Offering smaller growers more certainty in these uncertain times. This was one of the main goals for David Quesada to achieve when deciding to start his own business last October. Over the last decade, he has been working as a sales manager at several large and medium sized farms in Colombia and noticed the small farms' dependency on the larger farms that are exporting. "They usually sell their flowers to the larger farms, but if this larger farm can meet the demand with their own production, they won't take them. As a result, these smaller farms are left with their unsold flowers and that's a pity especially because they have good quality products. Particularly at the start of the COVID-19, it happened a lot."
After working at a medium sized flower farm in Colombia for seven years, Quesada decided to start a business on his own and he started to freelance. "In October 2020, I started a project to try to help the farms in the Savanna that usually sell their flowers to the bigger farms, to sell their flowers directly. I saw how the pandemic impacted them; due to the drop in demand, the large farms were not buying their flowers and they therefore had to be thrown away. So, I wanted to give them more certainty and on top of that, I saw a good opportunity to increase their margins - the larger farms pay less because the flowers need to go through their post harvest process. So, actually, we are cutting the middlemen."
These smaller farms need to have someone that knows the market, he thought, However, that would be another investment, which they probably won't be able to afford these times. "For this reason, I offered them to work on baseline commission - which means if I do not sell anything, they do not have to pay anything. It entailed a lot of risks for me, but I just wanted to do something to get them started. And as I am working as a freelancer, I'm able to do it as I am not attached to an office, so extra costs."
Good quality products
According to Quesada, the quality of these smaller farm is very good. "Since they are not huge, they are able to work on specific issues in a targeted manner. Therefore trying to sell a better product."
From looking for new markets till collecting the money
Over the years, Quesada gained a lot of experience. He knows the market and has made many connections. And not only in the US, from where he is based also in other countries like Russia, Japan, Spain, the UK, South Korea and a part of Europe. After selling the flowers, he arranges the documentation, transportation and cash collection."
On top of that, in is previous roles, he contributed with the website design, created Instagram pages and most of the information that was posted on the farm's bio section as well as the stories and posts.
Positive reactions so far
Quickly after setting up the company, Quesada started to work with a carnation and mini carnation grower and sales are increasing. "I started with sending samples to the US buyers I'm in touch with. They were enthusiastic and are demanding for more. However, due to COVID-19, they pulled out a lot of plants because of the lack of demand. Now, as they saw that the demand is increasing, they decided to plant back new varieties and, depending on the variety, the production will increase gradually." Also from other countries, there is potential to increase sales. "They used to sell to Japan and Russia as well and I am eager to expand markets. Currently, I'm in touch with buyers in Spain."
More farms interested
Quesada is seeing an increase in interest among the growers as well. He is currently working with another rose farm in Colombia and is eager to help more farms. "Whatever flower they are you offering, I can try to find a house for them."
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