The market for plants is doing well. They sell like hot cakes all over the world. This is also evident at Aardam, which specializes in seeds and the propagation of tropical plants. Arthur Spruit has been in the business for quite some time, and he doesn't get fazed when the market fluctuates. "Our job is a tough one, but we are committed to soundness and stable sales, and that works fine for us."
Arthur Spruit in the greenhouse
Aardam is engaged in both the trade and propagation of tropical seeds. The trade comprises almost everything in plants that can be found in the warmer regions on the planet, especially from countries like Mexico, Brazil, India and South Africa. As far as propagation is concerned, it makes sense to specialize, which is why they are now concentrating on five main crops: chamaedorea and dypsis (Areca), two main varieties of palms and the three entirely different product groups coffee, strelitzia and nolina.
"By focusing on a limited assortment, you are able to highly specialize in these products and it ensures that you are service oriented," says Arthur. At the same time, combining both activities is a delicate matter. Because if you're not careful, you could become a competitor of your own business, right?
"Yes and no", Arthur answers. "In principle, seeds are freely available to everyone, but in practice it is not so simple. Climb a mountain in an exotic location, visit a local family, and collect some seeds. Making those connections is not always that easy. On the other hand, you should also be careful to work with, not against, each other. By specializing on one thing and not doing the other, the market does find a balance."
Every customer is different
Yet Aardam is no stranger with competition. "There are peer companies that also do what we are doing, but here you see a different kind of balance emerging. Every customer is different. The size, the thickness, the wetness and the quantity per tray can vary quite a lot per customer. Everyone has their own wishes. As a supplier, you can focus on a number of these characteristics and supply in a very customer specific way."
No rush, no standstill
In short, focus is therefore important, both in assortment and in type of plant. Add to that the fact that when you have your business in order and you can supply quality year-round, you are building a strong bond with the customer and it is clear that things are going well. "Every year we produce and sell tens of millions of young plants, so in that respect we are running at full speed. But for us it's not all or nothing. The various cultivations are fairly stable and can be planned well, so we do not have extreme highs or lows during the year. Of course sometimes we have more work, but unlike many other companies in our sector there is a relative degree of regularity and structure. And that's nice."
For more information:
Kwekerij Aardam Planten B.V.
2445 BA Aarlanderveen