Liesbeth Braakman, Barendsen

´Thinking along with the next links in the chain´

The Philippines as a sales market … how did that come about?
‘I received an email from a potential customer in Manila a while ago. One day, when I had to make a stopover in Manila, I decided to drop by. A personal visit is always the best way to get an impression of the customer as well as of the market.’

And what was your first impression?
‘So crowded! It took the taxi two hours to drive ten kilometres. That immediately gets you thinking about logistics. As an exporter, you have to think along with the next links in the chain. We managed to arrange it in such a way that the plants and flowers arrive at a convenient time – in the evening or at night. And sometimes the customer collects his order from a different location.´

What kind of plants and flowers are they looking for?
´English roses, tulips, cyclamen, cymbidium, more or less our complete assortment. But as a Dutch exporter of orchids, we only play a complementary role, because there are plenty of those in the region. They do buy orchids, but not the varieties that are for sale in Thailand.

What do you think the future with regards to plants and flowers over there is going to look like?
‘Every country, no matter how poor, has a rich upper class that wants to buy flowers. But for good sales it’s even more important that there are a lot of European expatriates. They want to create the atmosphere from home, and flowers are part of that. Does that necessarily mean expensive flowers? The quality should be good, but not at any price.’

Barendsen BV, Aalsmeer
Function: Account Manager New Destinations
Employees: 65
Main markets: Europe and Middle East
Purchases: own import, auction, directly from growers