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Ripe vs. Raw: Floweracademy

Success Factors for Purchasing

By: THURSD. | 10-06-2020 | 10 min read
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Floweracademy is a renowned Dutch institute that trains the entire chain of flowers and plants. Founder and teacher Lucas Jansen freely shares his knowledge and expertise about how the maturity of flowers determines the vase life. This long read contains need-to-know info for every floral professional.

Success Factors for Purchasing

The ripeness of flowers is one of the success factors for your purchasing. The maturity stage has a major influence on the opening of the flowers to your customers and thus determines the vase life. Floweracademy's Success Factors for Purchasing Knowledge of flowers is necessary to assess whether a flower has the right maturity stage. Every flower has its own optimal maturity stage. The trick is to assess with your purchase whether the flowers are still fresh or have finished flowering very quickly. Naturally, a number of factors play a major role in determining the right maturity stage, such as the weather, the seasons, species and cultivar characteristics, and the customer's perception. Many customers still use the criterion: “the rawer, the better”. It is up to the florist to refute this and to explain that slightly riper flowers open better.

Information Maturity at the Beginning of the Chain

In the past, various rules have been drawn up by the united flower auctions of the Netherlands on how products must be supplied at their auctions. Growers, auctions, and buyers at the auction clock, in particular, make extensive use of this. In the clock front of the auction or in the described product specifications for mediation, maturity is described with numbers from 1 to 5. Stage 1 is the rawest stage of maturity and stage 5 is the most mature stage. The better a grower sorts, the more flowers within a batch have the same stage. The so-called variation of maturity within a batch is shown with a 2-digit code. For example, the mention of 2-3 means that the maturity within the lot lies between these stages. In concrete terms, this means that in this lot you buy flowers with a maturity stage 2 and/or 3. Flowers with a maturity stage code of 1-5, on the other hand, indicate a very large variation in maturity in the lot. On the website www.VBN.nl, under the heading purchasing specifications, many types of flowers can now be found showing the maturity stages. With the 2-digit code for the variation of maturity within a batch, there is actually no longer any further work in the chain. As a florist or designer, you have to rely on your own insight and experience to assess whether the flowers have reached the desired maturity stage for cash & carries, line drivers, or other purchasing channels. Of course, the advice of the specialized sellers within these companies can sometimes come in handy. There is not any communication towards consumers about maturity stages. Customers will not come with the question: do you have a bunch of roses of length 8, maturity 3-4 for me. Fortunately, otherwise, the sale of flowers would become much more complex than it already is. The purchasing factors of the consumer are more focused on things like length, smell, fresh-looking, service, and experience.
Floweracademy's Success Factors for Purchasing
Lucas Jansen training the next generation of floral professionals

Each Flower Has Its Own Maturity Stage

How ripe or unripe a flower can be harvested by a grower strongly depends on the type of flower. What part of the flower you should ultimately look at to assess the correct stage initially depends on the gender. A few examples:

Cultivar Properties

Another element that plays a major role is the cultivar properties. Each cultivar has its own characteristics. For example:
Floweracademy's Success Factors for Purchasing
Testing the perfect maturity stage for yellow roses
Test setting at Dobbe Flowers
The quality image of the producer and the supplier is increasingly important. Under the influence of the retail chains, we already see that now they work with harvest dates, shelf life guarantee, expiry sales dates, etc. It will not be long before this will also be introduced sector-wide, including for florists. 'Mis-purchases', such as now with Valentine's Day or International Women's Day can then be prevented.

Other Factors that Play a Role in Maturity

The Idea to Inform Customers

As a tip for florists, it is an idea to use more of this information above towards your flower shop consumers. With a presentation of photos and/or vases of flowers in different cutting stages, you have a good communication tool to explain to the consumer why it is often wiser to buy more open flowers instead of unripe flowers. Here, too, communication is the key to success and removing these 'prejudices'. Knowledge is the key to success. Floweracademy's Success Factors for Purchasing About Floweracademy: Lucas Jansen has been providing courses and training courses on assortment, care, and handling, quality, and flower arranging for 35 years in 25 different countries. Visit www.floweracademy.nl for more information. In their app InfoFlowersPlants you can find the commercial range of cut flowers, house and garden plants with photos, background information, and care and handling tips. It is an innovative replacement for the books from Bloemenbureau Holland from the past.

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