Adding value to a plant or flower can improve its price or help attract new customers to buy it. Worldwide, adding value is embraced by more and more growers, which is also true in Colombia. Members of a new organization, the Association of Colombian Nurseries and Ornamental Growers (Colviveros) are actively working to add value to their products.
Piante® produces mainly Phalaenopsis plants. Nicolás Vélez points out that his company’s specialty isn’t plants, but customer experience. “Adding value is more than just upgrading the look of a plant. It’s about the entire customer experience and exceeding expectations in order to make them come back. Quality is the starting point but we emphasize the benefits of our plants by teaching customers how to handle them so they will last for years. Once our plants bloom four or five times, we are successful. We see ourselves as our customers’ partner. We are only happy with our products when they are.”
Meanwhile, creative companies have been developed to help growers communicate the value they add. One of these is De Origen-Espacios Verdes founded by David Rubiano who specializes in the design of decorative products with ornamental and live plants. The company has seen good results with ‘handmade’ products for the Colombian market. Innovation, design, presentation, but also care, handling and specific customer needs are the keywords for De Origen.
Rocia Muñoz of Plantaciones Flor Verde is still young. Being a grower’s daughter, she started her own nursery after she had earned her degree. “I didn’t want to produce the same plants that others do so I chose to focus on Calathea. Quality is not my usp, it’s simply my starting point. This requires organization which means the nursery looks neat so that when customers (wholesalers) visit, they have a pleasant experience. Plants that have been produced in a neat environment have a better chance of a long life.”
Epiflora, a production company of Orchids (mainly Phalaenopsis), focuses on online activities. “A price strategy alone is useless,” says Epiflora’s founder Santiago Piedrahita. “There will always be someone who is willing to sell at a lower price. Therefore, we focus on quality, innovation and presentation. We offer different options in size and product packaging and try to innovate by improving our assortment. We use the web to give consumers useful information about the care and handling of our plants (with videos) and we organize special web sales. By doing so we are creating a brand which gives us an emotional connection to our customers.”
Adding value can also be attained by changing your policy. Aydée and Thomas Toulemonde, whose Anthurium flowers gave their nursery a huge turnaround, focused on potted plants and adding Orchids and Bromelia to their assortment. The packaging and presentation of their plants make them highly appreciated, not only by the domestic market, but also as exports. Why? Because as Thomas Toulemonde says, “we do not sell plants in the traditional way; we propagate emotions.”
More info at www.colviveros.org