Theo Plasmeijer is the chrysanthemum authority of Dutch exporting wholesaler Hilverda De Boer. He is always straightforward in his relationships with people in the industry, including growers. "I build long-term relationships and I expect that to work both ways when it comes to honesty, transparency, and quality." So, when he shares his enthusiasm for this new single-white chrysanthemum Ilonka, you better believe that this is truly a great flower.
The Eyes and Ears
The role of a specialist buyer in any big wholesale exporter is important. They are the eyes and ears of the whole company when it comes to the state of the flowers, price levels, and available novelties. The buyer is the one who has to 'sell' his purchases to the company's salespeople and marketing staff so they are in turn able to convince their customers abroad.
Instantly Selling Ilonka
Theo: "I am a big fan of chrysanthemum Ilonka. Not only while I myself love this variety but also because our customers have picked it up really well and fast. Since the very first day when we started working with Ilonka, it has been instantly selling out at Hilverda De Boer. The quantities were small at the beginning, 3 or 4 boxes, but that grew quickly." Plasmeijer has worked with Ilonka's predecessor for many years, and with great satisfaction. "I'm not really tired of Bacardi, but part of my job is to constantly look for something new", Theo says. "However, I felt that a change was needed. At a certain point, a certain breed is becoming obsolete. In the fashion world, this happens all the time, that a particular color suddenly loses popularity and interest. In the chrysanthemum world, a variety can stay fashionable for 10 to 15 years before it gets outdated. Before you reach that point, you really have to search for a replacement or improvement."
Transfer My Positive Feeling
Theo: "My task is again to transfer my positive feeling about chrysanthemum Ilonka to my salespeople. The only way to do this is to demonstrate its reliability. When a bunch has a vase life of two, three weeks my colleagues at sales are easier to convince." What was I looking for? For a few years now we had the Pina Colada, which is a very nice variety from Dümmen Orange, and I was looking for something similar in the new single white segment. I found this in their chrysanthemum Ilonka. Especially since it is grown by top-quality grower Kwekerij Sensation. The flower is slightly finer than good-old Bacardi and whiter for sure. The heart is beautiful bright green.
For a single-white chrysanthemum to be successful, upscaling quickly is important. Gradually, growers of Bacardi will replace their crop with Ilonka to be up-to-date again with this flower fashion. It is a type of chrysant that basically can be used in all markets of the world. Theo: "For starters, Ilonka will be a chrysant for the Eastern-European markets, but it will be adopted quickly in other countries too, like the UK, and do very well there. The heavier flowers will be used in the high segment, whereas the lighter ones are perfect for the better retail bouquets. The flower is very strong, so it can be sent anywhere without doubting the quality with the florist or end-consumer."