An interaction with Disha Copreaux, the CEO of Red Lands Roses, reveals a lively and quick-witted character of someone keen on the whole flower industry, and how to grow her company.
The flower farm that she manages was established in 1996 in the hinterlands of Ruiru, a small municipality roughly 35 km northeast of Nairobi, Kenya, where the altitude of 2,000 meters and the proximity to the equator are ideal conditions for the cultivation of quality roses. The company, hence, delivers haute couture roses produced in a socially responsible way.
Here, she talks about herself, her journey in the flower industry, and all that her job entails, as well as her overall view of the floristry and flower industry.
For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do?
"My name is Disha Copreaux. I am a third-generation Kenyan. I was born in Nairobi and come from a family that is focused on the agricultural and horticulture profession. I have lived and worked in multiple countries globally, and my career has mainly been within the agricultural sector. Currently, I run Red Lands Roses which is a boutique rose farm growing luxury spray roses for florists and high-end event planners. The farm is based near Nairobi in Kenya."
What is so special about your job?
"What is so special about my job is the actual running of the flower farm. This is so much fun, as no day is ever the same. Sometimes, it also is stressful because of the rate at which difficulties come your way. But the goal is to be resilient in the face of these problems and tackle them one by one as they come. Eventually, it becomes easier over time.
I love my job because the flower products that we produce and sell come with passion in them. The production processes of our flowers are done with a lot of passion. Essentially, my job has that “wow" factor in it.
Nonetheless, among the most important aspects of my job is to provide a livelihood for the more than 800 workers that we have at Red Lands Roses. They are an equally important asset for the farm because they ensure that I grow in a sustainable way that safeguards the environment."
Are there any specific challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your job, and how did you overcome them?
"There are quite a number of challenges that I have faced in the course of my job. But a key one is that the market is unpredictable and not always in a 'steady state'.
However, I am most proud of my ability to not be worried in the face of changing market dynamics, to be agile, and to find quick solutions to sell flowers. That’s how I have largely managed to address the challenges that come my way."
What are the threats in the industry, and if so, do you have any solutions for them?
"The costs of production are rising constantly and I hope that these do not render the industry uncompetitive in the long run. If these could be looked into, then the industry would definitely thrive more.
Other than that, I am proud of being Kenyan and want the country to be positioned as a leading and competitive flower grower in the world."
How has technology like e-commerce platforms or digital marketing affected your industry, which strategies have you employed to stay competitive?
"E-commerce is a natural evolution in our industry. It is a trend that is fast-growing. Many new-generation florists who have grown up with accessibility to the web will, therefore, want to procure their flowers on web shops.
Accordingly, the companies that cater to the new generation of florists through tech platforms will easily survive marketing challenges. On the other hand, older-generation wholesalers who mostly rely on walk-ins may not fare so well in the long run."
Who (in or outside the floral industry) is an inspiring example to you? And Why?
"I would say Isabelle Spindler. She believed that a luxury rose could be produced in Kenya. She executed this vision and has left a legacy of a strong brand name in the industry through her work. She continues to be an inspiration to floriculturists in Kenya and beyond."
How do you handle stress or difficult moments in your life?
"I have an amazing husband who believes in me and has cheered me throughout my professional journey. He has also coached me through the difficult moments and helped me to maneuver in this industry.
In addition to that, I also work out early in the morning a few times per week which keeps me fit, active, and energetic to face any problems that may arise in the course of the day."
What has been the best (floral or non-floral) news for you lately, or of the last year?
"In regard to this, the fact that customers increasingly care about how flowers are produced from a social and environmental standpoint is significant. It enhances concern for sustainability and the environment.
And this is great news because Red Lands Roses doesn’t just pay lip service to these standards, they are the key focus in conducting our business and a core part of our brand value proposition."
Which is your favorite flower and why?
"My favorite flower by far is the rose and my favorite variety is the Spray Rose Julieta bred by Delbard. This is a very popular spray rose globally and was first shortlisted by Ms. Spindler as a promising variety. And it, without a doubt, continues to show even greater promise."
What are you doing this weekend?
"I will be flying to New York to start my discovery of the American flower market. That would, definitely, be quite an experience!"
Well, there you have it; nearly all that you would have wanted to know about the Red Lands Roses CEO. Her flower enterprise specializes in producing and exporting spray, garden, mini roses as well as T-hybrid roses in a range of more than 180 varieties, grown naturally in greenhouses on a 100% hydroponic system. This has, accordingly, earned the flower farm recognition for green horticulture and the advancement of its neighboring communities’ welfare.
Keep it here to learn more about many others making headways in the flower and plant industries, as well as those in the sustainability space!