Insight to TSS
TheSpiderShop.co.uk is a specialist supplier and breeding facility for all things Arachnid based in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. Tarantulas are our speciality and we offer a massive range of popular pet species as well as the rare and obscure. Whether you’re looking for your first Pet Tarantula or some of the rarest species in the hobby, we hope to have something that will interest you.
So how did this all start? Roll back to 2003 I (Lee) had been working in a couple of jobs in Reptile trade before decided to up sticks and go farm Reptiles in Guinea Bissau (West Africa). This turned out to not be as great an idea as I originally thought, it seems once you have seen one Royal Python or Bosc Monitor you have seen them all. So I turned my interest into the abundance of interesting Insects and Spiders that where everywhere and started exporting these to Zoo’s and Collectors around the world. Being only 19 at the time it was also pretty lonely out in the middle of the bush with nothing but a transistor radio for company , one night listing to Glastonbury on the BBC World Service I decided it’s time to go back to the UK and set up a company selling exotic bugs. A week later I am back on a plane with nothing but 200 cigarettes and list of contacts from around the world.
I understood quite early on if I was going to make this work I would need good suppliers and the best way to do this would be to go meet them and turn these suppliers into friends. So off I went visiting collectors in Shanty Towns in Africa, Lady Boy bars in Asia and Red Necks in Trailer parks in Arizona among other places as well as travelling around Europe to meet breeders who I would work closely with over the next ten years.
In 2006 we moved into our first proper facility which was previously a Call centre in our local town. It was a massive building with 14 rooms so we were able to try out and experiment with a lot of things. This would turn out to be the first of one of my not so great ideas (Did I mention the lady boys?) as the rent and rates where sky high and ended up living in my office and working day and night to keep the place going. It was also above a Natwest Bank and the staff there didn’t have much of a sense of humour about the odd stray cricket. This was also when Vickie started working at TSS which was one of my better ideas.
Roll on another 5 years to 2011 and a few things of changed, I am now a father and with a new baby boy and unable to continue working day and night like I had been for the previous 8 years. So working on a the theory a problem shared is a problem halved Vicki became my business partner, I am not sure if she still thanks me now.
Also in 2011 our lease was up on the Bank Chambers building so where able to start looking for a more viable premises to run TSS from. It’s not as easy as you might think to find a good premises, we struggled to find anything suitable until we walked into our current facility and I knew straight away it would be the new home of TSS. Our new facility is located on top of the Preseli mountains which was perfect as it is easier to defend against invaders, unlikely to flood, no immediate neighbours and good transport links. The only downfall is it seems to be the Welsh equivalent of a cloud forest and rains most of the year.
The facility itself is an old train station and then turned into a unit used for agricultural artificial insemination . As it turns out people who [email protected] off cows for a living need a similar set up to people who breed spiders; insulated rooms, wipe down floors and lots of sinks to wash your hands in.
Over the last few years we have been concentrating more on breeding from our own stock and have set up dedicated rooms for breeding. Its seems of recent times that the common species and the desirable new species are regularly bred but the stuff in-between gets forgotten about so our main focus on breeding tends to be towards the more colourful mid range species. Though of course we also breed our own Curly Hairs and Salmon Pinks as well as some the latest must have spiders .
So if you bothered reading through all this thanks for your continued custom over the last 10 years and we look forward to supplying you with more great spiders for the next decade!
Lee, Caia, Vickie & Toby