Posted on March 06 2021
One of the most common questions we see is: What is the best indoor grow system?
Obviously we believe the answer is The Armoire but probably not for the reason you might think. We understand that it's natural to assume that we HAVE to say that, merely because we produce and sell The Armoire home grow system. We can hear it now: "Of course you're going to say that!"
But it's actually a little bit deeper than that. We specifically designed and brought The Armoire to market precisely because we found so many flaws, problems and issues with the current state of the art.
Stated another way: we saw so many problems and issues in the casual home grow space that we realized we needed a better solution! We outlined a laundry list of issues and problems with the current offerings as well as the general concept of home grow itself, and then went to work to develop the ultimate solution. I'll explain.
"Home Grow" is somewhat of a unique animal in its own right. The goals, issues, problems (and solutions) aren't the same as with commercial growers, so their solutions aren't appropriate for the home. Our focus isn't just growing plants, it's growing plants at home, easily. The solution needed to meld with one’s lifestyle, not be a burden, and be accommodating to the spouse or roommate as well (ie no arguments over the smelly, unsightly tent, etc.) and be 50-state legally compliant, which tents are not.
The original genesis behind The Armoire was dozens of friends and family repeatedly approaching Vincent asking essentially the same question. The exact wording varied from person to person, but it was always some variation of the same concept: "Wow, you grow amazing plants! Can you show me how to just grow 1 plant for myself, for personal use?" The problem is that yes, Vincent grows beautiful plants, but he's been doing it longer than some of these people have been alive, and had gone to school for Botany and studied plant morphology, etc. and so forth.
But the average consumer doesn't want to have to get a PhD in Botany to figure this out. And truth be told, growing can be incredibly complicated. We're dealing with nature here - there are a virtually unlimited number of strains and genetics, and they can all do slightly weird or different things. And the plant itself is not like growing a cactus - it requires certain ranges of PH, uses certain very specific nutrients, has a specific grow cycle, uses certain portions of the light spectrum, requires certain temperature ranges, day/night light cycles, and more.
The plant can be over-watered, or under-watered. Too much nitrogen, not enough phosphorus. Don't even get me started on calcium and magnesium. Too much? or too little? 12-hour light cycle? Or 18? or 24? Watch out for bugs/pests, temperatures, mold and powdery mildew. It's a fascinating plant, but it's pretty unique and demanding.
Grow tents have been around as long as I can remember, but they present challenges - a lot of the issues I've mentioned above, and more. Bugs/pests, smell, noise, and the unsightly view of this big black canvas tent that consumes the larger part of most rooms. And more.
So Vincent started tinkering around, trying to put together a simplified solution. And then he realized it's a huge game of whack-a-mole! You no sooner fix one problem, and that causes another! The inter-related dynamics of the whole ecosystem was incredibly complicated.
The goals went beyond mere function: it not only had to be super easy to use for the novice, but also needed to be as quiet as possible, discreet and ergonomic. The requests were coming from 50+ year-olds looking to grow for medical purposes. The common refrain was "Look, I'm not trying to run a grow op here. One plant every 60 days is more than enough for my personal needs. I just want to keep it simple, for personal use." So one of the goals with The Armoire was to make it ergonomic. With its raised footprint and fully removable door, you can pull up a chair and work on the plant without having to bend over.
Another goal was discretion. We designed it to look like furniture so it blends into your room decor, unlike an unsightly canvas tent. Generally speaking, nobody with a spouse and/or family would stick a tent in their living room, but they would happily put an Armoire there! Because it's a single-plant system, we were able to design it small enough (approx 2' square) to fit nicely anywhere, including small inner-city apartments, without having to be hidden. Of course making it small presents a whole other set of challenges (i.e. lights that are too hot for such a small space, etc. or small lights that are too dinky to generate much yield).
We've solved all of these issues, generating great yields, very quickly, with minimal effort. We did this by taking a radical departure in our approach to growing. While all of the other indoor growing systems have simply done the obvious thing and tried to replicate the natural outdoor grow process indoors, we stepped back and re-engineered the grow process. We simplified it. We stacked the cards in our favor, so to speak. Then, we built our system around supporting THAT process. The end result: follow our protocol and you can water once a day and, with minimal effort, average a quarter ounce every 60 or so days.
The advantages of The Armoire over tents is pretty self evident. The closer comparison is to "fully automated" grow systems. But those present a whole other host of challenges. Aside from the fact that they're generally double the price, they are not ergonomic, mostly look like industrial refrigerators (not something that would blend into my living room decor!), some require piped-in plumbing, and most offer a whole slew of operational problems and issues. In many cases, they just simply don't work right or well. Several of our competitors have already closed their doors and either stopped shipping or never actually shipped a product in the first place!
The horror stories of water tanks letting go and ruining hardwood floors, and more, are rampant. And even when these automated systems do work, the results are often sub-optimal at best, and the customer is locked into having to purchase all of their nutrients from the original manufacturer (just hope they don't go out of business! Oops wait, a couple already have.). By contrast, ours is a nurturing, soil-based system, not hydroponic, and there's no vendor lock-in: you are not required to buy anything from us ever again if you don't want to.
But as important as all of these features and benefits are in their own rights, another huge differentiator is our Armoire Concierge Service: unlike tents and other hydro equipment that are cash-and-carry and then you're on your own (they expect you to know how to grow, or figure it out yourself, or provide glitchy apps that don't work when your seeds grows slightly off kilter), we provide hands-on service: we WILL teach you how to grow our way, in The Armoire. 95% of our customers are first-timers who have never grown before. We have hundreds and hundreds of customers growing in The Armoire: it just works.