How to Start / Open A Flower Vender / Seller Business in Kenya

Nairobi Flower Vender / Seller Business Plan (Kenya)



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Quick Facts about The Kenyan Flower Industry

The value and volume of Kenyan flower industry has been growing continuously over the years.

Kenya Flower Sales ( In Tonnes)

140000

120000

T100000

o

n 80000

n 60000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenya Flower Sales ( In Tonnes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

e

40000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1988

2006

2009

2010

2011

2012

 

 

 

 

Year

Value of Flowers Exported From Kenya:

2011 – Kshs.44.5 billion

2012 - Kshs. 42.9 billion.

Major Kenyan flower market is Europe

Flower exports contribute about 1.6 % of GDP

The Kenyan flower industry is estimated to sustain about 600,000 people directly and indirectly.

Rising production costs are starting to make Kenyan flowers less competitive, and there is an increasing preference to flowers from Ethiopia and India.

Main Cut Flowers Grown In Kenya

 

Roses

53.6%

 

 

Easter Lilies

26.5%

 

 

Arabicum

4.1%

 

 

Carnations

3.1%

 

 

Hypericum

1.98%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Domestic Flower Market

The value of the Kenyan domestic flower market is not well documented. This is because the major flower firms don’t put much emphasis on the domestic market and any sales they make locally are considered miscellaneous. The Kenya Flower Council does not have actual statistics of the value of flowers that end up in the domestic market. However estimates by the council and data from a number of individual farms approximate only about 5 % of flowers produced in Kenya find their way to the domestic market.

The big farms consider the local market immature logistically and in terms of returns. Moreover there isn’t a developed flower culture in Kenya, with flowers being often bought on a one off as- need-be-basis.

Local prices are considered less attractive compared to those fetched in international markets. In addition there are flower farms that fear if they offload a majority of their produce locally they could lose some of the incentives that the government gives to flower exporters.

Small holder flower farms are more open to the local market. One of the reasons is the cash nature of the market, which can provide them with needed cash flow. Another is their struggle and capacity to meet stringent export conditions.

The smaller traders also want to maximize on their produce, and rather than throw away flowers which do not meet export specifications they sell to local traders. As will be seen a big percentage of flowers sold in the domestic market are not export quality, rather they are of a

lower grade which can’t be sold in Europe.

Soko La Maua

In an effort to grow the domestic flower market the Kenyan Flower Council launched an initiative named Soko La Maua in 2007 whose main aim was to increase domestic consumption of flowers and brand Nairobi as a flower capital. This was by working with farms, vendors and members of the public.

Flower farm owners were to be encouraged to take the local market more seriously, for instance by selling export quality flowers and not discards in the local market. Also small scale farmers were to be encouraged to grow flowers focusing on the local market with the same vigor they give the international market. Vendors were to be trained on marketing and the art of flowers, while the public were to be persuaded to appreciate various ways they could use flowers for aesthetics, entertainment or to express emotions.

The campaign started well with vendors trained and attending flower exhibitions and some small scale farmers selling export quality flowers to local vendors. Additionally the then city council committed itself to building a cold storage and allow vendors to set up tents and tables along the

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city streets from which to sell flowers, at least once a week.

About 120 vendors were trained on marketing and various aspects of flowers, while some small farmers agreed to focus on the local market. Presently (2014) Soko la Maua efforts appear to have ebbed out. Even the plans by the Nairobi county authority to set up a cold storage facility in the city have been shelved.

At the moment the domestic flower market is growing more out of organic efforts driven by the pursuit of business opportunities and changing lifestyle.

Discussions with flower vendors and distributors point to Nairobi as the largest domestic market for flowers. The attractiveness of Nairobi by vendors is due to the diverse population in terms of culture, income and social exposure.

There are also competing organizations of different sizes and backgrounds that provide a big base for potential customers. The diversity ensures there is a pool of customers big enough to profitably` sustain a florist.

Value of the Flower Market in Nairobi

Though it’s estimated that only 5 % of flowers produced in Kenya end up in the local market, it would be crude to estimate the value of the domestic market as 5% of the total exported. Say 5 % of Kshs 42.9 billion in 2012. This is because there are large variations in price and quality between the local and export market, in favor of the latter.

A more realistic approach would be to estimate the value by considering the number of vendors and their average monthly sales.

This will become clear below.

Structure of the Nairobi Flower Market.

The Nairobi Flower Market operates at 4 levels:

Farmers

Distributors / Wholesalers

Retailers

Consumers

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FARMS

WHOLESALERS RETAILERS CONSUMERS

The most commonly used flower supply chain in the domestic market is from Farms to Wholesalers then to Retailers before ending up with Consumers. However increasingly wholesalers are finding ways to bypass retailers and directly supply consumers especially those buying in bulk.

Also there are retailers who bypass wholesalers and purchase directly from farms. Let’s look at the overall Nairobi flower market through operations of each of the players and their role in the market.

Wholesalers / Distributors

We established 94 flower distributors/wholesalers in Nairobi. The figure only includes those distributors who purchase directly from flower farms and sell to retailers in different parts of the city. It excludes those retailers who sort of act as brokers: purchasing from distributors then reselling to other retailers within the city. The number of distributors could be higher by a factor of 20 to 50 considering that nowadays there are many one time flower ‘suppliers, who purchase from farms and directly sell to large consumers, for instance wedding couples. Such are hard to trace.

There are no special requirements needed to become a distributor. At the very basic level what one needs is capital which could be as low as Kshs.5,000, a flower farm ready to sell flowers at wholesale to you, a means of transport to get the produce from the farms to the market and definitely retailers ready to purchase from you.

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There are quite a number (we identified 27) who operate informally without any form of registration or license, not even a trade license. Also some of the distributors use taxis and public means of transport to get the flowers to the market.

However beyond the basics to succeed wholly as a distributor a good understanding of the flower market both on the side of the farms and retailers is needed. Until the early 2000s part of the flowers sold in Nairobi had an element of illegality in them. Workers in flower farms sneaked out stems which they then sold to wholesalers.

The other source of supplies and which still forms a big part of the flowers presently sold in Nairobi are rejects; flowers grown locally but which don’t meet export quality. Rather than throw them away, many farms sell to wholesalers who in turn sell to retailers. The flower consumer in Kenya is assumed not to be so demanding as far as quality is concerned. For instance rarely will customers complain about stem length or head size.

That is slowly changing though. There are now more consumers of diverse backgrounds and exposure who are particular about the flowers they need. Also the Kenya Flower Council has been persuading farm owners to sell high quality flowers to local vendors in an effort to boost local consumption.

In most cases there are no strict restrictions as to who can purchase from a flower farm. It’s a walk in walk out affair, on a come first served first basis. Still with time relationships with farm managers or personnel in charge of selling the flowers comes in handy for example when there are shortages. Certain farms work with only particular wholesalers while others limit the quantity they sell to individual wholesalers so that each gets a share however small.

Many farms have a low threshold of conditions when it comes to selling to wholesalers. As long as one agrees with the price and other terms such as mode of payment they are willing to sell. There are wholesalers who specialize in particular flowers, while others tend to have a little of everything.

Upon purchase wholesalers transport flowers to Nairobi. The wholesalers don’t have permanent base in Nairobi where they operate from, rather they come offload the products to retailers leave only to come again when they have or anticipate new orders. On average a wholesaler makes deliveries four times a week.

The City Market sandwiched between Koinange Street and Muindi Mbingu is the epicenter of the domestic flower market in Nairobi. This is the first and major stop of flower distributors targeting the Nairobi market. Normally the flowers are delivered at the City Market everyday between 3am and 9 am. The early delivery hours are a result of a combination of tradition, perishable nature of flowers and consumer habits.

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If a wholesaler purchases flowers from a flower farm in Naivasha today late in the afternoon he will seek to get them to the market in the shortest time possible because neither does he have a storage facility nor do the retailers. The shelf life of a flower say a rose is 3 to 4 days depending on weather and storage conditions. This means that the faster the flowers get to the market the better. Standing order customers like churches and offices also expect fresh batch of flowers everyday in the morning. Mourners also tend to purchase wreaths in the morning.

About 90 % of the flowers sold in Nairobi are distributed from the City Market. It’s common to find vendors from other major flower points in Nairobi such as Nairobi Hospital and Westlands purchase from distributors or vendors at the City Market, who at that point act as wholesalers.

Other than tradition and the fact that the City Market is the oldest, there is no clear reason as to why wholesalers have not diversified to other markets. One possible reason is the attractiveness of the City Market in terms of volume. Also at the market there is diversity of vendors enough to absorb a variety of different qualities and types of flowers. It makes economical sense to supply where there are a big number of vendors. Another reason given by some distributors is that the other markets don’t “wake up early enough”. Thus distributors prefer to go to the City Market where they are assured of customers. A vendor from any other location can go purchase there.

The market is pretty open though it takes time to really build lasting relationships with vendors and grab the market proper. Vendors’ loyalty to distributors is not obsolete. If they get a better consistent offer they shift to the next to wholesaler.

Vendors are motivated by profit, and if a wholesaler comes into the market and offers a better deal in quality and prices they could move. Still relationships beyond price matter, for instance the extension of credit facilities, quality and reliability.

So if a distributor walks to City Market with flowers will the vendors defect? If the prices and quality are fair enough they will be tempted to consider your offer. Otherwise with no clear advantages it will take quite some effort to penetrate the market. Some of the vendors and wholesalers have been in the business for over 15 years, during which they have built deep mutual relationships. Without obvious advantages there will be no motivation to break such associations.

There are no cartels controlling the market. On any morning a wholesaler can take their produce to the market, and make an offer to retailers. The market is that open in terms of entry. Other wholesalers use existing retailers to enter the market. They sell to the retailer at a price slightly lower than he would have sold in the open market. On his part the retailer uses his knowledge of the market to distribute to other vendors. The wholesaler saves himself the hustle of entering and conquering the market, of course at a slightly lower price.

A method used by some wholesalers to gain market share is to lobby individual vendors. The market needs also tend to change so that at some point there are shortages or oversupply of

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certain flowers, leveraging this in the right way can be a way to enter the market. During shortages some flower farms will sell flowers in quotas, having the advantage of foreseeing such shortages and strategies to overcome them and satisfy the market can help a wholesaler grab a percentage of vendors.

Outside the City market there exists, in our view, higher potential to win a bigger share of the market. Such vendors feel what they consider as lack of full recognition by wholesalers, due to the fact that often they have to go to the City Market for supplies. Whether they are buying directly from wholesalers or other retailers, selling it raises costs directly and indirectly in the form of time and convenience.

So if a wholesaler is able to provide the convenience of delivering outside the City Market, at the right price there will be higher chances of winning vendors operating in such spaces. Challenges could possibly be in terms of delivery times. Also in small markets there might be issues with getting enough numbers to make the effort worthwhile. Still such markets are more open to new wholesalers. There are wholesalers already trying to penetrate the market, but opportunities still exist

Revenue (Wholesalers)

On average wholesalers put a mark up of between 20% and 40 % of farm prices. The wide range is influenced by source, season and the market they are supplying. The average sales per delivery for a wholesalers at the City Market is Kshs. 12,000

Highest sales recorded was Kshs. 168,000

For more exact figures revenue see Retailers Revenue below.

So in Summary:

To become a flower wholesaler/distributor in Nairobi what one needs to basically do is Identify a source of flowers, which will be flower farms located conveniently

Identify the market to supply to. Find out the prevailing prices, demand and supply dynamics. These change from time to time. As a new wholesaler it pays to have a near perfect fit in the market. When approached politely and friendly most vendors share information of their needs.

Purchase flowers from the farm and deliver to the market as soonest as possible. In Nairobi flowers are delivered early in the morning between 3am and 8am. Having an own means of transport eases the whole process. An own means of transport also gives the wholesaler the freedom to purchase sufficient quantities.

Due to the logistics of sourcing, and the times it takes for retailers to dispose the flowers they receive most wholesalers make deliveries 3 to 4 times a week.

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Though retailers are open to changing wholesalers, they have developed working relationships with suppliers. Some of the advanced relationships involved vendors ordering only from particular suppliers, requesting for deliveries if their stock sells off faster than anticipated, and extension of credit facilities. This means though anyone can park their pick up with flowers at wholesale price at city market or any other flower spaces, it’s not automatic that vendors will purchase from them. Building some linkages before hand would really help penetrate market.

On the face of it price is the biggest consideration among vendors. There is some room for price based competition as a wholesaler. The ability to compete on price will depend on the source of flowers, the margins a wholesaler wants, quality and type of flowers and how you manage your costs.

Quality is another key consideration. Quality implies the general aesthetics of the flowers and how fresh they are. Few vendors want to compromise quality for price. They don’t want the flowers they are selling to be of a lower standard than what else is being offered in the market. This is because they know it will be harder for them to dispose the low quality flowers, when everyone else has higher quality flowers at the same price. Also they don’t want to acquire a reputation of poor quality.

Supplier retailer relationships matter too. For new entrants more work is needed to develop such relationships and break existing once. One of the best market entry strategies is to talk to vendors beforehand rather than bump into the market blindly. Ask what they want, make an offer, agree on the date of delivery and prove your reliability.

There are no tough barriers to entry in the business. The biggest barrier is lack of information about all levels of the market, and perceived challenges of entering and sustainably conquering it. This has made the number of wholesalers to grow at a slower rate as compared to those of retailers. However an increase in the number of retailers and demand for flowers will attract more wholesalers to the market. Relatively high returns (as compared to other businesses with an equal investment) will motivate entrepreneurs to overcome the barriers. Competition at the wholesale level will thus increase. The domestic market is expanding at the retail level; it can profitably sustain an extra distributor.

The critical success factor in the business is the ability to find fairly priced and quality supplies, and better still the capacity to offer vendors a better deal than they are enjoying at the moment; price, quality, terms, relationships and convenience being key considerations.

When transporting flowers from the farms wholesalers package them in boxes depening on size, type and quality.

Wholesalers aim to dispose the stock they purchase from a farm in a single delivery. If they are not able to do so in a day at times they sell at throw away prices to recover costs or cut losses. Still many have managed to gauge the demand in the market and optimize their supplies accordingly.

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Some wholesalers undercut retailers . For instance if a wholesaler gets wind of customer seeking to purchase flowers worth Kshs.10,000 at a retail price, he can comfortably offer the same for Kshs.5,000.

Among the flower farms around Nairobi from which wholesalers commonly purchase supplies from include:

-Karen Roses

-Kibubuti- Banana, Kiambu

-Kalka Roses- Kiambu.

-Pipi Flora – Naivasha

-Magana Flowers - Kikuyu

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Flower Retailers / Vendors

Nairobi Flower Vendors Association a somehow lose organization of flower vendors in Nairobi puts its membership at about 250. However not all flower vendors in Nairobi are members of the organization. We counted 359 flower vendors in various parts of Nairobi. Considering those who could have escaped our census, like those operating informally, with no premises, and only showing up to supply to events we can comfortably say there are about 450 flower vendors in Nairobi. The figure also includes shops, like some cosmetic outlets, selling flowers as a side business.

In 2008/2009 a figure by the Nairobi Flower Vendors association put their membership at 127. In 2010/2011 Kenya Flower Council estimated there were 200 flower vendors in Nairobi. The observable trend is that there has been a decline in formal brick and mortar florists but an increase in informal vendors. A considerable percentage of vendors have established flower businesses in new markets like estates. There are also more vendors experimenting with online shops.

Flower vendors are distributed in various parts of the city with concentration in areas considered strategic. City Market is the most established and leading flower market in Nairobi. City Market in this case includes vendors operating in exhibition halls in nearby streets like Biashara, Market and Turbman. Other spaces are Nairobi Hospital, Westlands, City Mortuary, Langata Cemetery, City Park and Gigiri area. There are also smaller markets in areas like South C and Hurlingham.

Generally there are no major barriers to entry in the flower retail business. Anyone with the capital, a link to a distributor, and premises can start the business. For vendors operating in the open air or on social websites such as Facebook the capital required could be as low as Kshs.2000. On the other hand distributors are readily available; many retailers outside the CBD and operating in estates start by purchasing from the City Market. Skills in flower arrangement are easy to acquire just by observation even without formal training.

Premises and especially prime premises in areas with economies of location (areas already known as flower zones) are competitive, tricky or expensive to get. For instance getting space at the City Market to sell flowers is difficult because tenants rarely vacate, and when they do the space is ‘transferred’ on friendly and family basis rather than on a competitive or first come first served basis. Retailers who sell in the open air are considered like hawkers rather than full traders. They pay a daily council fee of Kshs.50 rather than a general trade license.

Nevertheless such space barriers are not big enough to discourage more entrepreneurs from venturing into the business. Opportunities as represented by lifestyle white weddings, funerals, graduation ceremonies and other parties are attracting more small investors into the business.

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Space barriers are broken by starting operations in non traditional markets or simply virtually through websites or Facebook groups. Other barriers have to do with market information regarding supplies, margins and licenses. Such barriers are being broken down through research, learning on the job, information shared on internet forums, and entrepreneur’s forums.

A big percentage of flowers in Nairobi are sold through traditional open air vendor markets. About 70 % of flower vendors in traditional flower markets like the City Market and City Park have been in the business for over 15 years. About 45 % have secondary education, 30 % primary education, 12 % with post secondary education and about 13 % going through a few years of secondary and primary education. Their mean age is 41 years. Men form about 84 % of total vendors while women are about 16 %. Early business hours could have discouraged more women from getting into the trade.

Many years in the trade have named the vendors very sure of what they want regarding flowers. They are able to predict demand, trends and the kind of relationships they want with suppliers. Also some have managed to capture corporate accounts and standing orders both from organizations and regular individual consumers.

Generally vendors operating in the city can be classified into:

a)Open air market vendors: These vendors operate from open air spaces, temporary stalls, pavements or such other places. They dominate the market both in terms of sales and numbers. The city authorities consider them more like hawkers rather than fully fledged traders thus charging them daily hawkers fee rather than an annual license. Though they operate this way, giving an impression of informality, a percentage of them especially the oldest of them are well organized in their businesses in a way that they have secured corporate clients. They also have a very good understanding of the market.

b)Brick and Mortar florists – These are the equivalent of professionals in the market. Slowly they have been edged out of Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) by changing business environments which have driven many of their walk in customers out of the CBD. Others have had to move due to change of landlords and hence use of buildings.

There are a few remaining and to survive many have had to diversify. Brick and mortar florists have the disadvantage of paying rent which drives their prices up as compared to open air vendors who only pay a minimum monthly amount. However outside the CBD there are more brick and mortal florists. The most successful are located in prime locations where there is a big pool of the right customers to sustain the business. Brick and mortar flower vendors are considered professional florists who have a realistic understanding of what flowers mean or even floral arrangements.

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c)Briefcase Florists – These are sort of middlemen or part time florists. They look for orders to supply events like weddings corporate functions or even government institutions. For instance they bid for organizational tenders. Their understanding of flowers is sometimes not deep. Once they get an order they source from other vendors or farms. If specialized skills like flower arrangements are needed they hire specialists to do it. For some their major skill is the ability to lobby for orders.

d)Online Flower Vendors – These sell flowers through websites, Facebook groups and pages. Their main target being individuals seeking to send flowers to lovers, family and friends hustle free. Most don’t stock any flowers, rather they purchase from vendors the moment they receive an order. Some promise to deliver within 90 minutes while other needs a lead of between 24 and 48 hours. There have been mixed successes with these. Some closing, some struggling and others are doing fairly well.

Essentially there is nothing that prevents retailers from purchasing directly from flower farms. They too can walk to a flower farm and purchase whatever produce they need. However balancing between directly sourcing and retailing is hectic. To conveniently source one needs an own means of transport, not necessarily for ferrying the cargo but also to be able to move from farm to farm especially when there are shortages , or looking for particular types flowers .

Farm timings too would conflict with the operations of a successful retail operation. Taking into account such limitations players in the market have segmented and specialized. Distributors remaining as distributors and retailers as retailers. Of course there are a number of retailers who source directly from flower farms, same way as there are a number of distributors dabbling in retail. These are the exception rather than rule. Although as mentioned a large percentage of City Market retailers act as middlemen for many vendors in other parts of the city.

Retailers source as need be. They gauge their standing orders, and also predict how many walk in customers they will receive. Due to the perishable nature of flowers they seek to purchase just the right quantity of flowers.

Though the City Market can be said to be the dominating of the markets, at an individual level no single retailer can be thought of as dominating. There are those who make more sales than others but it’s not to an extent that they can be said to have a larger than normal grip of the market.

Success of a retailer depends on the location of the business, his supplier and more importantly his marketing efforts. Some of the retailers recording higher than average don’t just sit and wait for walk in customers; rather they go out looking for corporate clients or individuals who give standing orders. Depending on the location the taste of walk in customers varies. For example at the city market majority of the walk in customers are looking for wreaths and other burial related flowers. At Nairobi Hospital and City Park roses for compassion and love dominate.

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None of the vendors complained of outright losses, rather they talked of occasional low returns.

In Summary

-There are minimal barriers to become a retailer. All one needs is a space from where to operate from, a link to a wholesaler, and some capital. Space in key flower areas like the City Market, Nairobi Hospital, Westlands, City Park and other such areas is tricky and competitive. Space in non traditional flower locations like growing and upcoming estates is much easier to get. Vendors operating in the open air and high traffic areas record relatively higher revenue.

Wholesalers can be found at the City Market every morning between 3AM and 9AM. Alternatively a retailer can purchase flowers at slightly higher but negotiated prices from the vendors at the City Market. The prices are still low enough for a vendor to make profit when selling in other parts of the city.

Capital required is relatively minimal. Other than the cost of premises the money needed to purchase stock could be as little as Kshs.1000.

-There are no special licenses required to start a flower vending shop.

-Flower arrangement which is the basic skill required is easily acquired by observation or experimentation and creativity.

-Mark up in the business averages 200%.

-Customers purchase flowers either impulsively or in a premeditated manner. The latter are the most common with some general (I want flowers for my wife) while others are e specific (I need pink roses and some daisies for my wife). Impulsive buyers are often attracted by the look of flowers, or how creatively they are arranged. ‘Planned’ consumers have higher chances of being regular. Both kind of customers are attracted and tempted by easy accessibility and aesthetics.

-Retailers who record above higher revenues rely on both walk in customers and

‘external’ customers who they acquire by marketing efforts. External customers could be individuals or better still organizations giving standing orders.

-The average spend per individual customer for one purchase is Kshs.500. Higher amounts could be as much as Kshs.9,000

-Traditional retailers are trying to modernize by using Facebook and other online forums to market. This usually by having a relatively younger and savvy person assisting them. Some even hire creative young people to assist in the flower arrangement.

-The Catholic Church is quoted as one, if not the biggest order customers in Nairobi. Catholic churches usually order flowers on average four times a day, but reduce the quantities during Lent.

-Competition in the business is increasing. Competition in traditional ‘flower’ areas is intense, though there are enough customers to profitably sustain the retailers. One of the advantages of the open air vendors is that their costs are low, thus they are able to break

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even and turn a profit relatively easily. This is as compared to brick and mortar florists who have to factor higher cost of rents and facilities such as electricity. To succeed Brick and Mortar florists need to be located in spaces with a high traffic of potential customers

-The most successful of vendors whether open air or brick and mortar are those that go out looking for customers rather than wait them to just walk in.

-The critical success factors in the business are location, marketing, supplies, hence pricing and quality.

-Retailers in the key flower areas in Nairobi operate for 7 days. Partially the reason for this is the fear by a vendor if he doesn’t open on a particular day; clients loyal to them will defect to the competition, where they could be enticed by lower prices and higher quality. Elderly regular customers tend to be the most loyal to particular vendors, while customers with above average income are less loyal instead going for whoever is offering the best quality on a particular day.

-Vendors prefer standing order customers like organizations and doctors because they offer a level of revenue stability, also they purchase at higher prices.

-Customers go for the best quality at the lowest price. There is a big room for negotiation in the business. Because there is no very well developed flower purchasing culture many new customers are not sure what is a fair price to pay. Retailers take advantage of that to make extremely high margins.

-Red roses are the most popular and fastest selling flowers.

REVENUES

The exact mark up of flower vendors vary from season to season, and depend on the kind of flowers, suppliers and location. The mark up ranges from 30% to even 400 %. Here are sample wholesale and retail prices of a vendor at the City Market.

 

Type Of Flower

Wholesale (Kshs.)

Retail

 

 

Roses ( All - Red, Yellow,

80 per bunch of 20

Ksh.20 per stem

 

 

White)

 

 

 

 

Leather Ferns (Small,

30,40,50

50, 100, 200

 

 

Medium, Big)

 

 

 

 

Carnations

150 per bunch of 20

450 per bunch

 

 

Gladiolus

250 per bunch of 20

50 per stem

 

 

White Lilies -

50 per bunch

200 per bunch

 

 

Tiger Lilies-

400 per bunch

800 per bunch

 

 

Color Lilies-

200 per bunch

750 per bunch

 

 

Daisy

100 per bunch of 20

40 per stem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The above are average prices in March 2014. Flowers are not always sold in bunches, rather its common to make bouquets by mixing different types of flowers. The vendor tries to use the flowers in a way to maximize returns.

Prices too are not fixed and not the same among all vendors. A lot of price discrimination exists. Sometimes there is even a triple variation even in prices between two customers largely depending on their perceived social and economic background. For instance higher prices are quoted when selling to foreigners as compared to local Kenyans. There is also so much room for negotiations.

Outside the City Market prices for the same quantity and quality of flowers tend to be 20% to 200 % more. This is because of higher rent in the areas, higher income customers, and the fact that some are selling what they bought from vendors at the city market.

At Kshs. 14,000 in a day Florists at Nairobi Hospital Stalls record the highest average sales in a day for the vendors in the city. The highest recorded daily sale for a vendor in the market was Kshs. 47,000. Majority of the customers are family and friends purchasing flowers as they visit patients. Also the vendors have a lot of standing orders servicing the nearby doctor clinics and corporate offices in the upper hill area.

Average daily sales of a vendor

Kshs.1300

Lowest amount recorded

Kshs.300

Highest amount recorded

Kshs. 160,000

Average amount spent by a city market vendor purchases from supplier in a week – Kshs.11, 000

Wholesale & Farm Prices

As mentioned on average wholesalers put a mark up of 20 % to 50 % of their buying price from farmers. Below are mark ups of three different wholesalers supplying a variety of flowers as shown.

 

Type Of Flower

Farm Price

Wholesale Price

 

 

 

(Kshs.)

(Kshs.)

 

 

Roses ( All - Red,

50 per bunch of 20

80 per bunch of 20

 

 

Yellow, White)

 

 

 

 

Leather Ferns (Small,

20,20,30

30,40,50

 

 

Medium, Big)

 

 

 

 

Carnations

100 per bunch of

150 per bunch of 20

 

 

 

20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gladiolus

170 per bunch of

250 per bunch of 20

 

20

 

White Lilies -

40 per bunch

50 per bunch

Tiger Lilies-

300 per bunch

400 per bunch

Color Lilies-

150 per bunch

200 per bunch

Daisy

60 per bunch

100 per bunch of 20

Prices are not standard among the different flower farms. Smaller farms with less bureaucracy tend to offer more flexibility in terms of pricing. However the fact that they export less makes some of them have higher prices than the larger farms. In some of medium sized and big farms an element of illegality still exists which enables some wholesalers to purchase produce at relatively low prices. Initially most wholesalers start by purchasing flowers from the flower farms close to them. With time though they develop a collection of farms they can purchase from and which they play around with depending on factors such as availability and prices.

Value of Nairobi Flower Farm

A crude way to estimate the value of the Nairobi flower market is to consider the number of vendors operating in Nairobi and the value of their monthly sales. Assuming with very high probability that at least 300 vendors make sales of Kshs.35, 000 in a month then we can estimate market to be worth at the very minimum Kshs.10, 500,000, and at the very medium range worth Kshs.15, 000,000.

Again note this is a somehow basic method of getting the value of the city’s flower market, but with lack of scientific data from all involved in the chain; from farms to consumers then this gives an idea of the value of the market. More data is needed to come with exact figures.

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Consumers

Flower consumers in Nairobi can be grouped variously depending on their consumption habits, reasons for purchase or even income. Broadly flower consumers can be classified as:

Passion Consumers – This kind of customer purchases flower in order to express some emotion the most common being love. Other emotions include; apologies, admiration or even congratulatory.

Traditionally Kenyans have not been big consumers of flowers to express emotions, except during Valentine’s Day where consumption rises to even 10 times that of normal days, according to one vendor. However vendors say that is gradually changing with an emerging group of relatively young people purchasing flowers. A vendor at city market said he sells a big percentage of ‘love’ flowers on Friday evening from 7pm to 10pm. Roses are the most popular.

Customers of European and American origin are better customers when it comes to passion purchases. They are more open and consistent in their purchases. They care more about quality than price.

With the rise in number of colleges, there are more graduation ceremonies and hence an increase in flowers being bought for congratulatory purposes. Still real live flowers have to compete with cheaper artificial flowers preferred by quite a number.

Compassion Customers

This group of customers purchases flowers to give to patients or to use during funerals. Vendors operating near major private hospitals record good sales of “Get well soon” flowers. Wreaths and other flowers used during funerals are some of the fastest selling and the returns are higher. Design and aesthetics of wreaths are the major considerations of this kind of customers. Vendors at Langata Cemetery, City Mortuary and even City Market sell lots of wreaths everyday. Compassion customers are available everyday.

Wedding Customers

With the growth of lifestyle weddings there is an increase in demand for flowers during weddings. Wedding planners will either ask for ‘raw’ flowers and then take care of the arrangements, or ask for whole packages covering everything from supply to arrangement. Though returns from weddings are considered good they happen only once in a while. A lot more marketing effort is required to win this kind of customer. Most planners don’t just want a florist to supply flowers but also with some skill to arrange the flowers in a way that will fit the theme of the wedding. Also wedding customers care so much about reliability. Hence they could ask for references.

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The weddings peak season starts in April.

Organizations/ Corporate Customers

Among organization customer are offices, churches and hotels. They order flowers to boost their appearance and image. Some will order any good looking flowers while others will want the flowers to match their corporate colors. Corporate customers link up with vendors in different ways. It could be through a public tender, walking to a vendor and requesting him to deliver flowers everyday, or through references. Terms of payments range from weekly, monthly to quarterly. Quantities and how regular they order vary.

Other ways in which vendors classify customers include:

a)One time / Standing order customers

b)Local / Foreigners. Locals purchase flowers occasionally while foreigners are more regular. Locals are more concerned with price while foreigners are

c)Men and Women. Men don’t negotiate much. They want to purchase and go. Women no, matter their income will always negotiate

Among the major factors considered by consumers as they purchase flowers include:

Creativity/ Design

Whether for passion or compassion, the immediate appearance of the flowers influences a customer’s purchase. Some customers want flowers arranged in a custom manner while take anything that appears good.

Price - Customers are seeking a fair price. Word on the street is that women no matter their background always bargain, men bargain less and want the transaction to end as far as it.

Quality – Many consider quality in terms of how fresh the flowers look. Those with an eye for flowers look at quality in terms of head size, stem length and even bloom.

Convenience – This is the ease with which consumers are able to access vendors relative to their location and time of the day.

Flower Farms in Kenya

(The list is not exhaustive)

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Agriflora (K) Ltd - Nakuru

Tel : 051-61542

Email:[email protected]

Akina

Tel : 0726 089 555

Email:[email protected]

Africalla - Kiambu

Tel : 066-76453

E-mail :[email protected]

Aquila Flowers

Tel : 020-4440358

E-mail :[email protected]

Arts Flowers

Tel : 0722 348070

Batian Flowers – Nanyuki / Naromoru

Tel : 062-41268

E-mail :[email protected]

Beauty line - Naivasha

Tel : 050 50116/7

E-mail :[email protected]

Bekya Floriculture

Tel : 0722 311468

E-mail :[email protected]

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Bigot Flowers - Naivasha

Tel : 050 50425

Email:[email protected]

Bila Shaka Flowers – Naivasha

Tel : 050-20742

Email:[email protected]

Black Petal

Tel : 020-2017706

E-mail :[email protected]

Black Petal/ 4-10

Tel : 0722 848 560

E-mail :[email protected]

Birds of Paradise

Tel : 020-4440053

Bobs Harries Ltd – Thika

Tel : 067-47250

E-mail :[email protected]

Buds & Blooms (K) Ltd - Nakuru

Mobile: 0720 895 911

Tel : 051-212080/1

Buds of Paradise

Tel : 020-4440053/4444768

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Blue Sky

Tel : 0720 005 294

E-mail :[email protected]

Brill - Gilgil

Tel : (49) 06821/6223

E-mail :[email protected]

Carnations Plants

Mobile: 0733 697 404

Tel : 020 – 2045162

E-mail :[email protected]

Carzan Limited - Naivasha

Tel :05020-20438/39/21222

Email:[email protected]

Celinico Flowers – Kiambu

Tel :066-72170/71163

E-mail :[email protected]

Charm Flowers

Tel : 020 222433/337676,

Cell: 0722-527242

Email:[email protected]

Charmy Investment Ltd

Tel :0733-807432

Colour Crops

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Tel : 020 2313859

E-mail: : [email protected]

Colour Crops

Tel : 0724 083 111

E-mail :[email protected]

Cordia

Tel : 0733 527 665

E-mail :[email protected]

Country wide Connections

Tel : 0721 793 286

E-mail: :[email protected]

De Ruiters

Tel : 0720 601600

E-mail: : [email protected]

Desire

Tel : 0724 264 653

E-mail :[email protected]

Elbur Flora Ltd.

Tel : 0724 722 039

E-mail: : [email protected]

Enkasiti Flowers - Thika

Tel : 067-44222/3, 067 340557

E-mail: : [email protected]

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Equator Flowers - Eldoret

Tel : 053-63138

Fax: 053-63138

Equinox

Tel : 0722 312 577

E-mail :[email protected]

Everflora Ltd. – Thika

Tel : 067-5854406

E-mail :[email protected]

Extropica (K) Ltd.

Tel : 020 535929/31

Email:[email protected]

Fides (K) Ltd. - Embu

Tel : 068 30776

E-mail: : [email protected]

Finlay Flowers Ltd - Kericho

Tel : 052 30471/ 30142/ 30247

E-mail: :[email protected]

Florensis Hamer

Tel : 020 50010

E-mail :[email protected]

Flora Kenya

Tel : 0733 333 289

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E-mail :[email protected]

Flora Delight

Tel : 0710 802 065

E-mail :[email protected]

Fontana Ltd

Tel : 0726 089 555

E-mail :[email protected]

Fourteen Flowers – Nakuru

Tel : 051 343 322

E-mail :[email protected]

Florema (K) Ltd - Naivasha

Tel : 050 2021072

E-mail: : [email protected]

Gatoka Farm – Thika

Tel : 067 44001/235/242; Cell: 0733 619505

E-mail: :[email protected]

Grove

Tel :0724 448 601

E-mail :[email protected]

Greystones Farm

Tel : 0722 312 316

Email:[email protected]

Gichuru Farm - Thika

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Tel : 067 54010/ 2/3

Harvest (K) Ltd

Tel : 020 567712; Cell: 0722 849329

E-mail :[email protected]

Highlands Plants - Nyahururu

Tel :065 72112

Homegrown- Kingfisher

Tel :0724 391288

E-mail :[email protected]

Isinya Roses

Tel : 0721 403175

E-mail :[email protected]

Interplant

Tel : 020 2014606

E-mail :[email protected]

Jet Flowers

Tel :020 824740

E-mail: : [email protected]

Jatflora

Tel : 0724 418 541

E-mail :[email protected]

Kabuku Farm.

Tel : 020 822025

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E-mail: : [email protected]

Kalka

Tel : 0715 356 540

E-mail :[email protected]

Karen Roses

Tel : 020 2078270

E-mail: : [email protected]

Kentalya

Tel : 0733 549 773

Email:[email protected]

Kariki Ltd.

Cell: 0733 834537

E-mail: : [email protected]

Kenflora

Mr. Allem Abdul

Tel : 020 6761198

E-mail: : [email protected]

Kenya Cuttings - Muranga

Tel : 060-2030280/81

E-mail :[email protected]

Kenya Highlands - Nakuru

Tel : 051 51722

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Kipipiri Flowers - Limuru

Tel : 0154-73182

Fax:0154-73237/051-32387

Kisima Farm

Tel : 0722475758; Cell: 0727 534640

E-mail: : [email protected]

Kongoni farm

Tel : 0722 203 837

E-mail :[email protected]

Kordes Roses East Africa

Tel : 020-892042

E-mail: : [email protected]

KPP Plant Production

Cell: 020 352557

E-mail: : [email protected]

Kreative Roses - Naivasha

Tel : 050 50163

E-mail: :[email protected]

Lake Flowers - Naivasha

Tel : 050 2020612

E-mail :[email protected]

Lauren

Tel : 0722 783 598

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E-mail :[email protected]

Larmona Flowers

Tel : 0722 238 474

E-mail :[email protected]

Lex - Naivasha

Tel : 050-2021260; Cell: 0733 609863

E-mail: : [email protected]

Lissen Roses

Tel : 020 2070339

E-mail :[email protected]

Live Wire Ltd - Naivasha

Tel : 050 2020050

E-mail :[email protected]

Lobelia Ltd

Tel : 020 2040418

Email:[email protected]

Locland Ltd

Mr. A.A PaTel

Tel 020-444297 /0502021271;

Cell: 0721 237936

E-mail: : [email protected]

Longonot Horticulture

Tel :050 50173-4

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E-mail: : [email protected]

Magana Flowers

Tel : 020-2017651-3

E-mail :[email protected]

Maridadi Flowers - Naivasha

Tel :050 50430/29/

E-mail :[email protected]

Maua Agritech Ltd

Tel : 0722 206318

E-mail :[email protected]

May Flowers Ltd - Naivasha

Mr. Maarten Brussee

Tel : 050 21174

E-mail :[email protected]

Mosi Ltd – Thika

Tel : 067 52146

E-mail: : [email protected]

Mt. Elgon Orchards - Kitale

Tel : 054- 31458/ 5431460

E-mail: : [email protected] gon.com

Mweiga blooms

Tel : 020 229615/ 330027

Cell: 0722 788135

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E-mail :[email protected]

Ngong Roses

Tel ; 020 2700660

E-mail: : [email protected]

Nini Ltd. - Naivasha

Tel : 050 2021165/20022

E-mail: : [email protected]

Nirp

Marketing Manager

Cell: 0724 264653

Ol Njorowa Ltd.

Tel : 020 2722584

E-mail: : [email protected]

Olij Rozen – Naivasha

Tel : 050-51018

E-mail: : [email protected]

Oserian Development Co. -Naivasha

Tel : 050 2030210

E-mail: :[email protected]

P.J Davey Flowers – Athi River

Tel : 045- 21380-1/ 020 581750

E-mail: : [email protected]

Panacol International Ltd. – Kitale

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Tel : 054-30916 Fax: 054-30917

E-mail: : [email protected]

Panda Flowers - Naivasha

Tel : 050 50046 /50198

E-mail: : [email protected]

Penta Flowers - Thika

Tel :067 52136

E-mail :[email protected]

Pollen Sygenta Ltd. - Naivasha

Tel 067 25056

E-mail :[email protected]

Preesman International

Cell: 0737 260040

E-mail: : [email protected]

Primarosa Flowers – Nyahururu

Tel : 065 22010

E-mail: :[email protected]

Ravine Roses Ltd - Naivasha

Tel : 051- 52281

E-mail: : [email protected]

Redlands Roses – Naivasha

Tel : 067-54017 205467 -25051

Mobile: 0733-609795

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E-mail :[email protected]

Shade Horticulture

Cell: 254 722 792018

E-mail :[email protected]

Sharlimar Farm

Tel : 020-822025

E-mail :[email protected]

Sher Karituri – Naivasha ( Closed down)

Tel : 050-50001

E-mail :[email protected]

Sian Roses

Tel : 020 891089/891036

E-mail :[email protected]

Sian Maji Mazuri

Cell: 0725 848914

Sian Winchester

Tel :020 891089 ; Cell: 0724 256592

E-mail: : [email protected] / [email protected]

Simbi Roses - Thika

Tel : 067 44292, 020 2042203

E-mail: : [email protected]

Soloplant K Ltd

Tel : 020 2017448

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[email protected]

Star Flowers

Mr. Sailesh Kumar

Cell: 0722 203750

E-mail :[email protected]

Stockman Rozen Kenya Ltd. - Naivasha

Tel : 050 21409

E-mail: : [email protected]

Subati Flowers

Tel : 020 2048483

E-mail: : [email protected]om

Suera Flowers Ltd – Nyahururu

Tel : 065-32000, 32309

E-mail: :

[email protected]

Sunrose Nurseries

020- 3586939/ 2014606

E-mail: :[email protected]

Scheures - Naivasha

Tel : 050 50390

E-mail: : [email protected]

Tambuzi Ltd. – Nanyuki

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Tel :062 31019/7

Cell:0722-881707

Email :[email protected]

Terra Nigra - Naivasha

Tel : 050 5050310

Cell: 0722 926588/ 0723 288122

E-mail: :[email protected]

Terrasol - Kiambu

Tel : 066 76004; Cell: 0722 387943

E-mail: : [email protected]

Timaflor Ltd - Nanyuki

Tel : 062 41263

E-mail: : [email protected]

Transebel - Thika

Tel : 067 44022

E-mail: :[email protected]

Tropiflora

Tel : 020 201390

E-mail: : [email protected]

Tsara Rozen Kenya Ltd.

Tel : 020 2123230,

E-mail: : [email protected]

Valentine Karura

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Tel : 020 3542466

E-mail: [email protected]

Van kleef – Naivasha

Tel : 050 50327/ 0722 364943

E-mail: : [email protected]

[email protected]

Vegpro Group - Naivasha

050-2020884, 0721 868312

E-mail: : [email protected]

Waridi Ltd – Athi River

Tel : 045-22873, 0723 149968

E-mail: : [email protected]

Windsor Flowers - Thika

Tel : 067-24208

E-mail: :[email protected]

Wilmar Agro - Thika

Tel : 067-30176

E-mail: [email protected]

Xpression Flora Ltd - Nairobi

Tel : 020 2312888

E-mail: : [email protected]

Zena Roses - Thika

Tel : 067-4404/44620

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Cell: 0721452593

E-mail: : [email protected]

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