Archive for the ‘Flowers for BIG bu$ine$$’ Category


Les Anis de Flavigny

June 9, 2010

A hundred year history, less than one gram of weight, always cool and appreciated by adults and children. What am I talking about? Les anis de Flavigny sweets, of course! White and authentic pralines with a delicious taste. They are made with an original and artisanal recipe, so that you can obtain these sweets without artificial coloring, preservatives and GMOs. Les anis de Flavigny are available in six tastes: anise, orange, mint, licorice, and, of course, rose and violet.  





I’m writing this post because a friend of mine really likes them: if there is something never misses in her bag it is a thermal bottle, filled every time with a different kind of tea, and two packages of candies of rose and violet tastes. I’ve never heard about them before she showed me, but then I paid more attention and I found them in a supermarket near to my house, here in Milan. Since she loves them, I bought and I found them delicious as well, I started hence looking for some more news.

I was able to get some deeper information about the company sending an email to the director, Catherine Troubat.



The company which produces them is a particular one: it is a family company, it keeps the traditions alive and it is one of the boast of the French patrimony, against the big enterprises which rule the market. The entrepreneur is Catherine Troubat, who has inherited the company by her father, and she is continuing to lead the society in the best way ever, helped by her brothers, Marc and Etienne, and her sister, Emmanuelle.

 Some information about the product:

  • Place of production: an old abbey in Flavigny-sur-Ozeirain, Côte-d’Or, one hour and half from Paris
  • Employees: 25 people
  • Sales : 2,5 million of Euro
  • Number of sales: around 220 tons of sweets
  • Distribution: shops of sweets, shops with gastronomic specialties or natural and biological products., duty free shops, airports, railway stations, garden-center, malls in Borgogna, pharmacies.



Between the 1990 and 2003, the company has registered an increase of sales (+91,6%), and the 25% of it is given by the exportations (USA, Canada, Japan, German, England, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Holland…)

A curiosity: in 1940, Les anis de Flavigny were the first sweet sold in vending machines of the subway in Paris.




The story so far:

None knows who was the real inventor of these sweets. The Benedictines had probably substituted the almonds, traditionally inserted into them, with the aniseeds, brought to the village from Siria by Flavinius. Around 52 BC, Caesar, the future Roman emperor, gave some of his veteran soldiers land after his victory over the Gauls. Flavinius received a hill that bore his name, Flaviniacum, now called Flavigny. Caesar took aniseeds with him to care for his troops. It was probably at this point that the story of these candies began and went on.

Since the XVI century, instead, famous people who visited the region had them as a present.

And nowadays, today like yesterday, thanks to the know-how inherited from the Abbey’s monks, the factory’s entire team is driven by the same desire to make Anis de Flavigny . The production still happens in the same place, an abbey founded in 719, the 25 people who work there all come from the village itself or from somewhere about, and obviously the old, original recipe is meticulously followed. They use simple and natural ingredients, such as sugar, natural flavoring and green aniseed, which are carefully selected in Siria, Turkey and Spain. Then, they pour sugar syrup (water and sugar) over them. The seeds roll over one another and gradually become covered in fine successive layers of syrup. The process involves delicate, patient work: the candy-maker needs 15 days to transform the small seed that weighs barely two milligrams into a one-gram candy.

Indeed, the sugar they use is the unrefined cane one, (nice to know that Darius, back from an expedition in the Indies (510 B.C.) called sugar cane “the reed that produces honey without the help of bees!”), in an Ecocert-certified organic collection, just as people used to do before Olivier de Serres had discovered sugar beet in 1575, when white sugar then started to be used.


And, finally, let’s live “a sunny day in Flavigny”!    :-)     :-)



The exception proves the rule

May 25, 2010

In Italy, for sure, we are far from sellers of flowers like him:


…still, there is someone who is even further from the common Italian sellers…

A simple stall, without a lot of flowers or particular bunches, no more than others, no more than a…stall. Moreover, while I was wandering I’ve seen bigger, more colored and supplied stalls. Still, you can see the owner so proud of his small stall. The secret? It stands at the corner between via Montenapoleone and via A. Manzoni, two of the most fashionable streets of Milan.



When I asked him the average buy, he answered : “from 10 to 100 to 1000€… and also more!” – “Pardon?!” – I would never, never thought it would be possible! Yet, he is in a place sooooooooooo strategic! Thanks to his position, a lot of people (very, very rich people!) who live around there buy flowers from him, preferring the stall to the shop because of the (relatively) lower prices of a bunch of  blooms. In addition, he works on commission (for these very, very rich people) and prepares wonderful (and expensive!) floral compositions. Who never been said?!



As I have already told you, he told me he is very proud of his job: he wakes up at 5.30 in the morning, in order to reach his stall as on time as the workers and early riser passers-by start their day as well. His work lasts till 10 pm in summer and around 8 pm  when it gets colder (on the average, he works for about 14 hours!). As the other stallholders, he had to get the license for selling on a public area from municipality: it was a long and hard process (“you know, the bureaucracy”), but finally he managed to do it.  He didn’t tell me, but as I saw another foreign man helping him while I was there, I supposed he earns enough money to hire someone: after all, this is just the proof  that people spend lots of money buying flowers from him.


All that glitters is not gold!

April 23, 2010

Looking for some information about Interflora, everything seemed perfect: tens of partners, hundreds of countries, thousands of shops, millions of euro: an organized system that involves people and money, surprisingly simple if you just take some news from Internet.




Such organization has stirred my curiosity, so I decided to ask directly a floral shop’s owner how this service works and what he things about it. Did I do the right thing? Sure, I did! I had some interesting answers that, first of all, confirmed that you should never take ads or information (given by the company itself) as gospel truth. The shop where I went offers Interflora service since 1960 and people that go there use it: around 1000 customers of this shop exploit it every year. But the positive aspects are not particularly registered by the shop itself: Interflora offers just a computer, it has to pay a fee per month and there are no relevant economical advantages. The owner I interviewed told me: “It is just as a nice thing to place on your shop window.” When I asked him an opinion about it, he said it is just a service addressed to people, not to the shops, and at the same time there isn’t a rigorous selection from the shops, because they have not the same products, the same quality and the same skills in doing arrangements, but they have the same prices. So, people often complain about the results, because flowers or plants that reach their destinations are different from what they expected: they had figured their expectations out on the shop where the delivery order has left.



To cut a long story short, this service has the only purpose to build a big business or, better, bigger and bigger: the more associates it has, the more it earns: such a simple, clear, straight-line project, isn’t it?


Say it with flowers!

April 22, 2010

Put up your own hand if you have never seen this symbol! … None of you? I could have bet on it! The winged Mercury is the historical icon of Fleurop-Interflora, well-known all over the world thanks to more than 100 year of life: since 1928, Fleurop-Interflora is the National and International service of floral tribute delivery and it is present in more than 150 countries, with more than 58.000 shops all over the world.

Flowers, in this extent, are not seen anymore just as elegant creation of nature, but as a way to make money, exploiting their shapes, their variety, their beauty, in order to build a huge market, and going further the personal pleasure, as we’ve seen, for example, in the case of Mr Francesco Mercandelli or Mrs Ivana. It doesn’t mean it is “the worst way”, it is just…different: different conceptions, different point of views, DIFFERENT  manners to use the SAME thing.

Let’s see something about its history and how it works…

 In 1908 the florist of Berlin Max Hubner had an intuition that turned out to be a success, further than any other expectations. He had three main goals:

  • create a florists network;
  •  assure the delivery to your door;
  • cash on delivery.

Then, his ambition became a reality in 1928, during the years between the two Great Wars, years dominated by big passions and technological advance. Only in 1960, during the economical boom, the slogan “Fiori in tutto il mondo” (Flowers all over the world) was born, and in the following years the number of florists incredibly grow. Thanks to the website, created in 2004, everyone has now the chance to give flowers or plants as a present. Then, with the march of time, it has fought trying to enlarge its market share. “We want to strengthen the position of Interflora among the floral shops” – claims the President of Interflora Italia Sandro Bragheftoni – “we want to offer, beyond the delivery and the technical arrangement, also a project concerned with fundamental concepts for the actual market: sale, communication and marketing techniques. We want to broad our distribution system, not limiting to 2.200 shops, but getting closer to 5.400, as French shops, a country with a density of population very similar to ours”. A big change that tries to develop technologies, and a world projected to the globalization.




The mechanism: everything happens in few hours: you can send them and in a very short time they are received, in every Italian or foreign place that has Interflora service.

Therefore, it gives you the chance to reach quickly everyone you want, in almost every part of the world, with an appreciated and scented present. Is it your mother’s birthday and you are studying or working abroad? Are you celebrating the first anniversary with your partner that is unfortunately far away? Do you want just to say thanks to a friend?

You could order in three different ways:

  • go to one of the 2000 florists provided by this service;
  • plug into and make the order choosing among a wide range of products;
  • call the phone number.

Easy, isn’t it?



But it is not finished here: there is something for everyone!

Are you a shop, in some way linked to flowers? Have you got a website? Would you like to reach millions of people around the world? Well, you should join a partnership with Fleurop-Interflora.

You can get up to a 12% commission with our products: the more you sell, the more you earn! And there are no taxes to become a partner. You would receive all the necessary tools, add specific links to your website and check the statistics online, in order to follow your business in every moment. Fleurop-Interflora would provide everything, from the order, to the delivery, to the billing: you should just sell.

If you sell Fleurop-Interflora  products through your website, your visitors would  buy them, because they are offered by a leading company, and you can be sure to address your customer to an reliable partner.

Look at some Fleurop-Interflora ads, not only Italian: some of them are really funny! Enjoy it!





Le fleur..très, très chic!

April 15, 2010

Bigger and bigger: our trip follows this path! Vincenzo Dascanio is pretty famous, bien sure! But someone has surpassed him, reaching success, fame, money… Mr and Mrs, he is Giorgio Armani, one of the most notorious fashion designer of the latest years. As we all know, his production deals with






…and althought most of these have in common flowers, it’s not enough: : one section of  his huge shop, in the center of Milan, (Via A. Manzoni) is dedicated to blossoms!

This is not a common shop, you wouldn’t find a normal bunch of roses or some colored tulips, too trivial! This the reign of the “floral design”, where a blossom is not just a blossom, but something more, something that is concerned with creativity, style, elegance, taste, care, study of the details… in one word, DESIGN.

Asking one of the oddest thing happened, the manager of this floral section has told me that some people ask if it is possible to put them in a suitable bag, in order to travel without ruin them, just because people believe they are so well-done to be artificial!

With regard to his activity, he makes also some compositions for private citizens, companies, hotels like Park Hayatt and Principe di Savoia, fashion shows, special events like Fiera del Mobile, or “special” just for you: for the dress and the location, the wedding rings and participations, it’s all up to you; but for floral decorations and, obviously, for the bouquet, it is necessary to hire a Flower Designer, and who would be better than Armani to personalize with style and to interpret with elegance one of the most unforgettable day of your life?


The production has reached also the far East: Emporio Armani has opened in Hong Kong, China, in Chater Road, where Massimiliano Fuksas designed an unique store. For Armani Flowers, the vases are realized by a transparent plexiglas that provides an extreme lightness to the environment, giving the illusion that the flowers float in the air. The same concept is kept also for Armani Cosmetics and Armani Books.

Armani, hence, has expanded  his range of products and has done it in his own way, having the idea to use blooms in this brilliant manner. Brilliant, and profitable as well(!): he is targeted it at very few people, people that do appreciate quality and beauty, but that are able to spend a lot of money. But, as we say here in Italy, even the eye wants its own side! Don’t you think so? :-)


Flower engineering

March 31, 2010

For every “Mr Francesco”, proud of his family shop, there is another one who wants to became…bigger! This is the case of Mr Vincenzo Dascanio. At only 21, he was the director of Armani Fiori, where he created a new style and made the concept reach really high levels. But it wasn’t enough for him: now, at the age of 34, he is the owner of three shops: the main one is here, in Milan, in Piazza Missori (with more than 1000 mq, a huge store!); then in Florence ,and the latest opening has been in Bergamo, an historical city chosen as the third pole of  style and glamour, on the 7 November 2009. The building in Milan, instead, was not chosen by chance, because it is full of history: there, 80 years ago, there was the first shop of flowers: a tradition developed in the best way ever, we could say!


Dascanio’s floral creations are unique objects that become, without the shadow of a doubt, design objects, integral part of the spaces, in a constant research of exclusiveness, that catches your attention for its incredible beauty. That’s what happened to me when I entered the store: plants from all over the world, shining and refined, where you can breath the scent of the geniality, which anything leaves to the chance…

This could be a sort of ideal place against the chaos of this frantic city, where you could enjoy pleasant relaxing moment and keep in touch with nature: plants, flowers, candles, perfumes, but also accessories and furniture… everything is finely refined, sophisticated, just to delight all of your senses. The ground floor, indeed, is dedicated to the interior design, where you (mostly!) dream to have that furniture in your own house.

But all of this has a cost, it goes without saying! I could say that you could go there only if you had broken your piggy bank, but it should have been very, very full!

 The average prices are pretty high and, instead of Mr Francesco’s shop, for instance, the main target is people who have taste and also floating assets, of course! But you could definitely say that you would have a unique, original and wonderful floral creation, made just for you!

These are some of his creations  for some events…

Visit the site to take a look of this elegant world!    Enjoy it!   :-)


“It is the time you have spent with your rose that makes your rose so important.”

March 12, 2010

The title of this post is a quotation from “The Little Prince“, one of the best selling books ever, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Why did I choose it? Because I’m wondering whether you think it is as the author has hopefully written…

Is it like that?

Obviously, not for all!

 Have you read about the market that involves a lot of countries in an HUGE negotiation that I posted some days ago?The sellers look at the flowers only as a way to make profits, and what “makes the rose so important” is the fact that it colud be sold.

Tha half of  the final prices is kept by the seller, considering that there is an increase of 15% in prices for each passage from seller to seller, for a total of 100-110% !

Among the cost of production, the half is for the flight, than follow taxes and fertilizers. The cost of the labour, doubtlessly, is the lowest: less than half cent for each rose.

Through Ducht auctions, flowers loose their own identity, so you don’t know anymore their variety, place of production, if they have the certification as “fair trade”. Everything as to be done really quickly, because flowers loose 1/5 of their value each day.

From Nairobi to the final Italian consumer, through Dutch auctions and the market in San Remo, you need less than 4 days; but when producers of Kenya negotiate directly with the final consumers, wholesalers or supermarkets, you can receive them also in 48 hours.

Here there is a link to a video that deals with this market, and in particular with the Dutch one.

CAUTION! Unfortunately, it is in Italian, because it is an Italian program, and I couldn’t find it in English.