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"Innovation and presentation is key factor in a niche market"

Dutch grower Bert Schouten: 36,000 m2 with Aeschynanthus

"It is all about innovation and presentation when operating in a niche market," says Dutch grower Bert Schouten. With 20 years experience in the floriculture industry, he's developed sufficient knowledge about putting a floral niche product on the market.

Schouten started his floral carrier after taking over a 10,000 m2 Gerbera nursery, 20 years ago. He quickly transformed this nursery into an Aeschynanthus nursery in 1992. Over the last few years, the company kept expanding and grew different kinds of plants, including Aeschynanthus. In 2011 he decided to solely focus on one plant and currently Schouten owns a successful 36,000 m2 sized Aeschynanthus nursery in the Netherlands.

Click here to watch the company movie.

In order to stay successful in a niche market, innovation and presentation of the product is crucial, explains Schouten. Due to the fact that an Aeschynanthus is a niche product, it is important to differentiate it from other plants. Therefore, in 2001 they started propagating and breeding their own species. Currently, they own a plant variety of over 6 Aeschynanthus species and they are trying to come up with 1 or 2 new species, every year.

By anticipating the Dutch market, Schouten noticed a decrease in consumer interest towards hanging plants. "Hanging plants are for hanging plant lovers or for the older generation," says Schouten. In order to make the plant more attractive for a broader audience, he introduced a high vase that makes the plant "ready to use".

Next to innovation, presentation is very important says Bert. "People need to be aware of your existence and especially when operating in a niche market you have to present yourself." Bert Schouten Kwekerij does this in two ways; attending trade shows and investing in consumer promotion. The latter form is done by television promotion; the products are recommended in Dutch home decoration programmes. "It increases the popularity of the product and consequently the demand for the product." Next year, similar promotion activities will be held on German television.

For more information
Bert Schouten Kwekerij
Bert Schouten
Email: [email protected]