It’s been ten months since I started Mantis Plant Protection LLC and I’m proud to say that business is going pretty good! It’s not generating the kind of money where I can quit my day job as a pest control adviser and start house hunting for a beach property in San Diego, but it has earned back all up-front investment costs and currently sitting on a descent sized bank account balance.
The two products, Mantis RTU and Mantis Concentrate, are selling steady on Amazon and I’m in the process of developing a third product that should launch in about 2 months. This year will be the first Spring and full growing season Mantis will take on since its been in business so I expect sales to dramatically increase soon and this year will be a good indicator as to the volumes I can expect to sale on just the Amazon channel. But good reviews continue to trickle in and the Mantis brand is starting to establish itself within the pest control niche.
Below are a few photos capturing Mantis’s early days which should be fun to look back-on some day. Early on I spent most of my time working and educating myself in the skill of formulation chemistry trying to develop products that provided good efficacy, mixing capabilities, long shelf life/stability, and cheap enough to be able to turn around a suitable profit at a competitive price. This product development process took much longer than I expected delaying sales projections and ripping my original business plan to shreds. Time line projections is an important skill to learn in business…it seems like projects ALWAYS end up taking almost twice as long to complete and it is important to plan around this unfortunate phenomenon.
Mantis RTU cases getting ready to ship
Edgar, Esthela’s cousin, helped us formulate and package first two productions we did at Casa Piscopo Manufacturing
Was thinking about developing a neem oil product. Turns out the oil I sourced is a little phytotoxic.
Dropping off cases at UPS to ship to Amazon warehouses throughout the US
Very tedious home manufacturing. (Not recommended but necessary at the time)
Really liked how the single case labels turned out but eventually stopped using them
Just another day packaging product in the dining area. (So glad I found a toll manufacturer to do this for me now).
Just finished packing and getting ready to put in cases
Our living room production line
Mantis warehouse/home garage
I bought this van planning on wrapping it with Mantis logo imagery traveling California and Colorado pedaling Mantis from hydroponic store to store…I sold the van and business plan has changed quite a bit since then
Just received the Mantis Concentrate labels
Our kitchen moonlighting as a formulation lab…good thing I was working with food-grade materials.
Mantis case labels turned out nice
Mantis RTU case labels. Eventually stopped packing into single case as it was very tedious, expensive, and completely unnecessary because Amazon would re-box the single cases anyway.
For an EPA exempt biopesticide, pretty good emulsification in water.
A Mantis RTU formulation that I left outside in the hot Yuma sun for weeks to test stability.
Phytotoxicity testing on vinca flowers of formulation prototypes and competing products.
Seeing how the hand trigger fits on the spray bottle
I had so many different formulation prototypes, it was important to be diligent labeling them to keep track of them and know what had already been tested.
Mantis first production site on the side of the house. Don’t miss the days formulating at our house…a little embarrassing and very labor intensive.
Formulation development is a long, messy process.
Mantis phytotoxicity testing using vinca and tomato plants. Testing plant safety took longer than I thought but was a very crucial step in product development.
Did you find this post interesting? If so, I would greatly appreciate it if you commented below and shared on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Thanks!