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Franck Pohu, Viridivi:

"French customer appreciates service and attention"

Just two years ago, Franck Pohu started his own plant export company Viridivi in Naaldwijk, the Netherlands. With almost two decades of experience, the Frenchman has a good sense of the market. Starting his own business has always been a long-held wish. "At a certain point, you decide: I only have one life, now I'm going to give it a shot."

But how to compete with the big boys in this market? According to Franck, it primarily comes down to service. "A Frenchman appreciates service and attention. You need to meet his needs and, above all, don't underestimate the power of personal interest and chitchat. Also, you need to visit your customers. Of course, others do that too, I did that myself all the time, but as an independent entrepreneur, you are always available and completely free to visit all your customers. Wherever they are, I try to come by at least once a year. And that is always appreciated."

Viridivi focuses on exporting plants, artificial plants, and decorative materials. Customers are mainly garden centers, not big chains, but independent stores. You have to focus, Franck says. According to him, especially the southern French market offers opportunities, partly for the plain reason it is further away, and the dependence on intermediaries is bigger.

Until recently, Viridivi was still using third-party facilities, but as of March this year, the company is renting its own box. Franck works with three employees in logistics, they rely on the services of Breewel Logisitiek, a carrier specializing in the French market. Online, orders can be placed via a webshop built by FreshPortal.

After a cautious start, growth is now well underway. "I knew what I was getting into, but of course, it's not without risks. But things are running smoothly. I have found a niche, and step by step, we are growing. Apart from southern France, I have clients in Italy and in some more exclusive destinations like La Reunion in the Pacific. Last week, we welcomed our first client in England. I am very happy about that because since Brexit, that is a challenging market in terms of phytosanitary requirements, and the fact that we can do that proves that we know what we are doing. Moreover, the growth is largely due to my employees, who oversee quality and logistics very well. Without a good team that works hard and is always willing to go the extra mile, success and growth are just an illusion. Finally, we look to the future with confidence: Currently, the market is not at its very best, but for the coming months, almost all my customers expect things to pick up again soon."

For more information:
Franck Pohu
Tel.: +31 6 12 81 72 30
[email protected]

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