This time I visit Arjen de Mare, director of Winco Holland, a specialist in cacti and succulents. Arjen manages the production company in Spain and in the Netherlands he manages the nursery and the trading company. The business exists for about thirty years. It started as a hobby, importing a lot of different types of plants, and then, over the past thirteen years, it developed more and more into the cultivation of cacti and succulents.
Winco has an enormous collection of plants; 1500 species, of which 600 species are always available. Also in different sizes. 150/200 species are also available as 'cut-flower'.
Cut Echeveria is available all year round. The team of Winco creates specific themes in which their product range is being offered. But they are also available by type. The plants are only cut when the order is in, not before, so they always offer the freshest possible product. It is a super strong product, that can be stored for up to three months without water!
The cut Echeverias are also delivered on a stick or loose, so the customer can glue them themselves. This way they can easily be used for all different types of flower arrangements. Winco provides tools for florists to be different. And that's true, you see a lot of floral designs with succulents in them these days.
What Is the history of the Product?
Succulents are native to Mexico and southern Africa. They mostly grow on the shadow sides of the mountains. They don't need heat; cold is even better, as long as it is above 8 degrees Celsius. The plants resist the cold really well, and when they are in the cold, their color and shape change. Those lower temperatures make brighter colors and harden the plants.
Keeping it Small
It's a conscious choice of Winco not to work with breeders; they do it all themselves and keep it small as well. Their breeders are working in the Spanish filial and Arjen is in constant close contact with them. The advantage of not working with an independent breeder is that they stay open to as many different varieties as possible, which broadens the diversity of the assortment. They get also many new varieties from collectors and small nurseries in southern Europe. Winco has a strong focus on propagation: the Spanish company only needs to breed and propagate. Trading comes into play when the products arrive in the Netherlands.
Arjen de Mare is specifically proud to put people at the center of the company. And to have a special position in the market, not being focused on growth, but on diversity and distinction, to be able to supply everything succulent for floral designers. Winco provides a digital link to the assortment to their customers. Florists and garden centers can choose from a huge assortment of succulents in pots and as cut flowers as well. Florists tell Arjen it's like a big candy store. This explains his slogan:
"Diversity (Winco), brings creativity (florist)."