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Colombian grower Flor Andina expands Antique Hydrangea range:
"New grades and colors open doors to new markets"The process of giving the hydrangeas the 'antique' look is challenging and used to be possible for the jumbo grades only. Colombian hydrangea grower Flor Andina, however, invested years in developing a technique to age their hydrangeas in an earlier stage and introduced their first Antique Hydrangeas in different grades and colors, four years ago. Over the years, they increased markets and production. This year, they will be able to supply 20,000 stems per week.
Flor Andania is one of the first Colombian companies that began growing and exporting hydrangeas and currently owns 34 farms which all together have 60 hectares of hydrangeas cultivation. They developed the Antique Hydrangea varieties at their largest farm, where they modified their soils, luminosity and some other conditions for this particular crop.
"In our search to bring to the market different products at Flor Andina, we have created a laboratory that allow our dedicated people to trial new varieties and modify the ones that we already have, looking to achieve an incremental innovation of our products. In 2015, after 2 years of research the company was able to modify its Jumbo Antique Hydrangeas - that were already known in the market - and expanded the range of these antique hydrangeas, developing a product line of four different flower grades (Select, Super Select, Extra and Jumbo). It, in turn, created a very interesting item in our portfolio for our customers", says Andres Escobar, Flor Andina's International Sales & Marketing Manager.
Antique Hydrangeas in different colors and grades.
Vintage products trendy
Since the introduction of these new varieties, Flor Andina have seen a sharp increase in demand. "We think that this increase is firstly connected with the market trend to have vintage products, that makes that customers find in the antique hydrangeas a good alternative. And next to offering the traditional Jumbo grades, we started to offer different colors, followed by new grades, made it even more interesting."
Even though many of the customers were happy with the introduction of new varieties, several had doubts regarding the vase life and quality of the smaller grades. So, in order to convince their customers the quality of their products, they visited the USA twice to show their products. "We paid a visit to some wholesalers to talk with buyers and sales people about the products, to show them personally and to see the results once they tested each flower at their facilities." And visiting the USA seemed to be a good decision. "We came back home really happy with the results and the Antique hydrangea in different colors and grades became a success."
Increase production and markets
The positive reactions encouraged Flor Andina to increase the production and think about new opportunities into the channels they already had, with other segment of clients. "Regarding our list of products, the Antique Hydrangea changed everything as it simply became something we needed to be able to offer in bigger quantities." So, this year, they increased their production from 8,000 stems per week to 20,000 per week.
At the same time, they have opened new accounts in countries like Chile, some others in Canada and opened new markets in the USA. "Three years ago, we were not used to working directly with wholesalers in the USA and despite their volumes are not as big as what we move with clients that goes to supermarkets, it is still a very interesting segment of clients since we can show our brand directly by packing the products in our own boxes. This is something that not many customers in the supermarket business allow us to do." Flora Andina's wholesaler clients have been the first kind of clients that started to supply the new Antique Hydrangeas to florists, event planners, wedding planners among others.
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