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Thread: "Doom and Gloom"

  1. #1
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    Default "Doom and Gloom"

    It seems like lately people have been freely tossing about terms like "market crash", "downward spiral", "feeder species", etc... It really creates an impression of a very troubled market.

    For anyone who's been around the hobby for a couple of years or more, it's really nothing new. Take a few deep breaths and relax a little. This is a time of the year when the market gets saturated because the breeding season for most is over and unfortunately, many are finding themselves overloaded with babies.

    As others have said, overproduction of this species is a problem, and many should be more selective as to what they breed and how many animals they produce. People often jump into breeding a little too fast. I'm not saying that newcomers to the hobby shouldn't be breeding crested geckos, because it's an awesome experience and part of the appeal of keeping geckos. But, you can gain experience breeding 1 or 2 geckos rather than 5 or 6 or more.

    I've been breeding geckos for quite a few years now, and I bred 4 females this past season. I believe that's the most I've ever bred. Most years I've only bred 2 - 3 of my best. I've sold some animals that probably should have been holdbacks, but that would mean expanding my breeding groups, which I'm really not interested in doing. Of course, I breed quite a number of other species as well, which is a big part of why I try to keep my groups small.

    I sell out fairly quickly each year, and I've sometimes wondered if I should be producing more, but I'd much rather sell out quickly than be sitting on a bunch of babies I can't sell.

    Yes, the market is evolving, and it goes through cycles. It has before and it will again. Yes, it's a prolific species that is ultra easy to breed, and overproduction will continue to put pressure on the market. It's actually rather surprising to me that they have held their value as well as they have. I also produce other species of geckos that are much more difficult to breed, and yet they often sell for less than many of my crested geckos. Does this mean crested geckos are "overvalued" or does it mean these other species are "undervalued"? Ultimately it all boils down to supply and demand. Anyone who intends to breed geckos or sell anything else for that matter, better have a good understanding of those 3 words... "supply and demand". I think the reason the crested market has held up as well as it has is because the "demand" part of the equation is strong. We all know the appeal of this species and the low maintenance care requirements. It took a whole lot of overproduction to outstrip the demand.

    Some recent posts are creating an impression of "The Great Crested Gecko Crash of 2010!". I'm simply saying that this is nothing new, and if you look back over several years of posts, you will find similar concerns, and it often occurs at this time of the year. If people panic and start selling off their animals at cut rate prices, it pushes the market down even further.

    I'm actually encouraged to see quite a number of breeders who have trimmed back their collections to focus on specific traits. This is what I think we need more of. If you love dalmations... focus your attention on producing a limited number of the best dalmations out there. If you love Halloweens, focus your attention on producing those. Find your niche and try to do it well, focusing on quality rather than quantity, and you will be able to move your animals.

    OK... off my soapbox now.

    Gary
    Gary Hamann
    Ridge and Valley Reptiles


    www.ridgeandvalleyreptiles.com

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    These threads that you speak of have been bringing back some serious nostalgia.

    I used to keep ball pythons. Back in.. I think 2007? The market crashed for pastels (from being a 900$ animal to a 250$ animal). And the forums were filled with speculations about ball pythons, were they going to bring in a ROI (return of investment), would little breeders make it, people who wanted prices lower, people who wanted them higher. It was just nuts. And it came up almost every other day, two threads at least to a page.

    And ball pythons are still selling today. Maybe not so much for pastels, but other than make 'pretty normals' or bees, they can't mix as well as other recessive morphs. I think its pretty awesome to see people with morphs that just a few years ago were 1,000$+.
    I haven't been in the loop with ball pythons for a while now, but a steady constant I heard over and over was eventually you can get your ROI on your breeders- that may mean you only make 25$/baby instead of 500$/baby, but if you hang in there and provide quality animals chances are people will notice.

    I think the same goes for cresteds. I think there will always be a market for them. There will always be people that want to jump into a hobby to mass produce animals because they think it is cheap and easy. They'll burn out. There will always be people that just jump in and throw two what evers together and then wonder why no one wants them.

    That's a big difference between the ball python and crested gecko community. Anyone can throw a few albinos together and get albino babies. You can't always throw two red geckos together and get two reds.

    It will be harder to sell generic little olive flames unless you happen to find someone who loves them or tap into a pet-quality vein like a pet store. But if you save and put your money into some animals that are not only high-end, but what you like best, you'll probably see a return on your investment some day. There's nothing wrong with wanting to make a profit- but you can't cut corners in this particular hobby (not that you ever should with any other animal). Just getting babies isn't going to get you the profit.

    Hope I didn't hijack your thread, but it was very well put. I find it amusing that I've gotten into another reptile hobby about the time the 'market crashes'. Interesting though, that it apparently happens into the off season each year. I guess it happens in any 'animal hobby'. Except rat and mouse people. Those people get scary though.
    Last edited by StellarAwesome; 11-23-2010 at 11:04 AM. Reason: I write weird sometimes. Sentence check

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    Well-stated, Gary. My take on the crested market is that it is going the way of the bearded dragon and leopard gecko market. Both are going strong because of the nature of the animals, and both have seen a decline in pricing due to the ease of breeding.... but the specialty morphs still command dollars.

    To me, working expos and not importing animals to flip, I worry more about having enough critters at a show... nothing burns me like having a ton of diet and a handful of deli cups. I also must meet the needs of the pet-seekers (lower price) as well as the breeders looking for specific morphs and traits. My focus is on cresteds, chahoua and aurics and I have already begun streamlining my crested breeding groups to focus on stuff that isn't over-saturated. I'll still have stuff to offer the folks who want a first crested for a lower price but if they decide to breed it down the road they won't be working with drab coloration.

    Gary is correct... the sky is NOT falling... just the normal ebb and flow of the hobby.

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    Almost all species of reptile who are half as prolific as cresteds follow similar cyclicality in their respective markets. Bottom line is outstanding animals will sell, the new "it" thing will sell, and people need to realize that just because their bald buckskin cresty can lay eggs...doesn't necessarily mean it should.

    Thanks for this thread. Most helpful of all this market rhetoric posted as of late.
    Rosario's Reptiles: Project Creamy Things...target 2012 season
    3.8 Ciliatus, 1.2 Guttata, and 1.2 Felis Catus.

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    I'm intentionally bumping this post up because more people need to read it. So do so, tell two friends, have them tell two friends, etc etc etc.

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    I agree with you Mike, I have been saying for a long time, cresteds will end up like leos and beardies, the lower end spectrum animals, which make fantastic pets will sell for lower of course, but there will always be people looking for higher end animals. The only bonus for the leos and beardies (mostly leos though), new morphs are still popping up here and there, pushing the value up on those morphs that can produce those, or known to produce new things. Thats the downfall of crested geckos, at this time (and who knows it may never happen) this is not happening with them.

    And those who worry most about a market crash are worried about the money they will make. The fact is that it can take several years before you can actually make a profit after you factor in the cost of the breeders, setups, supplies, food, ect. But for people who ae not in it for the money, this doesnt really matter to them. Some people do it just for the love of seeing new little faces, and watching them grow and change. Yes it sucks that some morphs that could sell for more years ago sell for less. But that is how the cookie crumbles, things loose value over time due to production, and quality of the product. This can be seen even in manufactured goods, items produced in china are much cheaper and mass produced and lack quality than when a small company takes the time to do it right, may resemble in many ways, but people who know quality will go for that over the mass production item. It can be seen in reptiles. Yes there will always be people looking to buy a $20 gecko buckskin gecko, but those people who can see quality in animal, and see the difference between the $20 buckskin, and say someone who was breeding crowned furred, or maybe a crowned phantom pin buckskin, they can see the reason for spending more money on that gecko, than the $20 buckskin with no fantastic qualities.

    My point? There will always be market for higher end animals, just like there will be a market for lower end animals, and if you want to see the higher end market thrive more, aim to produce these types.
    lets just say I have a lot of stuff
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    This is good to hear from breeders that have been in the hobby for many years. Some of us are relatively new (and have never bred and sold anything else before), and so have not been able to connect the dots.

    I have definitely learned a lot over the past two or so years. At first, I bought up anything I liked. I didn't aim to put together one specific project, but bought a harlequin here, a pinstripe there, a dalmation, etc. I guess I thought that I would eventually find mates for all of them. Just recently, really, I decided to try to sell off most of my original collection. It takes way too long to get a return on your investment when you work on so many things at once. It's better to commit to working on one project that you like the most, first, and then when you sell some of those babies, put that money into refining it to perfection and starting a new project. Besides, working with one project, at first, is a good way for you to see if you can even sell a small number of offspring. I feel good about having just been focusing on my extreme harleys, for now. I have decided that I will only purchase high end animals, and not everyone is willing to drop $500 on a gecko. Hopefully that puts me at the top of the competition and doesn't make me a fool. Either way, I don't regret it, because I'm having fun. I am going to go all out, because why do something halfway? That's just my philosophy, though. I'm also noticing that working with a smaller number of animals allows me to spend a little more personal time with each one, and appreciate each one that much more. It's much more rewarding to hatch out fewer, higher quality babies than an overabundance of pet quality ones. I know that I cannot wait to see Clara babies hatch out, next season.

    It's good to see a positive post. I have noticed a lot of people selling off their ENTIRE collections. I'm hoping that they are just panicking. Maybe some good will come from this in the form of people being pickier about what they will breed. I know that it has had that effect on me. New people may not be as quick to just jump into breeding, too. Maybe just throwing two random geckos together to see what will happen won't be as common as it was.

    Also, while I did go down on some of my prices a little bit in my ad, I barely went down at all on the two nicest geckos. If they won't sell for x amount of money right now, I will just hold onto them and sell them later. I will not disgrace them by pretty much giving them away. Another thing I have learned is that selling these guys does take patience. I bumped and reposted my ad a bunch of times and, while I did get some interest, no one ever sent me any money. Then, all of a sudden, I had sold five. You might get what you want out of something... you just have to be patient and stand your ground. It doesn't do the market any good to repeatedly lower your prices out of impatience and frustration.

    Sorry for all of the text :-(
    Currently working with R. ciliatus

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    Great advice, everyone!
    Specializing in Crested Geckos
    Working with Uromastyx | Uroplatus | PI Chahoua
    Also keeping: Australian Shepherds (Chester & Sadie)
    Moon Valley Reptiles | MVR @iherp | Facebook

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    Hello,
    I've been involved in the dog show world as well, and I think the same theories
    apply to dog breeding as well. Much of what goes on is ego based, and in some
    cases, the animals suffer for it.
    I think with any hobby or fancy, most people are in it for the love of whatever
    they are involved with. Those who are not, get into something for the ease of
    it, ego stroking, or to make money.
    With Crested Geckos as with any animal, learning about them and developing an
    eye for what is considered high quality ought to be prerequisite for anyone thinking
    about breeding.
    Not getting in over our heads, and truly being involved means setting aside the
    worry and anxiety of thinking in money based terms.
    Melissa N.

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    Swings and roundabouts, ebb and flow, I remember when I couldn't sell chewies for $275.. Just wasn't a demand for them.

    Limey
    www.royalreptilia.com
    More Fun Now!

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