How do you become a grower? Well, you have a deep think, write a plan, and boldly go take a look around. And then you just start. That's exactly what 25-year-old Gijs van Adrichem did. He’s been a self-employed entrepreneur since 1 July this year. He rents a nursery in Vierpolders and is running the first tests with a handful of crops.
Talking to him you get the impression that it really is that easy. One fine day - having been running the plans around in his mind for a while - he put his money where his mouth is and just called on Royal van Zanten. The company 'browsed in a catalog’, exchanged some thoughts and came to the conclusion that two types were suitable for testing. Now a greenhouse had to be arranged – which shouldn’t be a problem either. A matter of some searching. He liked the one at the Tuindersweg right away – not too big, square, overseeable, equipped with all the necessities and relatively modern – and Gijs could begin.
Gijs van Adrichem in the greenhouse in Vierpolders
Granted, a number of preconditions had already been met. As a child Gijs walked around his father’s nursery. That nursery was sold about 10 years ago, but his father remained active in the sector, in the capacity of crop advisor. And Gijs followed a vocational and higher professional education, which taught him the necessary theory about cultivation and horticulture. And a job as a student at RijnPlant, and a year later at Sion, made for some experience and the necessary connections.
On some 9000 meters there are now mainly bouvardias in pots and chrysanthemums, intended to be marketed under the Royal van Zanten brands Bellevardia and Skyfall. Gijs sights are particularly set on the first. "That it had to be pots was clear to me; cut flowers just aren’t my thing.'' Large, tropical plants or, for example, orchids are very capital intensive making starting from scratch very difficult - so it was logical that he’d end up with smaller plants, seasonal crops or bedding plants.
Do something no one else does
You have to differentiate yourself, this every entrepreneur knows. "Bellevardia is a small product in one pot size. I'm going to try to expand the market by making the product in pot size 9 cm. I also believe that cultivational and other improvements can be made. Also it's exciting for Royal van Zanten, to see if its varieties will also do well in other pot sizes and other cultivation setups."
Will the undertaking be a success? Louis van Dijk, who supports several breeders and Gijs in sales under the name AllsenzA: "You must have a crop that suits you, with which you can distinguish yourself, that gives you a good feeling and also had the proper facilities. He won’t make it with that section of violets he has there, but he potentially has a good thing with the bouvardias, of course on the condition that he learns the ropes."
Successful in any case
It will be a learning process in any case. The unforeseen heat wave a couple of weeks ago, for example, boosted the plants. A good example of something you don’t see coming, but for which you have to be prepared. But there’s still time. Gijs won’t start running numbers until next season.
And even if it unexpectedly doesn’t work, it's a tremendous experience. After all, Gijs also realizes, he is young and full of energy, has no wife or children and no mortgage or other misery easily acquired in life. Not to mention no staff. Finally, Gijs takes away the last doubts, he only needed some modest savings to start. "Also in that regard much more is possible than you might suspect. And anyway: In this adventure I’ve encountered benevolent people almost everywhere."
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Gijs van Adrichem
3237 MB Vierpolders