“Last year we were down to 10% of our sales, and now everything is backwards,” says Jose Azout, owner of Alexandra Farms, Colombian cut garden rose farm. Azout explains how they have been trying to keep up with the sudden high demand, the success of their newly added spray roses, and what varieties to expect for next year’s wedding season.
Jose Azout at FlowersExpo 2019 in Moscow, Russia.
Down to 10% sales
According to Azout, the pandemic was a challenging time for Alexandra Farms, with a reduction in sales that was unprecedented. As Alexandra Farms is mostly a supplier for weddings and events with flowers, their sales went down severely. “When the first quarantine rules started in March of 2020, we had weeks where our sales went down to only 10% of what we normally sell. After a couple of weeks of this, we decided we had to lower our expenses. We took out some hectares, and pruned some of the plants to see if we could delay production. We also had to lower the salaries of our employees. Luckily, at the end of September 2020 things started to pick up, and we were able to get all of our employees back.”
2021: “Everything is backwards”
Azout explains that this year is the complete opposite. “Everything is backwards now, we even have upset customers as we are not able to meet demand. Our farms are now producing on less hectares, we have had terrible weather, and are dealing with a scarcity of pesticides and fertilizers. As a result we are producing less flowers, but now everyone is getting married and wanting wedding flowers. Normally, things are the other way around and you are trying to sell more. But currently, selling is the easy part but supplying is difficult. We are trying to distribute in the best way that we can. These are the times when good communication with our customers is key. We try to give our customers as much information as possible on the quantities available. Most of our customers understand the difficult situation we are in.”
“Spray garden roses are taking off”
In 2020, Alexandra Farms introduced five varieties of spray garden roses to their assortment, and according to Azout they will soon be adding more. “We didn’t have any spray roses in our collection before these, and we are excited to see the positive response to them. We were talking to some designers and realized that there were certain spray colors that they were attracted to, so we decided to start adding them to our collection. We are planning to add more spray varieties to our assortment next year.”
New varieties for next year’s wedding season
Azout shares that the sand colors, skin tones and blush shades have been popular colors for weddings. In line with this trend, he shares some of the new varieties that Alexandra Farms is planting now, and introducing for next year’s wedding season. The Princess Collection will have the Princess Fairy Kiss and the Princess Pinku (Pink).
The Princess Fairy Kiss
“The “Princess Fairy Kiss” is a light pink garden spray rose with a very light blush of pink on three or four blooms per stem. It really fills out a bouquet and is the perfect blush color brides seem to be looking for.”
The Princess Pinku (Pink)
“The “Princess Pinku (Pink)” is the sister of our ‘Princess Midori (Green)’ spray roses. She is a light pink, small rose that serves best as a support or filler. It gives designers another texture to use in airy, natural looking bouquets.”
The Wabara Miyabe Brown
“The Wabara “Miyabe Brown” is the sister of Miyabi – a much darker tan version of the very popular original. Both sisters open up to 100% and are reliable and hardy. Sure to please any sophisticated designer or bride.”
The Alexandra Deluxe Just Peachy
“Just Peachy” is a spray rose with hardy, sturdy blooms. The color is a pink on the outside, fading towards white and ending in peach. Quite unique, this color pattern will help designers transition between pinks and peaches and whites in their wedding bouquets."
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