Sol-Sense: Precision Horticultural Lighting
Sol-Sense provides innovative horticultural lighting solutions and accessories for commercial greenhouse operations, research institutions, and horticulture enthusiasts. With decades of combined experience, co-founder Richie May says Sol-Sense aims to merge their knowledge and passion for growing with delivering cutting-edge technology to the market.
What did you and your partners do before starting Sol-Sense?
We all came from different backgrounds ranging from hydroponics and accounting to importing and logistics. We have a combined 20 years of experience in horticulture.
How did you get into this industry?
My business partner and I had started an importing company in March 2013. Soon after we started, a friend of ours who is a long-time grower, was planning a commercial setup and wanted us to import the equipment for him. The deal was a success and as they say, the rest is history. Six years later and we are still in the market with more than enough passion for the industry and no intentions of slowing down.
When and where did Sol-Sense begin?
North Western Sydney, March 2013.
How does Sol-Sense’s philosophy translate to opportunities?
We recognized the issues growers were facing with their current lighting systems, so we decided to research and develop alternative solutions.
What products did you initially focus on?
Grow lights have been our main product focus since we started in 2013, four years prior to launching the Sol-Sense brand in 2017.
What were some obstacles you had to overcome as you got Sol-Sense off the ground?
In the beginning people were very skeptical of our products and us because we were fairly new to the market and no one had ever heard of us. We continued to persist and before we knew it, some time had passed and growers started talking about the great results they were achieving from using our products.
How did you gain market share and recognition?
By being customer-orientated and creating a brand growers can trust.
Sol-Sense started in a garage. Have you moved to a bigger space?
Yes, we started in the garage. We then upgraded to a storage space and later we upgraded to a warehouse where we currently operate.
What is your current product line?
We are currently releasing an exciting new range of advanced horticultural lighting fixtures. The range focuses on increased essential oil production, increased efficiency, and reduced operating temperature.
Where do you distribute?
Our products are available at all trusted hydroponic outlets nationwide in Australia.
How many people now work for Sol-Sense?
We started off with just two of us and now we are five in total.
What are Sol-Sense’s strengths?
We believe that focusing our innovations on the needs and wants of growers is our core strength. We also stock a unique line of high-end products put together by an experienced team in the field of growing. We package those efforts with excellent customer service and aftersales warranty.
What are some of your proudest moments at Sol-Sense?
Not only is it rewarding to see our hard work and effort paying off, but also to receive feedback from growers who have benefited immensely from using our products.
(Read also: The Effect of Light Leaks on a Sealed Growrooms)
What significant things have you learned so far about the industry?
The industry is full of down-to-earth and honest people that are willing to support the small players so they can become big players. We are still relatively new to the industry and we intend to make our supporters proud.
What have you learned about growing a company?
It’s extremely tough, but with a bit of brains and a whole lot of hard work and persistence we are sure to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Any words of wisdom can you share about the future of the industry?
With the growing populace, resource and space-efficient farming methods are in more demand than ever. It is an exciting time for indoor farming technology and innovation and we look forward to what the future holds.
Any favorite stories from a day on the job?
There are too many crazy stories to mention but one thing we know is there hasn’t been a dull moment since we joined the industry. Every day is a new challenge and something new is learned and achieved.
What makes Sol-Sense’s employees so awesome?
The guys are an extremely knowledgeable and hard-working bunch that know how to have a good time.