We’re Audrey (u/onabeachinOz) and Rob (u/vandymarine). The husband-and-wife duo behind The Worm Bucket indoor worm composter kit. Three months ago, our pic hit the front page when Audrey quit her corporate job to launch our boot-strapped e-commerce business out of our garage.

Since that post we’ve sold more than 350 Worm Composter kits - ask us anything about taking the leap to start a small business, building a brand from scratch with no outside capital, worm composting, gardening, designing a unique product, filing a patent and trademarks, manufacturing overseas, e-commerce, working with your spouse, you name it – we’ll do our best to answer.

Proof: Here's my proof!

Comments: 240 • Responses: 50  • Date: 

twitchyeye84195 karma

Have you seen dumb and dumber?

VandyMarine93 karma

Lloyd Christmas was actually my father… I got worms.

i_got_worms3932 karma


VandyMarine21 karma

Got your t-shirt.

Hemagoblin57 karma

Interesting story! Alright, I’ll bite - why worms? Or rather, was there a particular reason you felt this would be a successful venture? And has it been more/less successful than the two of you anticipated?

VandyMarine104 karma

It has been an interesting couple of months - some days we feel like this thing is going to be huge! And others we find ourselves losing hundreds of dollars a day on Google ads, or getting kind of ripped off by freelancer for example… I will say we hoped to sell about 200 by the end of the summer and we sold 350. So from that perspective more successful than I thought, but also we are only selling 3-5 composters a day most days and well - I did keyword research that said we had 100,000+ monthly searches around worm composting… so I’ve been kind of surprised that it hasn’t grown faster but then I remind myself that I created a product that literally requires convincing someone to bring a bucket of worms in their house. 🙃♻️🪱

Hemagoblin21 karma

Thanks for the response! It sounds like it was almost meant to be! A very “organic” origin story, if you will.

That’s definitely got to be one of the the scarier sides of starting a business I’m sure, the uncertainty of it all. On the upswing, the other side of that double-edged sword means the two of you get to split 100% of the pride that comes with being successful! If no one else says it, I’m proud of you two for living the dream - if I had a decent idea for literally anything and could also convince my wife to work with me on said thing, that’d be awesome!

Just throwing this out there in case you two hadn’t realized it already (though I’m sure you have) but you know who loves a good worm compost / would have the need for a less-messy alternative than whatever they’re currently doing?

The cannabis community, probably. The micro growing community in particular.

iveo8319 karma

worm castings are amazing and should be used by almost everyone. I have a small garden and have had worm bins for years now. Adding in worm castings to your plant starts or established plants is a game changer. Also your cutting down on waste that goes to landfills.

VandyMarine11 karma

PREACH!! 🎤💚♻️🪱

crawfishr20 karma

most of those searches are informational in nature. best way to convert those type of searches is completely covering your site with worm composting info using good SEO practices. Then have a good conversion strategy to turn those searches into customers. You have to a/b test the graphics you use for converting to find which works best. Then at the very least offer a pdf about composting that you send to their email, so you may be able to convert them later on if not directly

VandyMarine11 karma

Yeah that’s pretty much what we have setup. 30+ SEO targeted articles leading back to our Worm Compost Guide email list. But yes I agree we need to split test images and lot of things on the landing and product pages for sure. I’m self taught the whole way.

chemicalclarity5 karma

Hundreds of thousands of searches don't result in hundreds of thousands of sales.

It sounds like you guys are doing reasonably well though . Stick with it.

If you've got the time. I'd suggest learning some basic SEO, and focusing on your content. With niche products, it's really not that hard. It just takes consistency. If you're passionate about bringing buckets of worms into the home, it should come pretty easily

Google's adtech training and certifications are free to complete too. It's a good idea to do the fundamentals even if you don't intend to run the account. There's a lot of bullshittery out there, so it's worth having a decent foundation.

Now for my question, what would you say are the required foundations before jumping into an endeavour like this? Why did you go with indoor vermiculture? Passion, gaps in the market? I'd love to know.

VandyMarine14 karma

You’re right, but we only need to sell 5-10 per day for it to be a viable business so we are pretty close.

Actually we had a few weeks when we were absolutely crushing it but we made some minor changes that were suggested by Google AdWords that absolutely killed our sales. We were selling 9+ daily but then it has since dropped to 2-3 per day on the same spend. Still not all the way on target but I’m dancing around it.

SEO was one of the first things I did and I do it constantly. I started by writing more than 25 keyword blog posts around my niche. It’s not really ranked very well but we are working on the ranking. Everything is indexed though!

So why indoor worm composting? Well one is I like it and it makes me happy. So that’s part of the battle right - I feel good building a business to help people reduce their waste and greenhouse gas contributions and also get to do my passion of ads and marketing.

But the indoor piece is there is a crap ton of apartments and up until now there wasn’t a good small sized worm composter for indoors. That alone makes me think it is viable.

My biggest suggestion is “just start.” As I said we have another website we started in 2018. It taught us a lot of lessons over the years and even though it’s kind of a bust (compared to worm bucket) we would never be here without muddling our way through that first Shopify store.

chemicalclarity3 karma

That's frikking awesome. I hope you smash it out of the park!

If you want a few tips on the Google stuff, just pop me a message. They've started making suggestions which are great for their bottom line. Not necessarily for startups. (I won't solicit)

Sounds like you've got a solid handle on it already. I hope your next ama is on building an empire of worms.

VandyMarine6 karma

If it’s not an Empire of Worms we’ll look more like “the Wheelers” after a worm stampede!

webdevyorker45 karma

The YouTube video embeds on your website are exceeding the viewport on mobile a.k.a. making a horizontal scroll. You should fix it before it impacts the overall look of the website or hurts your SEO?

VandyMarine19 karma

Thanks for the feedback. Best to just remove it?

Doktor_Wunderbar15 karma

What species of earthworm do you use, and how did you select it?

VandyMarine20 karma

We love Red Wiggler Worms! They are great for composting because they eat fast and are content where they are. Some other species are active and try to explore but red wigglers don’t try to climb out of their bins.

FSUalumni13 karma

Do they work outdoors?

VandyMarine15 karma

Yes! It works fine outdoors. Main considerations when using outdoors are temps and rain. As far as temperature we recommend keeping it under something shaded all day. Any direct sunlight might cook your worm friends and that would be no fun.

Second, if they’re not covered from rain the bin can fill with water and worms can drown after a little while. So if you keep it outside just make sure the spigot is in the OPEN position to be sure any liquid can drain out and keep from flooding your bin under heavy rains.

Single_9_uptime3 karma

Temps are at least in my experience hard to deal with where it gets really hot. My first batch of worms all ran away within 24 hours outside in Austin TX in August. Wasn’t even a particularly hot August day for Austin (just over 90F). So /u/FSUalumni , assuming that’s Florida State, if you’re still living in FL or somewhere with a comparable climate, it’d be advisable to keep them in a temperature controlled indoor space IMO.

I moved them indoors for attempt 2, which went better. Though in the 4 days I had no electricity during the 2021 freeze, it got down to 30-something degrees and they all died… I’ve had really bad luck with temperatures. But still keep trying.

They’re fine to have inside as long as you don’t over feed them. If you have a bunch of rotting food in there, it’s going to smell like rotting food. I feed them bit by bit, like twice a week, and blend everything in an old smoothie blender first because they seem to get through blended food far more quickly and easily which also minimizes smell since it’s not in there rotting while they’re eating what’s decomposing. The only smell of a well kept worm bin is kind of earthy, dirt-like smell if you’re really close to it.

IMO it’s a fun way to get exceptional fertilizer for free from food waste you would have thrown in the trash (or the city’s compost pickup bin in my case).

VandyMarine2 karma

Thanks for the report! You are honestly a pro if you’ve kept them through all that. You are right maintaining the temps can be really hard in the summer and also the dead of winter too.

HomeWork23458 karma

Hi! How to start a business from scratch? It's just that I have knowledge of football and basketball, also an ecologist by education.

VandyMarine7 karma

I would also say if you're just starting out either r/flipping or r/sweatystartup are great subreddits to dip your toe in.

SandyKrokau7 karma

I've been vermicomposting in a raised garden for 4 months now and I'm hooked. I would like to know more about how you came up with this design to do this inside the house?

VandyMarine10 karma

Well it was kind of an iterative process… I decided on using a bucket after trying a few other designs. First I looked at existing worm composters on Amazon and tried to import them and they were super expensive to import - like $50+ a unit. I was like there has to be a better way and it kind of came to me that 5-gallon buckets were strong and mass-produced enough that they’d be cheap. I ended up going with the 2.5 gallon because we are focusing on an indoor apartment/condo use case mostly and so smaller is better.

I then tested my samples in house for many months and proved that the worms thrive and the thing doesn’t smell. So from there Audrey took a simple bucket and made some awesome branding and instruction guides and has made the whole thing a real experience. I’m so thankful for how it’s all come together!

Cowboybot6 karma

I'm thinking of starting a small home orchard in new Mexico, what is the limitations of Worm Composting? Would the pomegranate trees and grape vines benefit from the composting?

VandyMarine3 karma

Most definitely but if you have that big a space you’ll want to use a continuous flow through system. But yeah you could make large volume of worm tea with castings and feed the roots.

The big thing with Worm Tea is that you can do foliar feeding - spraying on the plant and you’re spreading the microbes from the worm castings to the plant leaves, stems, roots which can help make them less susceptible to disease.

Cowboybot1 karma

I plan on having 2 Pomegranate, a citrus and one Grape trellis. would a "Flow Through System" entail having the worms in the soil at the base of the trees/trellis?

This is super interesting and also a good way to get closer to a zero waste recycling system. How many buckets would a few trees need?

VandyMarine3 karma

No. Worms will wander off for the most part so it’s best to keep them contained in a worm bin of some sort and then just harvest the castings.

The old adage of worms being good in the garden is true for naturally occurring earth worms, but in our case we are raising a specific type (not normally found in your yard) and it’s the worm castings we are after. Adding in a non-native species is also something that is not recommended so that’s why it’s best to us a bin.

Cowboybot2 karma

Well, as soon as I get home from work today, I'm definitely going to be checking out your site OP. Thanks so much for the information, gave me a lot of new knowledge to dig through!

VandyMarine3 karma

Awesome! We have like 15-20 articles all about how to do it on our site so you can learn a good bit before you get started. Happy Composting 🪱♻️💚

ASS_LORD_6666 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

Being a non-traditional business, I have 2 questions.

1 how did you fund the startup? Personal savings? Is it difficult to get a loan for this kind of project?

2 did you have to get any permitting and if so what was that like and what agencies did you have to work with? Local, state, federal, epa/epd, etc..

VandyMarine17 karma

Great questions - in terms of funding basically I had about $10k cash and I’ve probably dipped into another $6-7k in credit cards. I was shocked that it took almost $20k liquid to get a minimum viable product and functional website to sell it on.

I was able with the first sales to pay off the credit card and we are basically in the black now but I’ll be honest I’ve lost money on businesses for 10 years so I’ll be digging myself out that hole for a few more years.

As far as funding, there’s not much funding besides friends and family and well our family is broke and we never bothered to ask our friends.

Banks don’t lend. Once you have some sales you can get easy cash flow advances from PayPal or even Shopify but they are kind of expensive money and starve your cash flow. I’m not using them as a rule on this business but I have used them on another website we own.

On the regulations and approvals… Ehhh, I live in Tennessee. We are low on gub’mint so less restrictions. I did my best to be a responsible human and use food grade plastics and what not.

Igor_J3 karma

Have you tried to get on Shark Tank? :)

VandyMarine10 karma

God I wish we could get on Shark Tank. Actually one of my frenemies was recently on the show. We were in this start up thing and she was always kind of cold to me… it’s always been my dream to be on the show and I found out she was on it a few months ago. She didn’t get a deal though!

COgrown5 karma

I used to have to count them out for my grandpa when I was a kid. 100 for a dollar is what he'd get. Some of the best fishing worms around.

I've had wigglers for over a decade now. I'm down to 2 earth bins with about 3 yards total. Not from my grandpa but from my original stock. At this point I wouldn't know what to do with my house and yard scraps.

Have you somehow, someway tried and create an easy way to harvest the dirt? It can be a struggle for most everyone. Also tea brewing. Some easy kit is needed there too. I have my own methods, but it seems this is where people fail or simply give up.

Best of skill in your endeavor.

VandyMarine3 karma

Well for our small bin we use the light harvesting method. Aud made a video about how we do it. It takes about 15-20 mins.

But for larger outdoor setups there are continuous flow through systems that you harvest as you go using gravity alone. Those are cool but a bit large and messy.

COgrown2 karma

Ah yes. Light harvesting is what I personally suggest to people as well. Oddly, the concept seems hard for them to grasp.

I've been wanting to build a flow through system on a small scale but fear the subzero winters which is why I stick with ground beds and I'm okay with that.

I'm curious your thoughts on this invasive jumping worm I've heard some chatter about. I'm personally a little concerned but haven't looked into it much.

VandyMarine3 karma

I have not encountered any jumping worm here in Tennessee, so I haven’t really educated myself or concerned myself with it. I do know there was a viral thing about hammerhead worms and that was frightening but I’ve never encountered one. It sure did the whole facebook viral thing though!

beesandsids5 karma

What things do you not put in your vermicompost bin? Also what species of worms do you use?

VandyMarine10 karma

We recommend Red Wiggler worms for composting and night crawlers for bait fishing. As far as what NOT to put in the bin - meat, dairy, wood are no nos - citrus can be kind of hard on a bin as small as ours, but in larger setups citrus is fine also.

Sunburn795 karma

How long do the worms live?

Do you have to replace them? Do they breed?

Do you have to feed them a certain amount to keep them alive?

onthebeachinOz10 karma

The worms have typical lifespans of 4-5 years in an ideal ecosystem. They will breed, but are also capable of self regulating their population if space gets tight. In terms of feeding amounts, worms are relatively low maintenance. We feed our Worm Buckets every 7-10 days, with scraps we collect in our kitchen throughout the week. Different foods take longer to break down, which you’ll learn along the way 😀 They really are amazing creatures 🪱🪱🪱

Sunburn798 karma

They will breed, but are also capable of self regulating their population if space gets tight.

Ummm...so they're cannibals, or they just stop "doing it"?

VandyMarine10 karma

They slow their breeding when their confines would restrict their ability to live healthily.

hahniel5 karma

What are your thoughts on the likelihood your product might be copied/rebranded from another country? Do patents protect you from copycat products sold by US distributors?

P.S. Rooting for you guys to gain more traction!!

VandyMarine13 karma

It’s very likely. This has been tough for me. We met with patent attorneys and have filed a provisional patent on it but the truth is we probably can’t afford to litigate and defend it. We do have a trademark on the name and at our attorneys advice we are just trying to build a brand around it to protect as much as possible.

Because it’s still largely a bucket with some unique holes in it, it’s probably too broad to qualify for a utility patent and only a design patent.

We could sue for breaches of our design patent but again that takes money… we are still in our garage and just praying that Audrey can keep from having to go back to the corporate grind at this stage.

Hoping good karma and positive vibes will win out over copycats and counterfeiters 🪱♻️💚

AAAPosts5 karma

Are you better than Uncle Jim?

VandyMarine8 karma

If I’m not better than Uncle Jim well my name ain’t Nathan Arizona!!!

AAAPosts3 karma

Seriously- I use Uncle Jim’s worm farm… are you better than them?

VandyMarine12 karma

Well we don’t actually sell worms ourselves. We designed a Worm Bin called the Worm Bucket.

We presently are using Satilla River Worm Company and Meme’s Worms for our actual composting worms.

But I don’t have anything disparaging to say about Uncle Jim’s just that I hope they’ll one day carry our Worm Bucket kit.

6byfour5 karma

Does Audrey nag at you all day to sell those f*cking buckets so you can pay the rent?

VandyMarine3 karma

She wants her garage back more than anything!

universalrifle4 karma

Do you use layers and collect the liquid at the bottom too?

VandyMarine7 karma

No ours is a bit different. The spigot or tap you see is actually for making Worm Tea - the separate process of using harvested worm castings in a teabag and adding molasses and aerating it with an air stone. It’s quite a process but it gives you a high quality liquid gardening amendment that you can apply directly to leaves through foliar spray. The liquid (if there is any) from the vermicomposting process is called Leachate and it doesn’t have the same benefits as worm tea.

SandyKrokau3 karma

Is this a live event? I'm new to reddit, not sure how this works.

VandyMarine5 karma

Yes Sandy, begins @ 9am CST. Excited to see you there!

iveo832 karma

First off congrats on starting your own company!

I have had worm bins for years. Why do you include perlite in your setup? I have never added that to any of my bins. I usually just start with Coir and add newspaper and cardboard.

VandyMarine4 karma

Excellent question. So we designed this to be the “ultimate beginner” worm farm… and the perlite is a hack that I discovered on my own and I just had to include it in our system.

Our bin is self-draining. Meaning if there’s too much liquid it will drip into the green bottom bucket (leachate capture). Well there’s good sized holes there and the worms like to crawl into the bottom chamber.

So I used a layer of super coarse perlite on the bottom of the inner bucket. Perlite absorbs liquid in a tremendous amounts compared to its surface area/size - this keeps the worms from drying out. I found it keeps this size bin in like near perfect humidity and moisture by using this method. I’ve also noticed I don’t have large numbers of worms trying to crawl down into the bottom chamber.

Also you hear to use grit in your worm bin - well perlite is pretty gritty! All in all used as a filtration layer on the bottom of our bin it’s been a game changer and it’s 100% a trial and error thing I discovered.

iveo833 karma

very interesting. My only concern would be not letting people really understand what is too wet if the perlite is "cheating" and absorbing the extra liquid. The Perlite is like training wheels but maybe let them know it's not the optimal solution I guess?

or maybe you can just keep it going. Not sure how long it lasts and how often you need to replenish.

VandyMarine4 karma

Yeah in this system it stays put really. We use the light harvest method and just scrape down with a trowel until we hit the perlite layer. Then we know we are done. Then I add fresh shredded paper and the bin is reset.

Certainly other methods or bigger setups than ours we just made a very simple kit that is hard to mess up doing it with our included instructions etc

RealisticAd34302 karma

Where did you manufacture the product? And how design the product to communicate w/ the manufacturer ? What’s that whole process like?

VandyMarine9 karma

So I used Alibaba.com to find a manufacturer. It’s a lot like shopping on Amazon. I found the base bucket manufacturer and then talk to them about the modifications we needed. They are China based.

So this part is tricky because I’ve heard a lot of horror stories. I will say I decided to select a vendor who used “trade assurance” which is kind of a sort of buyer protection. This prob means my quote wasn’t the cheapest but I also prob avoid getting totally swindled.

I then got like 10 prototypes made and waited for them to arrive. I have communicated mostly via chat and messaging with my contact who has worked with me for more than a year now. I know trust him a lot because he’s had the chance to screw me and actually fixed some problems that I kind of expected to just have to accept.

So far it’s been a good experience - shipping from China has sucked. It costs use 3X to ship our product as it does to manufacture! 😬

RealisticAd34301 karma

What about the design and branding ? How did you draft it, and communicate that to the manufacturer?

VandyMarine3 karma

Well the branding was created by my wife and also my teenage son’s very artistic friend. The artist for the logo is now a sophomore at University of South Carolina. I gave her a really rough sketch and she made it really cool looking.

Audrey used Canva to do much of our branding and design. Ya’ll we are for real just normal people and aren’t tech whizzes. We used simple tools to make a functional site - if we ever have the capital we will improve the site experience more.

But as for the manufacturer we just sent them files and they took pictures of the samples with rulers and things so we could see that everything was like it was supposed to. I will say there was pit in my stomach for months about whether or not the hole was really in the right spot (we had a few locations we had discussed and I was worried it could have gotten lost in translation).

ArchDucky2 karma

Do the worms wear little straw hats and ride tractors?

VandyMarine3 karma

They ride corn cobs! For real corn cobs are like little sex huts for worms. They get all up close and personal with them and lay their cocoons in the empty cobs.

VandyBoys322 karma

How is it working with your wife. Problems?

VandyMarine8 karma

No big problems on my end but the first couple weeks were an adjustment.

I went from being a solo-owner to really relinquishing control and co-ownership with Audrey. So that took adjustment - she was making changes to the site and questioning my methods and I was often short or curt in my responses.

One time I really hurt her feelings because I was asking more of her from a technical perspective on marketing and UX design than she was yet capable.

I have now shifted to let her take the reigns and I trust that she’s the awesome competent person I know her to be and she’s absolutely crushing it.

The packaging, branding, box opening experience, special gifts, the full-color instructions are all Audrey. I designed the bucket and I mess with the worms but my wife really has been a huge positive impact on the launch.

xtuff2 karma

How do you make money off from worms ? And is their a lot of money in worms or is this more of a green movement idea ?

VandyMarine2 karma

I think there’s enough to have a small business with a few employees sure. I’d say it’s not out of the realm to have this be a $1-2m annual revenue business that nets us 150-200k+ per year as a family business. We aren’t there yet of course.

Ryukyo2 karma

Do you also drive a limo?

VandyMarine2 karma

True story… my first car was a 1987 Ford Crown Victoria and my when I took it home my kid sister yelled out loud “Robbie bought a Limo!”

Illegal_Ghost_Bikes2 karma

Oh god, that was only THREE months ago? I remember your original post being two years ago. Happy to see you're doing well!

VandyMarine2 karma

Thanks! We are still kickin’ and she ain’t left me yet 😎

crank1off2 karma

Lloyd Christmas? That you?

VandyMarine3 karma

This is the story of Lloyd’s illegitimate son who discovers his fathers dream and chose to continue an unfinished legacy!! 🪱♻️💚

Im_j3r01 karma

Sort of tradition for me to ask this by now; How have your weeks been?

onthebeachinOz2 karma

The weeks have all been different, which keeps things engaging and exciting. Some weeks I focus mainly on operational tasks- like packing boxes. Some weeks we’re building our new strategies and programs. They aren’t all great, and sometimes it feels like weathering a storm.

VandyMarine2 karma

I’ll add that I feel like we are in that “uncomfortable middle” where we are getting enough flashes of excitement from our community (really good reviews, organic shares, video comments, etc.) but also we haven’t replaced Audreys corporate income and she’s spent through the allocated savings we set aside.

Our options now are tighten the belt and stay true to our journey and at least see what Christmas season holds for us or just operate it as a side-hustle and Audrey go back to her career.

It’s a tough one because things are tough financially and we have had some weeks for example where we “do everything right” but then our Google adspend will be upside down and we will lose $400-500 in a week of real money. So it’s not just the loss of going to one income but it’s also the expenses that occur that can be a big whammy at inopportune moments.

nnifnairb841 karma

Where's a good place to get worms? I'm in North Carolina.

VandyMarine3 karma

Good question… so first it depends on the purpose but if you’re thinking for vermicomposting purposes I suggest red wigglers or a mix of red wiggler and Indian blues that get sold by a variety of reputable sellers. I’m recommending the Satilla River Worm Farm right now - they are in Georgia and they sent us some well packed and healthy worms recently and they are eager to earn new customers and have had excellent service. Here’s a post we made with a few pointers on buying worms

iveo833 karma

I have used Meme's Worm Farm a few times and it worked great.

VandyMarine3 karma

Meme's is awesome also! I thought the branded black pouch that they shipped with was pretty top-notch! We used Meme's to send some Red Wigglers to our favorite purple-haired wormfluencer Erica Niseema on TikTok.

etiolated_goblin1 karma

Hi! This is great. I have so many worms in my garden and I’ve always wondered:

  1. Do worms always get along well with other worms?
  2. Is there a best way to handle worms?

VandyMarine3 karma

There are some aggressive garden and yard worms but they’re a bit different than what we do. Worms are good in the garden but we are mostly keeping the worms contained in a farm so that we can harvest the organic, biology rich castings which the gardens love!

As for how to handle them - I use garden gloves a lot of the time. It’s prob not necessary but they can be slippery buggers haha

WhalesVagina6191 karma

Have you tried different landing pages? I'm a fan of a long form landing page especially if you're getting a lot of people coming to your page through google. They're there to buy, you just need to convince them by explaining how good your product is, and a video of how your product is used. Sometimes those two simple things can drive conversion.

VandyMarine1 karma

This is our current (and only) long form landing page - I agree adding more video would be helpful. I’m afraid I’m running up to my knowledge limit as a developer lol

I’m only at about .8% conversion rate right now so we need to improve that. Audrey doesn’t love the long form sales letter format as much as I do. She thinks it’s repetitive and makes us look spammy. Hell I don’t know

WhalesVagina6191 karma

I'm glad you're getting conversions!

You can definitely improve the landing page by a lot. I'm messaging you with a sample of another landing page I looked at and although it's simpler and lighter on graphics, it sells (because the ad spend much much higher).

VandyMarine1 karma

Thanks for taking the time to do that. We are self taught so I’m always on the hunt for new ideas.

slyzik1 karma

Is not that bucket too small? Looks nice, but not very effective

VandyMarine3 karma

For an individual in a small space it’s a viable option.

Check out our time-lapse and tell me if it looks like it works? https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/wdtd2l/watermelon_devoured_back_into_the_earth_14day_red/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf

ogold451 karma

Sorry if you already answered, but why aren't you on Amazon?

VandyMarine1 karma

I’ve been trying to get on Amazon but we are presently blocked. Back in 2018 I created a seller account and didn’t properly finish my ID verification and it flagged my account as suspected fraud. I didn’t touch it for years but now I tried to register our product and because my IP is associated Amazon says I’m high risk and won’t let me sell.

I’ve begged and pleaded and asked for help to random people on LinkedIn who work at Amazon. It’s a real shame because I’m ready to sell on there now. I even paid Amazon $1200 for the IP accelerator program but they still won’t let me list or use my new account on account of this old account. I’ve talked with a big Amazon seller and he says i would need a new LLC, new cell phone and plan, new IP in the name of the new LLC and then never let the streams cross but that seems like a much bigger pain than just trying other marketing channels. We are trying affiliate marketing and influencers on IG and Tiktok and YouTube.

gumbi011 karma

What’s your typical work schedule like? Is it like Monday through Friday 8 to 5?

VandyMarine3 karma

Ha we were packing boxes until like 8 pm yesterday lol.

I still have my full-time corporate job (I don’t hate mine near as much as she did hers) but I’ll say Audrey plays tennis in the mornings a few days a week and then works on various web and marketing things until she ships orders around 3 pm. I’d say the hours may be longer but it’s our work and it doesn’t always feel much like work.

I’ll let Audrey give her own answer but she’s slipped out for lunch for an hour or so and I’m filling in.

JMCatron1 karma

Where do you source your materials for composting from? If you're selling that many kits, it can't just be coming from your kitchen. Coffee shops will give away their grounds, but do you get like, paper waste from offices or something?

VandyMarine3 karma

Well our kits come with a brick of coco coir bedding which is a sustainable bedding source. You rehydrate that brick for the initial bedding and from there I use shredded newspaper and shredded Amazon boxes as bedding.

Coffee grounds are a good food source and we do feed them to ours in our Worm Buckets here at the house.

Ausdwen0 karma

Per your video it takes roughly 3 months to harvest 3.5lbs of worm castings. You can buy 4.5lbs of worm castings for $12 on Amazon. The math tells me that 3.5lbs = $9.33. You charge $60 for your WormBucket, though it looks like it is normally $100. At $60 it would take roughly 18 months to see any return on investment. At $100 it would take roughly 32 months to see a return on investment.

As someone who built his own worm farm for less than $15 worth of materials at Lowes the price tag seems steep, particularly at $100.

My question is, how did you determine pricing and did you have a goal in mind for time for return on investment for the consumer?

VandyMarine6 karma

I don’t know about all that - we just made it simple in a kit form. I don’t think it’s presented in any sort of money saving way.

It’s a way to compost indoors - most pre-made larger bin systems cost twice what this one does.

I’m happy with the value we provide for the $60 price. There’s a bunch of components that are all lovingly assembled by Audrey’s and my hands. Hope that’s worth something to somebody. 💚♻️🪱

isseldor0 karma

Boot strapped? I’m sure the corporate gig helped with funding before quitting. I’m all for small business but please be realistic with how you frame “boot strapped “.

VandyMarine3 karma

Ehh it didn’t happen overnight by any means but Aud worked really hard for 15 years to get to the point to take a leap like that. I was in the Marines for 20 years that certainly helped me in a bunch of ways, but yeah I say bootstrapped in that she and I have earned pretty much every dime we have to have the ability to take a leap of faith and order $20k worth of plastic buckets on a dream to quit the corporate rat race and do cool shit like garden all day and play with our dogs.