Blog of grower John van Ruijven: “Something always happen in a vase of lilies”
John van Ruijven is a lily grower and partner at Qualily. He started working at the age of 18 in his father's nursery, which he then took over early in the 1990s. The firm in Kwintsheul is 2.2 hectares in size and produces 45,000 to 50,000 stems per week.
After 38 years in the business, John still hasn't had his fill of lilies. "I have gained so much knowledge and admiration for lilies. I can't imagine growing anything else. I have encountered misunderstandings about this flower, though. Dutch consumers like to complain. They say that lilies stink, but half of the varieties don't have any scent. Or they grumble about the stains left by their pollen, even though it's so easy to fix. Let the stain dry out for half an hour, brush the garment and then hang it in the sun. The stain simply disappears."
"My passion for lilies caused me a lot of trouble once. Several years ago, the promotional committee Yourlily and I went to Moscow. We didn't have a permit for a photoshoot in Red Square. So we were running a risk of being arrested. The staff of Yourlily and the models went separately through the checkpoint, so as not to stand out. They were carrying 10 bouquets. Luckily, we did not encounter any problems. Then I walked around with a model on each arm. It wasn't easy for them to walk in high heels on the cobblestones. We managed to take some great photos without being caught. In the end, an officer even posed in one photo. So the promotion of lilies has led to some great tales."
It's all about the relationship
"Even after 38 years, I am still delighted by positive reactions from our buyers. It's fantastic that buyers appreciate our products and service provision. But I remain convinced that quality is not the most important aspect. Instead, it's all about the relationship, there must be goodwill. Bulb dealers sometimes come to visit us with their buyers. They like doing that because we have an entirely automated process to show them. This leads to bonding, which is just as valuable as supplying quality products."
Never stop working on customer satisfaction
"I feel it's important for Qualily to remain a prominent company in the future. We never stop working on customer satisfaction. Customers must speak with respect about Qualily and our lilies. They are fabulous flowers with a heavenly scent. Because the buds open at different times, something is always happening in a vase of lilies."
Growers about their passion
Together with growers and their buyers, Royal FloraHolland has been making the world a lovelier and healthier place with flowers and plants for over 100 years. With 100,000 transactions daily, trading 400,000 varieties of flowers and plants, we are the leading international marketplace and knowledge partner contributing to the success of growers and their buyers. This blog puts a face on those growers and allows them to write about their passion, for their products, their company and the horticultural sector.
Flowering the world.