From Humble Beginnings
Aqua Gardening, first founded in 1995 by Tony and Diane Loutit, is a story of success. What began as a small gardening store on Pickering Street, Brisbane, has since blossomed into a leading hub of information and education on all things hydroponics and more. Chris and Shiran Faast, regular customers at Aqua Gardening, fell so in love with the brand, that when the opportunity arose to purchase it in 2014, they jumped at the chance.
A Passion with Family Roots
Let’s just say, aquaponics runs in the family for Chris. During his childhood years growing up on a self-sustaining house in the Barossa Valley, he and his father Heini built a 5,000L aquaponics system together in their backyard. It included everything from fish and ducks, to turtles too, and kicked off what’s became a lifelong passion for Chris.
When Chris and his wife Shiran moved into their own place in West End, Brisbane, they realised it was the perfect opportunity for them too, to grow their own food. The one difference between now and Chris’ childhood though—space! But thanks to Aqua Gardening, they were able to set up a small system in their flat and start the growing process, with fish included, too. When they realised how effortless the process had been, and saw the results for themselves, they decided they had to buy Aqua Gardening.
Innovation at the Heart of the Business
"We wanted everyone to be able to grow food no matter where they lived or whether they were experienced gardeners or not."
For Chris and Shiran, the goal has always been simplifying and improving accessibility to aquaponics, hydroponics, and living soil for the masses. With Chris’ background in engineering, and Shiran’s experience in management and retail, their dreams for Aqua Gardening have come to life.
Aqua Gardening has been transformed into a place where questions are answered, knowledge is shared, and products are researched and developed. In 2018, the Learning Hub came online, and serves as a complete, one stop shop of information and resources on everything aquaponics, hydroponics and more. The development of aquaponics kits, and research into nutrients for aquaponics are also great examples of their drive to innovate.
An industry that was previously resigned to experienced DIYers and those with the time to spend weeks on trial and error, is now accessible to everyone.
Aqua Gardening now has a new mission:
"Empowering people to master their health by making gardening accessible, sustainable, successful, and easy.”
With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Chris and Shiran realised Aqua Gardening needed to change to survive. To do so, they transitioned the company from one of the largest gardening retail stores in Queensland, into a store with one of the best customer service experiences available. They had realised over the years that the thing customers valued the most was their advice. This resulted in the decisionto create an in-store experience unlike any other seen before, focused entirely on the customer's needs. To continue this experience online, they are constantly adding more features to the online experience. Now, no matter where or when, customers can be inspired and assisted in the building of their dream gardens.
And that’s how a small, local gardening store became the premier hub for expert advice and supplies of aquaponics, hydroponics, ponds, and living soil.