Renting Out A Watery Art Gallery
In the movie Finding Nemo, the young orange fish with white stripes who lives in the ocean with his dad ends up in a fish tank at a dentist’s office. The fish inside the tank try to maneuver a way for Nemo to get back to the ocean.
The world of the ocean and aquariums is something that Richard Xie is very familiar with in his company Hawaiian Sea Life.
Xie (pronounced like sea) has developed a new niche for his 10-year-old company.
He rents aquariums to professional offices, restaurants and homes.
He provides the fish, the equipment, and the service to maintain the tank.
Xie says he thinks of the aquariums as living art.
“It’s like an art gallery,” notes Xie. “Instead of changing the art, we change the fish in the tanks every so often so there’s something new to look at.”
The company brochure offers several packages for customers to choose from. To help customers learn more about the fish, reading materials on them are also provided. One of the packages even offers a feng shui consultation.
Using the firm’s services, it costs customers less up front investment to start enjoying an aquarium than it would if they had to buy everything themselves.
“I like fish,” says Xie.
After the China native earned his masters in business at HPU, Xie worked as a marketing manager before starting his company that specializes in importing and exporting fish to 34 states and 27 countries. The company initiated developments in fish tank design and filters. Xie notes that the fish industry is a $5 billion dollar industry in the United States, and $10 billion worldwide.
There are eight people working with the company which does most of its marketing through direct sales.
With all this expertise about fish, he’s not only concerned about showing off the fish but also about how the fish are doing in the environment in terms of conservation efforts, and also breeding fish.
Xie tried to work with local agencies in Hawaii to see if there are any possibilities for funding technology grants for research.
“We have to do it ourselves,” explains Xie. “So I went overseas, and in China the scientists were able to cooperate and find some technical breakthrough technology.”
Future goals for the company include reaching more customers, and someday franchising the concept.
“We hope that my children and grandchildren can see the fish,” says Xie. “We can make a little bit of difference.”
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