Grower Rene van Dop: "Always looking for unique opportunities on the market"
Together with his father, Rene van Dop has run the modern kalanchoe nursery, Solis Plant in 's-Gravenzande, since 2008. The nursery occupies 3.1 hectares and grows more than 6 million plants a year.
It is the diversity in the business that I enjoy the most. Every day is different and I do many different things every day. This is the spice of life!
Most of the activities in the business are done automatically, such as moving the nursery tables, dividing the sales lots according to size, colour and maturity, and watering through a flood and drain table.
Turning a dream into reality
When I left school, I wanted to turn my dream of being an entrepreneur in horticulture in the Westland region into reality. My father had just sold his paprika nursery because he could not expand there. We got together and started the kalanchoe nursery because we knew that we could stand out on the market.
We have a fixed team in the nursery to grow our beautiful plants. Together with two colleagues, I work on the sale and promotion of the plants, among other things. Other colleagues work on the cultivation and the order processing. My father looks over my shoulder, but is gradually stepping back so that he can enjoy his pension later. Together, our team works hard to smoothly dispatch our products every day.
We mostly grow the double-bloomed Rosalina kalanchoe. We also stand out for our Grand Diva variety with its unique 2 centimetre flower. We sell this plant in the higher segment in Europe and beyond. We serve various niche markets with these two varieties.
Le Chic Blooming Jewels
We have sold the Rosalina kalanchoe under our own brand name, Le Chic Blooming Jewels, since 2013. We grow the Rosalina in seven different colours, ranging from white to red and everything in between. We supply 10.5 centimetre pot plants all year round. In some seasons, we are piloting 6 centimetrepots. We also sell pot roses and pot chrysanthemums under our own label.
Plenty of opportunities
We are always looking for new and unique opportunities on the market. As we are a fairly new company, we see plenty of opportunities for the future. For example, increasing our supply to the market by expanding the range, and promoting our Le Chic Blooming Jewels brand. Further, we are also planning to promote the uses of green flowering plants over the next few years.
Awareness of what you can do with potted kalanchoe is lagging behind. Consumers rarely know all the things you can do with this plant. They therefore either do not buy blooming plants or they always put them in the same place and same way somewhere in the house. I believe that I can change this and am looking for other interested parties to join me. To this end, we - the FPC Kalanchoë, Bloemenbureau Holland and we ourselves - recently hosted a group of women bloggers.
They will use social media to show all the things you can do with the kalanchoe. It is not entirely coincidental that the kalanchoe is the house plant of the month. This is one of the ways that we draw more attention to the product in an enjoyable way. We also put the bloggers to work. We gave them three Rosalina cuttings to grow them at home themselves. I can't wait for the blogs and to see whether the cuttings took as growing is a skilled profession!