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Rosemark Water TanksHow does a Civil Engineer get involved in designing water tanks shaped like a day bed? Mark Gaykema saw a problem that needed solving.

“I lived in a townhouse with a small courtyard and wanted to install a water tank and still have an entertainment area. We looked around and couldn’t find anything to suit, so I ended up designing something that would do both. That’s how Rosemark Water Tanks started,” says Mark.

The idea came about 5 years ago and like most business side hustles it has been a long slow journey. A 500-litre lounge water tank is already available with the number of sales slowly increasing and a 1,000-litre daybed tank is on the way. One of the good things about building a business slowly is that you can actively seek feedback, says Mark. “Most of the feedback has been around capacity. People want 1000 litres because they believe it improves efficiency. In reality, efficiency is a combination of capacity and how you actually use the water in the tank”.

“There is a bit of misinformation around water storage out there,” says Mark.

“Some people have expressed concern that water runoff should just be allowed to run into our rivers etc. The problem is that all the hard surfaces that exist in cities do not mimic the natural environment and water runoff from our cities is polluted with excess nutrients and this is actually bad for our waterways. It is better to reduce this polluted run-off by capturing rainwater locally using rainwater tanks”.

Mark describes it as a distributed network of water that reduces reliance on the mains infrastructure which has a number of positive financial and environmental impacts.

Mark says that the use of water tanks will increase over the coming years because most governments in Australia are making the installation of water tanks in newly built homes mandatory. This is also likely to be the case overseas eventually. To help manage this impending growth, Mark has started working with a national hardware chain that is interested in stocking the day bed tank.

“They are looking to expand their hardware offerings that are different to what Bunnings offers and that’s a great opportunity for us’, says Mark.

The water tanks can be plumbed into the house to provide water for the toilet or washing machine. Mark says that plumbing them in is definitely more cost-effective when you are building a new home.

When asked, how does he fit it all in, Mark says “it takes time to get it done and it's hard with two young kids and a full-time job that take up all your waking hours. So you work on the business when the kids are asleep. The water tank business got its start with some small grants, but now we are also selling slimline tanks, round tanks, underdeck tanks and underground tanks and we process these sales at night.” Rosemark has been selling the full range of tanks for a few years now, and have partnered with a number of manufacturers around Australia.

“We cover all states other than the NT and those sales cover the costs of growing Rosewater”, says Mark.

“The sale of water tanks waxes and wanes around water shortages and efficiency regulations, Adelaide for example, is very prescriptive around what you need which is a minimum of a 1000 litre tank”.

When talking about manufacturing, Mark said that manufacturing in Australia is always interesting, but they are lucky, “there are quite a few companies in Australia that can produce the tanks and they do it well. They will also deliver direct to customers, including a couple of times a week into Canberra”.

Rosemark has partnered with a couple of charities; the Water Project and UNICEF. “We provide a share of each sale to whichever of these charities the customer chooses. This is usually in the form of a clean water initiative or purification tablets. The customer can keep up to date with how the donation has been used and the impact it is having”, says Mark

“We got involved in this because it was a passion. We want the company to help make the world a little bit better”. Sharing revenue when you are a commercial company can be challenging, but Mark acknowledged that not having shareholders makes this a whole lot easier.

In the long run, Mark wants to grow the number of unique products they have including furniture and dual-purpose water tanks. Mark says “I want this to be a full-time role eventually and get the products seen and known and in a lot more backyards around the world”.

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