Acknowledged master binder Pim van den Akker travels all over the world to draw the attention of growers, florists, designers, media and consumers to the pure beauty and emotional expressiveness of flowers and plants. While creating his floral masterpieces and putting on demonstrations, Van Den Akker likes to include showpieces from the Phalaenopsis collection of Opti-flor.
During his travels, Van den Akker is busy putting on demonstrations, giving workshops, inspiring and teaching colleagues and students, as well as talking with the press and media. He also demonstrates in his shows that it is possible to create fantastic things with flowers and design. "I feel it's important to be able to share, to tell people and preferably show them what my work involves and how I achieve beauty in creativity through beauty in product."
Pleasure to work with
Van den Akker has been working with products from the Opti-flor collection for years. "When I was still decorating hotels in Amsterdam, I always used Phalaenopsis from Opti-flor. They already excelled in terms of ornamental value, flowering duration and durability." The products from Opti-flor are a pleasure to work with according to this internationally renowned floral designer. "I consider the collection to be a unique bundling of opulence and wealth, while at the same time having a distinct power. By that, I mean that Phalaenopsis from Opti-flor not only looks stunning with its unprecedented profusion of flowers and exceptionally long duration of flowering, the plant is also very strong. When you take the plant out of the pot, you see the evidence in the strongly developed root system at one glance. And similarly for the flowers and leaves. The leaves are sturdy and fleshy. In my work it is important that plants can endure rough handling."
Rest and attention
The founder of the popular inspirational website Flowerfactor.com has an idea about what the Opti-flor Phalaenopsis owes the combination of beauty and strength to. "At Opti-flor the plants are given all the time and rest that they need. This contrasts greatly with some other nurseries, where the plant is pushed to flower as quickly as possible." Van den Akker knows that at Opti-flor, the plants remain longer in the greenhouse than at the average Phalaenopsis grower.
New, trendy varieties
The internationally renowned floral designer has seen Opti-flor's reputation continue to grow over the past few years. "It is a company that is aware of what is happening in the world. They are innovative and respond well to changing developments and trends with new, trendy varieties. In addition, they are always concerned with how their products can best be presented." According to Van den Akker, Opti-flor hardly resembles a traditional cultivation firm. "It must be the passion and love for the product, in combination with traditional craftsmanship. I believe Opti-flor has transformed the cultivation of Phalaenopsis into an art form."
International top brand
Van den Akker has compared Opti-flor with the Swedish top-quality brand Volvo. "Extremely sound, superior quality with at the same time an enormous sensitivity for design. I don't think Opti-flor always realises it itself, but they have grown into an international top brand. I regularly encounter people talking about 'an Opti-flor'. That is an amazing achievement in the horticultural world."
Garden centre Ockenburgh in The Hague is without doubt one of the loveliest garden centres in South Holland. Consumers can come here not only for garden furniture, flowers, barbecues and gift articles, but also for a wide range of houseplants and outdoor plants. One of the eye-catching displays is a stunning presentation of the Opti-flor collection on three tables.
Visitors can hardly overlook the orchid display. In turn, the orchid tables invariably enjoy a great deal of attention. From Balletto to Willd Orchid and from Bellissimo to Singolo, visitors find them beautifully arranged, next to all the other showpieces from the Opti-flor collection. Using banners, table runners and mobiles, consumers are made aware that the entire collection from Opti-flor is on display.
"Phalaenopsis is an important product group for us," explained Nicole Kester of garden centre Ockenburgh. Together with her husband André she runs this successful garden centre near Kijkduin. "I think that our orchid tables are our best square metres in terms of contributing to the operating profit."
"The quality of the Opti-flor orchids is unsurpassed," says Kester while firmly shaking a pot containing a Mirror Miracle. "Look at how firmly the plant sits in the pot. The spikes are thick and well developed, and the plants always have plenty of buds. They have a wealth of flowers, which bloom for a long time." According to Kester, garden centre Ockenburgh has a relatively large group of steady customers. "Many people come here several times a month. Then it is important to keep trying to surprise them with new presentations. Our orchid tables are perfect for that."
Crowded orchid weekend
At least once a week the orchids are restocked. "Opti-flor has a very wide range of Phalaenopsis. It is important for us to be able to vary the presentations on our orchid tables. As far as I'm concerned, Opti-flor is welcome to launch even more new varieties." Once a year garden centre Ockenburgh organises an orchid weekend. "Then everything revolves around the orchids. Staff from Opti-flor always come along to help out and provide tips about caring for the plants. Our customers are delighted to be able to talk to the actual grower."
Well-known orchid brand
Because Opti-flor lies just a stone's throw away from garden centre Ockenburgh, Kester often drops by. "Many people in this region are familiar with Opti-flor and know that we carry the entire collection. Visitors occasionally ask specifically for an orchid from Opti-flor." Kester is pleased that every Opti-flor orchid is recognisable from the chique, green, oval logo that is found on a stick in every pot. "It's a great trademark, and stands for the very finest orchids."
Kester also praises the mutual collaboration. "I like it that we can talk openly about everything. If there is a constructive point of criticism, the people at Opti-flor deal with it professionally. For me, that is the basis of being able to be successful together."
Beckers Meesterbloembinders in Budel is well-known throughout a wide region. Customers come both from Belgium and well past Eindhoven to appreciate the exclusive flower arrangements and the organic art objects and sculptures of master flower binder Stef Beckers. The entrepreneur from the Brabant region is well known for his unusual, artistic creations and sets a high standard regarding the quality of flowers and plants. For Phalaenopsis, Beckers turns immediately to the Opti-flor collection.
Beckers Meesterbloembinders serves both the private and the commercial markets. "We work a lot with subscriptions. Our customers know that when they order a floral arrangement from us, the quality will always be excellent." To meet the high expectations of his customers again and again, Beckers in turn makes tough demands of his suppliers.
Blind faith in quality
"I often go to the wholesaler myself and sometimes order via the wholesaler's webshop. I consider it important to judge the product for myself. Quality is our trademark. We do not make any concessions about that." For the exclusive Phalaenopsis collection from Opti-flor, Beckers does not see any need for a quality inspection before buying. "Plants from Opti-flor are always in top form. You can trust that blindly. They are beautifully branched, have many flowers and bloom for a long time."
The durability of the Opti-flor collection is excellent according to Beckers. "I have a lot of contact with road carriers. They also affirm that products from Opti-flor are still perfect after transport to Russia lasting several days, while buds on plants from other growers can turn yellow or drop off." From experience, Beckers knows that the quality of plants can vary somewhat over the course of a year. "At Opti-flor, in contrast, the quality is constant all year-round. In February, for example, we had a protracted cold spell. I know that such a cold period can cause buds to drop off in a customer's home. The Phalaenopsis from Opti-flor were not affected at all."
Respect for the plant
Beckers knows the reason for this. "Many growers force their plants to get them to flower quickly. At Opti-flor they handle the plants with respect and leave them longer in the greenhouse than at other nurseries. This leads to better quality and a long flowering period and durability." Beckers is also delighted with the range of the Opti-flor collection. "They are innovative and regularly introduce new varieties and colours. They have a very valuable collection of large, small and butterfly orchids."
The master flower binder from Budel cherishes good memories from an earlier business visit to Opti-flor. "Along with part of our team we were welcomed during Opti-flor's 'Orchid Inspiration Days'. The huge amount of time and energy invested was evident. Nevertheless, they took the time to inform us in detail about the new varieties, and they were very open to receiving feedback from us. I always appreciate such transparency. For me, Opti-flor is absolutely one of the best in the orchid world."
With clients like the Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Benelux, Guerlain Benelux, Grand Hyatt Hotel Djakarta and Cartier Benelux, Jan Dippell Ritzinger from Ivy Flowershop is very interested in working with excellent flowering plants. The owner of the exclusive flower and plant shop on the Leidseplein in Amsterdam has depended on the exclusive Phalaenopsis collection from Opti-flor for years.
"Whether it is a table arrangement, decorating the hotel lobby or an artistic floral display during an event at a fashion house, it must always be the absolute best," emphasised Ritzinger, who can rejoice in his exclusive clientèle in the capital. Thanks to the combination of craftsmanship and focus on top quality, the owner of Ivy Flowershop is regularly asked to decorate five-star hotels and exclusive events with flowers and plants.
Top quality and charming appearance
With its strategic location on the Leidseplein, Ivy Flowershop is constantly full of customers. Both local residents and tourists enjoy stopping by. "Our customers are always enthusiastic about the quality and the many charming forms of the orchids from the Opti-flor assortment." According to Ritzinger, the Opti-flor collection is absolutely top quality. "If I had to give Opti-flor a score for its assortment, quality and service, it would get 10 out of 10."
Exceptional duration of flowering
"The sturdiness of the plant, durability and long flowering period are exceptional. At Quartier they were totally stunned by the fact that the orchids from Opti-flor kept flowering for 12 weeks. I always tell people coming to our shop that our orchids come from the best orchid nursery in the world." The positive experiences of both Ritzinger and his customers are the reason that he has remained faithful to Opti-flor for so long. "For years I have been buying Phalaenopsis only from Opti-flor."
For one month in the spring, the exclusive flower and plant shop on the Leidseplein was arranged according to the theme 'Diamonds'. Ritzinger had created a real 'Diamonds' experience in his shop with orchids from the Opti-flor collection. A combination of his craftsmanship and the exclusive Phalaenopsis collection from Opti-flor produced a stunning ambiance and a unique window display. Passersby wrestled for the best place to take a photo of the window display at Ivy Flowershop.
Thousands of photos
The Diamonds display generated many enthusiastic compliments for Ritzinger and his team. "Thousands of photos were taken of our window display. Many people could not believe that it was real. It was also amazing that we not only received loads of compliments from consumers, but also from fellow florists from far afield, from France to the Ukraine."
Aside from the quality and the distinctiveness of the Opti-flor collection, Jan was also delighted with the collaboration with Opti-flor. "The quality is simply always good, agreements are always fulfilled, and from time to time Opti-flor brings out new varieties. That is very important for us. In addition, the staff at Opti-flor always express interest and help me in a very pleasant manner."
In the heart of the Amsterdam-Zuid neighbourhood, the flower specialty shop TEUNIS VEENEMA bloem|sier|kunst is a gem. The beautiful local shop is certainly not your ordinary florist. Veenema's customers insist on top quality and good advice. When purchasing flowers and plants, Veenema looks exclusively for the best. "I always buy Phalaenopsis from Opti-flor, that is a guarantee of top quality."
Veenema, who prefers being addressed by his first name Teunis, tries to encourage visitors to his shop to come up with new ideas and has inconspicuously become a source of inspiration for his customer base. For example, the Amsterdam florist has just introduced his own creation, prepared flowers in water.
Questions about interior design
"When I visit my customers during my weekly round, they sometimes ask me for advice about interior design. If you are creative with colour and form, as I am, people expect you to have ideas about what colour would look best on that particular wall." Teunis visits some of his customers weekly to drop off the flower arrangement from their subscription service. "Many people have little time, but still want their home to look perfectly styled. Each week I bring along a new seasonal bouquet in a loaned vase. Then they have nothing to worry about."
Very long flowering period
"I notice that consumers have recently started looking again for plants to put in their home." Teunis has correspondingly increased the plant assortment in his flower shop. Several lovely Phalaenopsis arrangements stand out among them. "It is interesting that people expect the plants to flower for a long time." He feels that the Opti-flor collection meets the high expectations he and his customers have. "When I sell orchids from Opti-flor, I always mention that they flower for at least two months. I know from experience that they can flower for longer in practice. When people are so delighted to tell me that the plant flowered for four months, isn't it just great?"
Large or small
Teunis buys his orchids from the wholesaler. "Once a week I drive up to Aalsmeer." The Amsterdam florist is sometimes inspired there while walking past the Phalaenopsis trolleys with the Opti-flor collection. "Then I see a totally unfamiliar variety, and take a few back with me." Teunis has decided only to carry the large varieties, like Grandi-flora, and the small ones, like Artisto or Liberto. "The intermediate sizes are on sale everywhere in large quantities. My selection makes me more distinctive." Teunis also tries to include different colours than his competitors. "In the Opti-flor collection, I am particularly fond of dusky pink and lime green."
Teunis is full of praise about the Opti-flor collection. "Opti-flor really stands out in my mind, they are up on a pedestal. Their plants are striking among the wide range of Phalaenopsis on sale. The flowers are lovely and large, and buds almost never drop off. It's not just the stunning Opti-flor assortment, there is also the way the products are presented at the wholesaler's that radiates an impression of quality. I can honestly say that I can buy the orchids from Opti-flor without even examining them. They have built up that level of trust."