Big thank you to the Hydro Bros for approaching me with the idea for this article. Some may think it was solely to promote their store but they didn’t push to be the first interviewed. That was my idea. #gardenculturemagazine #confessionsofaukhydrostore
Brand new to the pages of Garden Culture Magazine, Confessions of a Hydro Store strives to connect you with the grow shops selling your favourite products (and offering your favourite magazine!). In today’s world, the sense of community amongst growers is more important than ever. In our first edition of this segment, we’d like you to get to know The Hydro Bros. Based in Croyden, South London, The Hydro Bros offer growers incredible products and even better service. Helping their customers achieve the best yields possible. Open and serving customers for four years, The Hydro Bros tell us like it is; it ain’t easy running an international shop with only five employees, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
What has been your most embarrassing moment at the store?
We’d just opened and thought we were well stocked; we had no idea. It’s the worst feeling when customers come in asking for a common product we don’t have.
Is there one moment or memory at the shop that stands out for you?
The moment at the very beginning when many wholesalers wouldn’t or couldn’t open an account with us. That was a horrible feeling, as we’d just sunk a fat deposit on the premises! That, and budget, were a couple of reasons our shop was empty when we first opened.
What achievement are you most proud of?
There isn’t a specific achievement that stands out over others, but we’ve loved getting exclusive hydro shop merchandise from suppliers and securing access to in-demand product lines. We have used these to guide us on the right path!
What is the worst question you have been asked by any of your customers?
Can we set up their grow room for them? We can’t.
And the most asked question?
At 5:55 pm, “I really need X. Can you wait 10 minutes for me before you close?” Jay, our store manager, absolutely loves it.
What are some of your favourite products? Why?
Floraflex micro dripper setup because it’s easy to set up, and I’m a sucker for that white and green branding! If it does what it’s designed to do and looks fresh and clean, I’m sold!
I also love any Mycorrhizae because they’re just so damn easy to add to any schedule.
And finally, Trolmaster allows you to remotely monitor, manage and control your grow room from A to Z. I’m a data junky, so seeing historical graphing lets me know everything is on point all the time.
What is the biggest challenge of running the shop?
Everything! It’s not easy. We like to keep in touch with what’s happening in the UK grow scene and know what problems people are facing and what products are or aren’t working.
One of the biggest ways we improve is through feedback; it’s an invaluable source of information. You can’t fix what you don’t know! It’s a challenge to keep on top of all social media from all time zones while also keeping an eye on the 5000+ product prices, playing a daily game of stock Tetris, running the store, and keeping up with online orders in the UK and abroad. Doing all of that while trying to continually improve certainly keeps us busy.
How much time and effort do you spend on your social media?
One of the straplines we use is #WeDontStop, and we don’t. Anyone using IG for business will appreciate that it takes work. However, doing things you enjoy makes it a lot easier. IG can be a fun way to share information with many people quickly.
How do you create customer loyalty?
We have a loyalty scheme online; you earn Hydro Bros Credits each time you spend, which you can redeem. We’re working on getting this active in-store as well. Other than that, we keep doing what we are doing: providing good customer service. When we don’t have an answer to a question, we will find out and get back to you.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
Negotiated a better deal before we moved into the premises!