About Us - Kaizen Bonsai Ltd
Our story began in the mid-eighties when Colin Lewis began formulating plans to launch 'BONSAI' magazine, the first issue of which rolled off the presses at the end of 1988 and hit doormats across the U.K. in early 1989. The magazine eventually became Bonsai Focus which is still running today. Being an enterprising fellow Colin (arguably the worlds most successful author on the subject of Bonsai) quickly realised that his new magazine was an excellent promotional vehicle for a mail order business.... Remember this was before the advent of the internet being commonly available. Indeed the first issue of the magazine did not list a single email or web site address.... READERS SERVICES was formed and the first full page advertisement appeared, offering just Bonsai books, in issue 5 Spring 1990. The business grew quickly and gradually expanded much beyond simply supplying books. Autumn 1995 saw the publication of the first BONSAI MART advertisement which mostly offered books, fertilisers, videos and Mica Pots. The very first Bonsai Mart colour catalogue made an appearance in summer 1996. The business continued to thrive in the hands of Colin and Imelda Lewis until January 2004 when the business changed hands and came under the banner of Kaizen Bonsai. Later that year our online shop was launched and the paper catalogue expanded to 20 pages with a new updated issue released every autumn. We are pleased to retain links with Colin, now based in the USA and although he has no part of the business here we value his point of view and exceptional bonsai expertise. He is after all one of the most influential founding fathers of U.K. bonsai.
Graham Potter first began keeping bonsai in 1990/91. Very quickly he began to gather information along with a great many trees. Since that time he has absorbed influence and great teaching from some of the most talented bonsai artists including David Prescott, Colin Lewis, Marco Invernizzi, Nobuyuki Kajiwara, Bryan Albright, Kevin Willson, John Hanby, Salvatore Liporace, Mauro Stemberger and many more.
Over the last twenty years Graham has travelled to every corner of the U.K. teaching and demonstrating bonsai at all levels. Graham has visited many countries of the world teaching his skills in person.
Graham's trees have been exhibited at National and International events including the prestigious Ginkgo awards and Noelander's Trophy and have won many awards at both national and international level.
Graham has published many articles and is an occasional contributor to Bonsai Focus magazine.
In May 2009 Graham launched his now phenomenally successful YouTube channel. One of the internets most popular bonsai resources.
Kaizen Bonsai Ltd
When in 2004 Graham and Catherine aquired the Bonsai Mart business Kaizen Bonsai was formed to encompass Graham's approach to bonsai. Kaizen is a Japanese word widely adopted in the business world to promote the approach of continual gradual improvement. Graham and Catherine planned to slowly build a quality business offering exceptional service, fair prices and the widest product rage out there. It's taken years but Graham's dedicated team have fulfilled the original plan and continue to expand the business daily.
Today Kaizen Bonsai remains a family affair with Graham at the helm. Catherine is responsible for the larger part of the administration of the business. Rammon Hammers joined us several years ago and is responsible for packaging customers orders and in 2017 Sarah Potter joined the business with responsibility for despatching orders and stock control. Graham's parents still regularly lend a hand when things get busy and do lots of hand work and packaging products at their nearby home. Kaizen Bonsai is still run from the family home near Gt Yarmouth but with ever expanding warehousing nearby.
Sadly we have had to stop producing our lovely paper catalogue. This was primarily down to the cost of postage and so now the business has moved entirely to what is likely the biggest commercial bonsai web site in the world.
Our Range of Bonsai Products
Our web site offers the largest range of product lines for the Bonsai hobbyist available anywhere in the world. We continually search the globe to find great quality products to help you enjoy creating bonsai. We regularly receive shipments from Japan, China, USA and many European countries as well as sourcing many products from right here in the U.K. For instance we carry the largest range of Bonsai Hand Tools found anywhere in the U.K. as well as many exclusive products unique to Kaizen Bonsai.
We also work tirelessly to bring you an unparalleled selection of great quality Bonsai Trees and Yamadori and Raw Material as well as Indoor Bonsai. Unlike many other suppliers we do not simply buy from a single source wholesaler. We regularly source new stock from across Europe and the UK. We also purchase lots of private collections when we can and this throws uop some real gems. Therefore you can be assured the best choice of a wide selection of unique and special Bonsai Trees individually selected by Graham.
Our Stock Availability
We carry over £350,000 in stock and offer 99% availability of everything 365 days of the year. It really is no use our offering such a huge selection of products if they are rarely in stock. Unlike many of our competitors who only order in once they receive your order we carry everything we offer in our own stock. Our stock holding is enormous and our warehouse just keeps filling up. Whilst this costs us a fortune it does ensure that 99 times out of 100 you get your order delivered without items being put on back order. Because we bring products from dozens of countries across the world there will inevitably be times when some items are 'on the water' or winging their way to us. If for any reason an item is out of stock we will let you know promptly and either hold the order for you, offer alternatives or a full refund. Back order items are dispatched completely at our cost....even if we are shipping to the other side of the world. To the best of our knowledge no other online Bonsai specialist carries SO MUCH STOCK. At various times of the year some items seem to be in short supply but here at Kaizen Bonsai Ltd, we negotiate with our suppliers months in advance to ensure you get your order even if everyone else has run out of something.
Our Fast Delivery Service
Most parcels will be despatched within 24 hours (Monday to Friday) and moved by our carrier who will give you a 1 Hour delivery window by text or email so you don't have to wait in all day. See details of our very special delivery service. Here at Kaizen Bonsai we are passionate about Bonsai. We love our work and we work seven days a week every week of the year. Our company directors haven't been on holiday since 1987!!!!! We despatch parcels 5 days a week. Unfortunately delivery companies do not share our passion and don't work on weekends. Over the years we have had GREAT experience in despatching parcels and know exactly who does what best. Our aim is to get your order delivered as quickly and safely as possible. We have a 99.5% success rate in delivering parcels safely without damage.
Our Fantastic Prices
Our company policy is to offer the best value Mail Order Bonsai Supplies. Our reputation has been built on good solid business practice, great service and value for money. Take a look at the early copies of Bonsai Magazine from the late eighties and early nineties and you will find a huge number of bonsai companies advertising....most have now long gone and just a tiny handful survive including Bonsai Mart. "Cheapest" prices and cost cutting are a sure-fire route to failure. It costs a great deal to be able to offer you the range and availability that we at Kaizen Bonsai Ltd do. We have BIG overheads and expenses that conspire to finish us off. Not least is the U.K. government that is actively anti-small business....but I digress. Our company has to make a sustainable profit in order to pay good wages to good staff and fuel re-investment and growth for the good of U.K. bonsai and our customers. Bonsai in the U.K. needs help and promotion in order to bring this wonderful hobby to a greater audience. Ultimately the more people are involved the better it will be for us all. Kaizen Bonsai Ltd is not working for 'beer money' nor are we working to simply subsidise our hobby, we employ people and pay fair wages to our staff and you can rest assured that we will be here for a great many years to come.
Every single product is carefully evaluated and tested before we offer it to you. WE STAKE OUR REPUTATION ON OUR QUALITY.
Bear in mind that things are not always what they seem, a cheap product is going to be just that, it's cheap for a reason. All of the products we offer are individually tested and evaluated before we offer them to you. We never buy the cheapest of anything but always seek out the VERY BEST VALUE. Most of the products we offer to you are in daily use on our busy nursery and just as many are in the hands of Europe's top professional Bonsai Masters. Our fertilisers sustain some of the best Bonsai masterpieces in the U.K. and our carving tools are in use on every continent of the world. That's not to say things don't go wrong, they do and we rely on a vast network of people to achieve what we do. Nobody's perfect but when things do go wrong we will do our utmost to put them right for you a quickly as we can.
We absolutely guarantee whatever you buy from us 100% and offer a full refund or replacement for anything that is not up to scratch . All of our products carry a full money back guarantee if you are not entirely satisfied....that's your legal right as a consumer! Many items carry further manufacturers guarantees even up to a lifetime guarantee on some items. Faulty or damaged items or products ordered incorrectly will all be refunded or replaced. In short....IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY THEN TALK TO US. 100% peace of mind from Kaizen Bonsai Ltd!
Our Easy Payment Options
It costs us a great deal every month to be able to offer you the payment options that we do. We cater for every major credit and debit card on the planet. Also you can pay by PayPal, Cheque by mail, Bankers draft or direct transfer from your online bank. Many people have concerns about online payment but rest assured that your information is absolutely 100% cast iron guaranteed secure. Online payments are handled for us by Worldpay. You won't notice the transition from our site to theirs as your online ordering process progresses but you can be absolutely assured that your transaction will remain confidential....in fact we never see your payment details in any way, shape or form. Worldpay handles everything and then sends us a summary of the transaction just to show your order is paid and ready to despatch. Also bear in mind that credit cards are automatically covered against online fraud. We handle a great many telephone orders and in this case we keep your card details locked away and secure until the process is complete and your order is received....at which point your payment details are destroyed. Your card details are NEVER entered onto or stored on any computers or electronic devices whatsoever and our mailing list is maintained on a stand alone computer NOT connected to the internet in any way. Finally Kaizen Bonsai Ltd PROMISE NEVER TO DIVULGE YOUR DETAILS TO ANYONE, ANYWHERE FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER
The biggest product range and certainly the most popular Bonsai web site dedicated to Bonsai. Marketing is a dirty word these days because of some bad practice by big companies who trample all over your personal space. Just recently we received a marketing call from a machine!!!!!!!!!!!! What the hell do these companies think this says about them? Be that as it may the simple fact remains that if you don't know we're here you won't buy from us and then we WON'T be here. Our web site is one of the most popular and regularly visited Specialist Bonsai sites in the WORLD and we constantly seek to improve both the functionality and content of the site.
Our web site features hours of unique Bonsai video content and hundreds of pages of written articles all 100% generated by us just for you. Your thoughts on how we can improve things would be warmly welcomed . Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or catch up with us on Facebook
Our Delivery Service
90% of our delivery across the world is handled by just one provider, they appreciate our business and work hard to keep us happy which means keeping YOU happy. But why do we continue to charge delivery? Many Bonsai Mail Order Suppliers offer 'FREE' carriage so why does Kaizen Bonsai Ltd continue to charge a fee for their delivery service (link to Interlink Page)? Firstly it is not POSSIBLE to deliver ANYTHING for free no matter where you live. Only a fool would think that anything comes free in today's world. One of a mail order companies biggest overheads is.....quite obviously mailing costs. After the cost of the products we sell and wages our largest expense is the cost of despatching your order. If we were selling a mass market item like....beans we would expect to move millions of tins a year and so we could squeeze our shipping supplier to within an inch of bankruptcy. However Bonsai Supplies do not fall into this category so we have to pay a relatively substantial fee for each order despatched. Kaizen Bonsai Ltd have to re-coup this cost in some way. There are basically three options each with a downside.
1. We absorb the cost of shipping and meet it from our gross profit margin. The downside of this is that on very many products our margin is small and we would be unable to retain these lines. This would also impact upon slower moving items. This explains why so many Online Bonsai Stores only carry the most profitable lines and offer a very limited range. Ultimately this option would reduce our bottom line profits to less than zero and cause a scaling back of our activities, reducing customer choice and service.
2. We 'build in' the cost of shipping by incorporating it into our prices. This is a very popular option employed by many mainstream Mail Order Suppliers. But consider for a moment the scope of what we offer for sale. You could buy a pack of Fertiliser Baskets. These cost very little to send and the packaging cost is minimal so here we could add in £1 for second class post. But what if you ordered 10 packs? This order would cost us about £3.00 to mail but you just paid £10.00.
A bag of Akadama costs us £7.00 to mail but then the cost is almost the same to deliver three bags together. Therefore if we build in £7.00 per bag you end up paying £21.00 for £7.00 worth of shipping cost if you order the multiple. In this 'built in' scenario the more that you buy the more you pay.
3. We work it out and charge you what it costs to deliver YOUR order. We have chosen this option because it seems the fairest and offers the best value for money to you whilst recouping our cost. Firstly this allows us to show you a real no nonsense price for the items you are looking for. Secondly you gain a fair saving by buying more items together because we can send you up to 30Kg of weight in one parcel for just one delivery charge. And thirdly we stay in business.
We do not make a profit on delivery charges, in fact we make a small loss because we choose to subsidise our delivery prices. Bear in mind that we are paying the highest fuel prices in the history of the world. Our suppliers are constantly looking for price increases and the government is hounding us all. Kaizen Bonsai Ltd believe in offering the greatest choice possible to our customers and buying well so we can pass on savings to you. In order to do this we have to be here!
For further information on shipping and delivery options please click here.
Our Environmental Policy
As BONSAI enthusiasts we appreciate nature and are sensitive to the world we all inhabit. Our environmental policy reflects this. We love the planet we all live on and we like to breathe clean air. We believe recycling should be a last resort, RE-Using materials is of much greater advantage to our world. All of our packaging material is re-used and sourced locally. We obtain our cardboard boxes from a local recycling company and other small businesses who would otherwise bin them. All other materials are sourced close by from companies that would otherwise pass this material into landfill. Whenever possible we try to avoid the use of plastic and polystyrene materials unless these are being reused. All wood and pallets used in our activities are reused, recycled or recovered from waste sources. The materials used to package your order can all be re-cycled easily. Most of our shredded loose fill material is created on site from old paperwork, junk mail, newspapers and waste cardboard. We not only reuse 98% of our own waste but also use 90% from a partner company of ours who work in the blinds and shading industry. In total on an average week Kaizen Bonsai procude less than half a black bag of waste materials. All of the green waste from our plant nursery goes into a local composting scheme. All of our live plants are obtained legally from bonafide suppliers in accordance with U.K.and E.U government standards. All yamadori is collected with written permission of the land owner and, where appropriate, local government authorities.
We pride ourselves on using very little fuel too. 98% of our goods are delivered to us using groupage and regular scheduled delivery services. This reduces our fuel usage each year by around 80% compared to what we were doing just a few years ago. On average we use less than a gallon of diesel a week.
Being a British Company we love our country and will support British industry and products at every opportunity, it's good for our country and it's good for the environment but, most importantly, it's good for you! By buying British you ensure a great quality product, you also avoid paying to ship products half way around the world and racking up a huge fuel and import duty bill. Kaizen Bonsai support British manufacturing at every opportunity. Many of our unique products are made in our fine country, for instance our Terrier Tools, most of our Bonsai Rotating Turntables and up to 90% of our Bonsai Soil Mixes are produced right here. Do yourself a favour and buy British.