Is the future of the flower markets only online?
According to Hoek Flowers, in the Netherlands it is! The Berlin Flower School was invited by this highly professional online player to their headquarters close to Amsterdam In March of this year. They process over 4000 cut flowers and plants daily and send them to 52 countries. We were shown around their high-tech vending halls and offices. They use distributing robots to collect each order. The packaging itself in their boxes is down by their workforce. They photograph each flower batch in real time from three angles so that the customer sees the product in real time when they are buying it. We were also taken to Gebera and Gemini farms to see how fast and fresh the flowers are cut and packed. Hoek cuts out the middleman and buys straight from the farmers. We were truly impressed by the variety and quality of their products. Their online system is very easy to handle and the minimum order is appropriate for professional florists. Depending on which country you are living in and how far you live from larger cities you get the flowers within 24 hours or a little more. We as a school can not deny this development, especially with heating prices so high that a lot of European growers are shutting down their businesses. Unfortunately, the future of growing flowers will be outsourced in the next years to South America with a better and warmer climate and cheaper labor. This will mean that you need short and efficient ways to get flowers online. As a design school, we see advantages on one side, having access to fresher flowers and with no middleman, right from its source. Also especially if you live as a florist in a rural area. It is a wonderful thing to have access to such a variety of flowers that your smaller local market maybe does not offer or provide. Personally, we hope though that big flower markets in the main cities still will survive and coexist next to the online players, nothing beats seeing and touching the product right before your own eyes. Also, spontaneous jobs will become very difficult without a market next door. And the social aspect of going to the flower market, and meeting other fellow flower friends would be missed. But as a school, we have decided to incorporate the online buying practice into our floristry career course to show our students all options. A heart warming thanks to the Hoek team for showing us around.