Colombian hydrangea sales are decreasing compared to the last 4 years, according to the statistics of Asocolflores, so why are growers still investing in this type of flowers? According to Estefania Garcia, Sales Manager at a 14ha Colombian hydrangea farm named Flowers Ryg, this is because there is a lot to gain, particularly from the quality side. However, customer service also seems to play a large role.
"As it’s known, this is a type of business lacking high technology to produce a good quality flower. Many growers bet all their savings to make crops more profitable and healthier, but this last one hasn’t been a common main concern. To produce high-quality hydrangeas it’s necessary to take care of not only all the measurements given by the ICA but also train all the employees who are constantly handling the flowers. It’s important to try to use certified products that ensure a long lifecycle after the cut."
According to Garcia, quality is the first challenge, then comes the brand positioning on the market. "To reach this goal properly, any grower must think about how are they going to be different, how are they going to offer the same flower, at the same price, with the same arrival conditions? This is in fact, one of the hardest challenges to face without affecting hydrangea prices."
So, how does Flowers Ryg reach this point? They are relatively a young company, but seem to have mastered the tricks of the trade in a short time. Fortunately, they have not seen their volumes decreasing. Garcia explains that good customer service is essential. "We've put a lot of effort in our customer service and it has brought us significant progress in terms of numbers, sales increase every month. On top of that, returns have gone down since communication with clients started to improve. This corporate value combined with a good quality flower helps us to jump from the break-even to real earnings faster than expected."
Flowers Ryg's main export market is the US - nearly half of their volumes go to this country - followed by Russia, Kuwait and Canada. Other countries they sell to are Italy, Romania and China. In the short term, they are eager to expand their presence in Asia and Europe and to look for new opportunities, they will visit the Proflora in Bogota, that will be held from October 2-4. In the long term, they are eager to establish their own company in the United States. "And of course, we will continue working on improving the quality of our flowers", Garcia concludes.