healthy, well fed and well cared for. A reputable dealer should also be happy to show you their facilities and answer any questions you may have. Finally, be sure to choose a dealer who is friendly, knowledgeable and willing to help you find the right koi for your needs.
A great koi dealer should invite you to Japan with them to see how the koi-buying process works. They should also assist you in hand-selecting koi for your customers. At Fitz’s Fish Ponds, we want our customers to join us on these koi-buying trips; however, if they cannot come, we have many ways to stay in contact with them while the team visits the breeders. We provide live video and photo updates for our customers so we can try and source exactly the right koi for them.
Throughout the course of a year at Fitz’s Fish Ponds, we run three trips to Japan, each with a different focus. These include the All Japan Koi Show (Jan/Feb), a spring buy trip (April/May) and finally, the most popular trip, the Fall Harvest (Oct/Nov). At the end of each trip, we work with the team at Shintaro Koi Farm to handle the shipping and logistics of getting all of the koi back to our farm facility in Milford, New Jersey.
We are able to support a strict quarantine process and house all the koi bought for our own business as well as for our customers. We then distribute and deliver to customers when the koi have acclimated and destressed from their travels.
After doing the Japan trips and importing koi for years now, we have it down to a science. We want to share this experience with any pond contractor who is interested and looking to add koi sales to their business. With their rich history, stunning colors and calming presence, Japanese koi are an investment that pond owners will enjoy for many years to come — and you can help facilitate it all!
About the Author
Brian Fitzsimmons is owner of Fitz’s Fish Ponds serving New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. He built his first pond at age 13 in his parent’s backyard. In 2008 he started Fitz’s Fish Ponds and now proudly operates a company of 50+ Team members. Fitz’s Fish Ponds designs, builds, and services ponds, water-falls and all other water features.