Original ideas abound in the floriculture industry, but not every idea is a success. There are the times, however, when a company hits on a concept that fills a void growers didn’t realize was there, and it’s such a game-changer, they can’t imagine growing without it.
The 2013 Medal Of Excellence for Marketing goes to a company that used its game-changing idea to not only sell plants, but to solve container garden production problems and streamline this thriving growth area. Dümmen North America’s (NA) Red Fox Confetti Garden products are innovative, time-saving and profit-increasing products that benefit the supply chain and satisfy consumers’ need for quick, convenient and beautiful color.
Filling A Void
Spring annuals are a hot commodity for any breeding program, and most plant breeders feel they need a presence in this area to compete. But when Dümmen entered the vegetative spring annuals market in the mid-2000s, it did so with an idea and a purpose to fill a need that wasn’t already being met — and it has become a huge success.
Already a large player in the potted plants market for its poinsettias and the bedding plants market for its geraniums, Dümmen was well-known for its grower-friendly Red Fox varieties. Its foray into spring annuals had a clear and specific objective to carry on that history of breeding success, says Perry Wismans, general manager of Dümmen NA.
“We saw that mixed containers and hanging baskets were a growing market, as they were convenient for consumers,” he says. “We were looking for an innovative way to bring genetics to consumers that would be specifically for container gardens.”
After extensive research and trialing, Dümmen introduced Red Fox Confetti Gardens to the industry in 2007, for sales in the 2008 gardening season. The first season began with seven mixes. Now, it its eighth season, Confetti Garden offers 65 mixes and has sold more than 20 million liners.
Confetti Solves A Problem
Confetti Garden products combine cuttings for up to three plants in one liner, with matched timing and growth. Producing combinations from the liner stage assures an explosion of growth when transplanted into the finished container, requiring minimal grower manipulation.
When the product was brought to the market, the idea was met with skepticism, says Wismans, but the team, including Wismans, as well as Breeder Arjan Koot, Red Fox Brand Manager Paul Hammer and Marketing Manager Sonja Dümmen, was confident that Confetti would be a hit.
“Later on, many other benefits came to the surface,” Wismans says. “A mixed liner makes ordering easier for growers. Before, they had to order everything separately, and if there was a delay in receiving other components, it set them back with production timing and plant health. Having this package solved a problem for the grower. We didn’t think about that initially but later, it became a big selling point.”
Because plants are selected to time together, with the right fertilizer and conditions, growers should be able to produce Confetti Garden mixes without plant growth regulators, cutting down on the cost of production inputs, Wismans adds.
Confetti Garden combinations are available to growers as either unrooted or rooted cuttings. Unrooted cuttings are delivered directly from Dümmen-owned and -operated production greenhouses in El Salvador. Growers receive Confetti liners in a “pizza box,” with everything needed to get started with 400 Confetti Garden mixes, including stick tags.
Rooted cuttings are delivered as liners, ready for transplanting, from Dümmen rooting station partners in the Northeast, Midwest and West regions, as well as Canada.
In 2012, Dümmen launched its True Grower Guarantee. For orders of rooted cuttings of Confetti Garden Trio products, all three genera are rooted in the liner, or it’s free. Late or substituted orders are also free. Dümmen is confident in its production and logistics capabilities with its Las Mercedes production site in El Salvador running at full strength, with 50 acres of greenhouses and 1,500 skilled associates producing cuttings.
The facility opened in 2008 and was the first cuttings production farm in the country with an initial nine and a half hectares of greenhouses, and seven more hectares completed in October 2009.
Partnering For Profits
Dümmen extensively trials more than 100 test mixes with its grower partners, but only the best make it to the market.
“Potential mixes have to include components that will root together, grow together at the same vigor, time together at the same flowering time and have a nice color combination,” Wismans says.
Besides looking at the cultural perspective, Dümmen pays attention to current color trends to produce combinations with tone-on-tone colors, as well as contrasting colors. Color preferences are subjective, so a team of designers and growers selects the best palettes to appeal to different tastes.
“When we create mixes for retailers, we work closely with our grower partners,” Wismans says. “The growers grow and test the mixes, we consult and agree together which products are best, then we present a certain offering of 10 mixes for retailers to choose from. Retailers then select what they think will sell best to their customers, with their grower council.”
An Array Of Choices
The Confetti Garden line is split into five sub-series:
- Confetti Garden Aloha features Aloha calibrachoa
- Duo Confetti Garden features Sweetunia, Potunia and/or Surprise petunias
- Duo Confetti Garden Potunia features Potunia petunias
- Trio Confetti Garden Empress features Empress verbenas; and Trio Confetti Garden Mix features three different genera.
Two of the original Confetti Garden mixes are still top sellers, even in the seventh season: Purple Cleopatra and Hot Pink Jazz. Other top sellers include: Hawaiian Summer, Hawaiian Flamingo, Water Colours, Kir Royal, Calypso and Nightlights.
Beautiful Branding In Action
Dümmen works closely with its design agency, John Henry Company and Summit/Janor, to offer eye-catching point-of-purchase merchandising aids to accelerate sales for growers and their retail customers. From artfully designed pots and banners to a dedicated consumer microsite with QR code support on hangtags, Confetti Garden products can be easily supported at the retail level.
Confetti Garden marketing materials include three pot designs, one of which is targeted to the Duo Confetti mixes, and colorful and informative tags and stick tags. Large and small rectangular banners and a unique triangle banner set the stage for table and trolley/cart displays, and Confetti Garden tape rolls help spice up displays of any type.
Starting A New Chapter
Dümmen was established more than 40 years ago by cut flower growers Marga and Günter Dümmen. Today, the company is a leading global producer of young plants, directed by the second generation of the Dümmen family, including Marketing Manager Sonja Dümmen. With its headquarters in Rheinberg, Germany, Dümmen operates production facilities there, as well as in Ethiopia, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Italy. It also holds sales offices in France, Italy and the U.S., and partners with several brokers worldwide to distribute its many products.
Recently, Dümmen was purchased by DNA Green Group, the same holding company that purchased Agribio. Dümmen will continue as the Dümmen Group and stand beside the Red Fox brand. The company will also produce and market other prestigious industry brands, including Ecke, Oglevee and Oro.