Although known for the large numbers of calla lilies that they produce, Sande Flowers now has an extensive assortment including lilies, roses, larkspur and bells of Ireland. Recently, the company has been supplying bouquets from their two nurseries in Ecuador, the majority of which are destined for the North American market. The family business that has existed for more than 25 years, is fully prepared to provide the large market with bouquets.
Rick den Dulk and Luuk van Buuren during the PMA Fresh Summit in Orlando. "A kind of exhibition where one deal is sufficient to make your participation to the fair successful"
With the bouquets, Sande Flowers focuses on the mid- and higher segment supermarkets. These are currently on the rise and, according to commercial director Luuk van Buuren, that growth will continue in the coming period. "There is a demand for good quality flowers. This allows supermarkets to distinguish themselves from the rest. You rarely see calla lilies in bouquets. It is a relatively expensive flower with a fluctuating supply all through the year. Through our years of experience we can offer them constantly and at a good price. In addition, also because of the climate in Ecuador, we also grow quality scabiosa, ranunculus, etc."
All of Sande Flowers' bouquets are bound by hand in Ecuador. Then they are transported to Miami. "With our USA team in Miami, we perform quality control on 100% of all incoming bouquets. We have inventory there for our wholesale customers. Should we discover transport damage, we will replace the damaged products. Where necessary, we also provide wet-pack service in Miami."
Focus on America
Sande Flowers supplies to more than 80 countries worldwide. 80% of the total production goes to North America, of which the largest part is shipped to the USA. "Geographically and economically, this is the most logical sales market for us, so this is what we focus on with the bouquets and consumer bunches." In October, the Sande team presented the bouquets at the PMA Fresh Summit in Orlando, Florida. There the reactions were full of praise, Luuk reports. "Although at that fair there are relatively few visitors to the stands, the people who visited our stand were potentially very valuable. This is a kind of show where just one deal is sufficient to make the participation to the exhibition successful."
The next step
In 25 years, the Dutch family business has grown into an organization with approximately 500 employees. The two nurseries in Ecuador are Rainforest Alliance certified. And the company has by no means reached the limit of its growth yet. General manager Rick den Dulk explains: "Everyone can show beautiful bouquets at a fair or send samples, but we will have to prove ourselves constantly, just as we do for our current wholesale customers. In the past year we have set up a separate mass market division for both sales and production. We are going to expand considerably and build new greenhouses. This allows us to deliver high quality products week after week and ensure that the shelves are going to be sold out. We are all very excited about it!"