Jungle or ethnic? City nomads or people who prefer the quiet life? There’s a suitable range for every target group. This is the underlying philosophy of Kolibri Company, the private label of OK Plant. With the ever-glorious Phalaenopsis in the leading role and timeless green plants as the supporting act. All against a backdrop of matching pots and other home accessories. Enter the world of the Dutch nursery!
Powered by plants
Every year, OK Plant produces over 4,700,000 high-quality orchids and 1,300,000 seasonal products. Numbers that are enough to make you dizzy! Add in the matching decorative pots and trendy home accessories and you have a success story that started back in 1990.
This was the year in which Rob Olsthoorn and his partner Desiree took over the nursery from his father in De Lier. In the beginning, the focus was on the Saintpaulia or African violet. In 2004, Rob was given the opportunity to purchase a much larger plot. A tipping point. Rob and Desiree felt that there wasn’t much future in Saintpaulia and found a fabulous alternative: the Phalaenopsis. At the time, it was a big trend in pot size 12. They wanted something else and started experimenting with 9 cm pots. But size isn’t everything. A high-quality plant also deserves high-quality added value. With this plan in mind, they began to lay the foundations of a new construction project.
A decision that has certainly borne fruit for OK Plant. The company really took off and new acquisitions followed in 2011 and 2016.
So what makes your range so special? Thijs van der Valk, Commercial Manager, explains. “In addition to 101 varieties of orchids, we also produce green plants. A few years ago, we saw that the popularity of orchids was declining and that green plants were becoming very popular. So why not combine the two? This idea, coupled with matching decorative pots and other home accessories, was a match made in heaven. A strong new consumer brand was born: Kolibri Company, a cross-pollination between Little Kolibri Orchids, Little Lizard Greens andtrendy decorative pots from our Kolibri Home collection.”
Eight interior atmospheres
Marketing Assistant Lotte van Marrewijk picks up the thread. “What really characterises us is our creativity. Not without good reason, our marketing department has three employees who explore the market looking for the very latest interior trends. We also use an external agency to keep a close eye on the trends for us. We then translate all these trends into eight different interior atmospheres. We immerse customers in these different atmospheres in our showroom, to ensure that they return home with tons of inspiration.”
Taking care of customers
This customer orientation is an important driving force for OK Plant. Thijs: “We like to think along with our customers. We offer a total solution. Our Mix & Match displays are a concrete application of this: ready-made sales units with orchids alongside matching pots. Consumers will find everything in one place and can therefore compile their own composition à la carte. By presenting plants and pots together, we are responding to the need for customer convenience. Pop a sales unit in the store, including the watering system, and you’re done. This is a good example of how we want to make things easier for our customers.”
“We also support our customers by means of in-store communication,” continues Lotte. “For example, we provide them with POS material such as mood boards, banners and flyers. We also offer distinctive collections, each with its own unique story.”
Next Generation Growing
OK Plant is not only innovative when it comes to creating and marketing the range. Innovation also means sustainable cultivation. For example, they have all the MPS certificates and participate in the PlanetProof programme. And that’s not all.
Lotte: “We also apply Next Generation Growing (Het Nieuwe Telen). This innovative cultivation strategy means that the greenhouse is dehumidified using dry outside air. A saving of 15% energy compared to regular dehumidification systems. We also keep the heat out through the use of special external screens on our finishing greenhouses. On days when it’s not too sunny, we can open them and allow our plants to enjoy natural light. We use sandwich panels during the cultivation phase, thus saving 10 times more energy than with glass. We also recycle 100% of our feed water and our 950 solar panels generate 285 KW of energy. To give you an idea, this is enough to supply up to 80 households.”
Good collaboration with Floréac
OK Plant has been working with Floréac since the start. To put it even more strongly, the fact that they now have such a strong range of plants and decorative pots might even be due to Floréac. Lotte explains. “OK Plant started out growing Saintpaulia. Floréac was one of the biggest clients at the time and when these plants came under pressure, they helped us to come up with ways to make them more attractive again. This marked the start of a range of decorative pots. We even had a special tote bag developed at the time. By means of personal communication and brainstorming, we sowed the seeds of a bond of trust that still exists today. You just know that they will keep their promises.”
The following anecdote reveals that there is certainly a click between the two parties. A few years ago, OK Plant was invited to visit Floréac to get to know the company better. Due to an incident on the road, the journey lasted six hours instead of the scheduled two hours. All the same, everyone still enjoyed themselves. Time flies when you’re having fun!
New products for Kolibri
Finally, Lotte looks ahead at the trends. “I think that customers want even more relevant information and content. We are also seeing that sustainability and socially responsible consumption are high on the agenda. Consumers are living more consciously and want to know where their plants come from.”
The story of OK Plant is still far from over. At the beginning of this year, OK Plant expanded its range to include 12 cm Phalaenopsis. A fruitful result of the acquisition of Leerdam Orchids. Kolibri Orchids has therefore gained a new addition to the range, and Kolibri Home now offers a new range of 12 cm decorative pots.