Colombian flowers color Jamaican events

"Many exotic flowers are grown on this island, but everything that cannot be grown here needs to be imported", says Nicola McGrath of Jamaican wholesale company The New Greenhouse. Many flowers are used for weddings and funerals in Jamaica, and the majority of their flowers originate from Colombia. For over a decade, they purchased their flowers in Miami, but for two years now, they've been buying directly from Colombia. So, they could not miss out on visiting the Proflora show that was held in Bogota, Colombia, last month. 

Gabriella Curling and Nicola McGrath of The New Greenhouse at the Proflora 2017 in Bogota, Colombia. 

Direct import
"Actually, we import all flowers that are not grown in Jamaica", says Nicola McGrath, General Manager of the company. In 2006, they started importing flowers from Miami, but they decided to import directly from the Colombian farms two years ago. "We import all kinds of flowers, but the most popular flowers that we import are roses, chrysanthemums, carnations and gypsophila. The majority of these flowers are grown in Colombia, and we used to buy them through a third party in Miami. However, two years ago, we tried to import flowers directly from the Colombian farms and we were very pleased. First of all, it seems to be easier to buy directly from the farm and secondly, we receive fresher flowers." 

Weddings and funerals
According to McGrath, the majority of the flowers they import are used for weddings and funerals. "The Jamaican population only consist of 3 million people, but increasingly more foreigners, particularly from the US, marry in Jamaica." Funerals seem to be a big market for The New Greenhouse too. "In Jamaica, funerals are decorated with lots of flowers."

New flowers for Jamaican community
The Jamaican community is buying their flowers too, and the demand for overseas flowers seemed to have risen over the last years. "We always try to introduce new flowers to raise our sales to the Jamaicans. Lately, for example, we introduced the rainbow rose to the Jamaican community, and the reactions were very positive. We now have people who did not buy any flowers before, asking for and buying this rose." 

Building a brand
Next to importing and selling flowers, The New Greenhouse also grows anthuriums in 3.5 acres in Kingston, Jamaica. The demand for this type of flower has been quite steady over the last years, but McGrath hopes to increase the sales by establishing a brand and sell all their flowers under this brand. So, next to seeing new flowers and meeting their suppliers at the Proflora, they were also looking for materials, like sleeves that can support them in creating their branding material. "This way, we hope our anthuriums will benefit from the success of the imported flowers."

Looking for orchids
Orchids are one of the few flowers they do not import. "It seems to be becoming an important flower for weddings as many of our clients ask for this flower."

For more information
The New Greenhouse
Nicola McGrath

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