Advice for potential orchid businessperson

Discussion in 'Orchid Vendor Sales' started by JAB, May 16, 2016.

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  1. May 16, 2016 #1

    JAB

    JAB

    JAB

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    For all the vendors and orchid business aficionados out there... what advice do you wish someone would have given you when you first got into the orchid biz? Any words of wisdom you would inpart on someone venturing out to start their own business sometime?
    It is something I have been contemplating. Many, many moons away from it ever coming to fruition (IF it ever does), but figured it would generate some interesting topics if nothing else.

    Cheers
    Jake
     
  2. May 16, 2016 #2

    cnycharles

    cnycharles

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    There's the old adage if you want to make a million selling orchids you should start with two...


    Elmer Nj
     
  3. May 16, 2016 #3

    ehanes7612

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    I would give you advice for starting an orchid business but I am bound to a gag order from the contract I signed when i was hired....five more years and I will be free..but I can say this... do your research on your business model...very very very thoroughly
     
  4. May 16, 2016 #4

    C. Rothschild

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    Probably depends what country you're from. In South America you can sell at markets but in the USA a lot is online. EBay seems like the easiest unless you have a store/greenhouse or know how to start a website.
     
  5. May 16, 2016 #5

    troy

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    no hatred!!
    Invest in every flask you can get your hands on
     
  6. May 17, 2016 #6

    gonewild

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    Best advice is to not ask for advice.
    That way you have no one to blame except yourself.
     
  7. May 17, 2016 #7

    JAB

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    So far I have learned I should start with tons of money, don't ask anyone for any advice, certainly don't ever sign a gag order, buy all flasks I can (certainly not a problem thus far for me) and do ones research.
    Thank you. Keep it coming!
     
  8. May 17, 2016 #8

    jtrmd

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    In this economy I would imagine you need 4 million to make a million.
     
  9. May 17, 2016 #9

    cnycharles

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    Actually from viewing some vendor supply from the supply side, I'd suggest moving to a climate like Hawaii where things need little effort to get to grow, and become a wholesaler. All the vendors need flowering things to sell at shows, and being at a great climate will extremely reduce heating costs

    Avoid dealing with sales to big box stores; income from them is too thin and too hard to get
     
  10. May 17, 2016 #10

    gonewild

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    The honest reality is that it is next to impossible to earn a living selling orchids.
    Most existing orchid nurseries are having difficulties remaining in business.
    Every year sees more and more established nurseries close.

    Not very encouraging to hear when you have your heart set on being in the business. But that is the reality.

    Now the current reality is not aall baad for you. As established nurseries go out of the business their void creates some opportunity for a smaller grower to get established.

    All you need is to figure out how to have better plants than your competitors. And until you have a reputation and established customer base you will need to sell at lower prices.

    One way you can get started is to buy flasks at reasonable prices and grow the seedlings to an established small size and then sell them. Buy a flask for $75 that has 25 plants and your cost is $3 each. Grow them for 6 months to a year and your cost will be about $4 then sell them for $10 and you will have a made a reasonable profit. You can grow a few thousand seedlings under lights in your house and make a profit using this model. But in the end after shipping and selling costs the profit is only a few dollars per plant. So if you want to do this to make a living you will need to sell at least 15,000 seedlings per year. Realize that is 40 plants per day every day of your life.
    And do you think there are customers for that many seedlings?????

    Of course what I wrote above is just an example of a way to get started.
    Give it a try, it's ok to blame me if it does not work out! ;)
     
  11. May 17, 2016 #11

    AdamD

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    This is a question I've contemplated myself. The answer is, there's no money in orchids, unless you create something like Fdk. After Dark, or bloom an alba roth with a 7cm dorsal and 2 cm petals...

    I've talked extensively with Marilyn LeDoux of Windy Hills, she said she makes enough money selling plants to support her orchid habit. And that's about it. No profit. Just maintenance. I've been to her greenhouse many times. That was an out-of-pocket expense. And the money she's made has maintained the heating, cooling, shading, cleaning, stocking, and transportation of plants. The way I figure it, that's about the best I can hope to accomplish in this lifetime.
     
  12. May 17, 2016 #12

    abax

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    As a person who owns and runs a tree nursery, never ever
    try to make a living doing something you love. I find that
    the business end of the thing leaves you less and less time
    to enjoy the growing. There's a happy balance in there somewhere, but I've not found it yet. I've been looking
    since 1965!
     
  13. May 17, 2016 #13

    JAB

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    All great advice and I appreciate it.
    To be honest this is something I am contemplating and is far from fruition (if it ever does). I am not sure I am going in this to get rich, but more so to live a life that I enjoy. It is a sad reality that retirement is probably not in the cards for my generation (hitting 40 this year). I am ok working until I croak, but I would prefer to do it doing something I enjoy. So this is something I have been thinking about. Like Abax stated.. a happy medium. I suppose all of us are searching for such a thing.
    Gone wild - I have actually been thinking of just what you suggested. Obviously it would be a niche market, but I think nowdays that may be the ticket. Specializing in specific species etc.
    Hawaii and wholesaling has also come across the table. Though my competition is pretty established already. The overhead would be mitigated by the property cost outside of Hilo.

    Like I said... just fodder for discussion at this juncture. I have a lot to learn still and haven't even touched upon the financing aspect of the situation.
    I appreciate the feedback though folks. Keep it coming. If nothing else maybe some of your ideas will help some other business owners.

    Cheers
    Jake
     
  14. May 17, 2016 #14

    Linus_Cello

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    If you want to specialize in pleuros, J&L is still for sale:
    http://www.jlorchids.com/

    NEWS UPDATE

    We have sold our Keep Collection in its entirety to a botanical garden overseas. For those of you who have visited, that is everything behind the chains, about 5500 plants. ALL OF OUR SALE PLANTS REMAIN, AND WE WILL DO BUSINESS AS USUAL THROUGH THE SUMMER.

    J and L ORCHIDS IS STILL FOR SALE, AT A MUCH REDUCED PRICE. That sale includes our name, sale stock, website, mailing list and contacts. Please contact us for further information.
     
  15. May 17, 2016 #15

    ehanes7612

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    Most orchid businesses are out of date...aren't effectively utilizing the tools available to reach a wide audience. Another issue is that businesses don't offer a lot of variety and slowly lose their customer base due to boredom..an orchid business does not have to be a niche market..one of the biggest myths out there. There are a lot of people who want to grow orchids..and not just fluffy phals..and there are a ot of ways to grow them that can accommodate any living situation. I have worked for two different successful orchid businesses and what seems to separate them is they suspend their attachment to their passion and their preconceived notions about who wants an orchid..they become business people and the orchid becomes the commodity rather than another special plant in their collection. You could try brokering at first...with ebay, this doesn't require much money..and build from there. Keep in mind though, that Ebay is not for making money..it's for establishing a customer base that can buy from your website later.
     
  16. May 17, 2016 #16

    Lanmark

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    Marry into the Kasahara family and sell Neos.
     
  17. May 18, 2016 #17

    JAB

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    Not sure I can convince the better half about CT. And I already have a Japanese wife Lanmark! Where was that advice a few years ago ;)
    Ehanes -
    Solid advice. Ebay is touch and go, but you are right it does serve to attract a wider audience.
    I guess I was thinking niche markets as a way of keeping my overhead low without having a little bit of everything in lieu of a lot of a handful of things. But your experience seems to warn against this. Good to know.
     
  18. May 19, 2016 #18

    jtrmd

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    Ebay can be shady too, with people trying to score something for free and fees. If you have any experience design a personal website to direct people to, and at least you save on all the fees ebay is charging.
     
  19. May 19, 2016 #19

    ehanes7612

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    I despise Ebay..but it's one of those necessary evils
     
  20. May 19, 2016 #20

    ehanes7612

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    it's a balance of course..niche market will take a lot longer to build unless it's one that is well resourced...but then you are dealing with an established market also and those who have already secured their agreements. An all encompassing market allows you to explore and experiment, you can move more product..and develop strategies that are less dependent on one source or another.
     

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