From Research and Testing Room Vol.10
Another New Year’s Day
Hello this is Kita from Classic’s Research and Testing room!
The Second-half of December is a peak season for us. Once the Christmas is over, people start to count the nights until New Year’s Day.
I am not a kind of person who plans for something special for New Year’s Day, but just has one thing… I prefer Rice cake (mochi) made from scratch at home. Rice cake is a traditional food we eat on New Year’s Day. I love freshly-made rice cake, but I will always remember my mother’s Ozoni (soup with rice cake, a traditional New Year dish)—that taste of clear, rich soup broth with a hint of shoyu and aroma of Japanese honeywort.
It’s also the time for New Year’s allowance for children. My nieces will make me out of pocket this year, too…
From the time when humans were apes…
In this blog, I have been talking about flower’s power to relax people or “Vitamin F.” So, why exactly people are drawn to flowers and feel relaxed when they see flowers?
One interesting theory suggests that from the very early stage of evolution, humans are imprinted from experience that they can find something to eat around flowers. It is said that humans have learned by instinct that maybe there are fruits after the flowers bloom, or even if not, the presence of flowers means that the climate and soil of the surrounding environment is suitable for plants growth.
When thinking about marketing strategy for flowers especially for home-use market sector, we need to find the right product mix to match the needs of our target segment to communicate that “flowers may not be a daily necessity, but are essential in our lives.” Flowers themselves cannot fill human’s stomach, but they show us where we may find food… it is fascinating to think that flowers have been our important partner from the ancient time.
Photosynthesis and our lives
Many of the flowers we import comes from the farms that are located at a high altitude near the equator.
Those places has the spring-like year-round climate as well as a large temperature gap between day and night. Under this kind of environment, nourishment created from the photosynthesis slowly spread throughout the plant body during the night.
It is debatable if the word “photosynthesis” is best to use to explain what I am about to explain here, but let’s say it is…
“Source” is a part where plants manufactures their needed nutrients such as glucose through the process of photosynthesis. The source organs are often leaves, but it can be different depending on the plants.
Then plants store and use those nutrients in organs called “sink.” The major examples of sink organs are fruits and seeds. Our products, flowers, are also sink.
I wrote that leaves are source, but fresh young leaves coming out from the top of the branch consume energy just like flowers instead of producing some. Therefore, young leaves are sink, and when leaves are fresh and young, they are generally prone to physical and chemical damages.
Young or not, they are leaves. It is interesting how they are like us humans— as they grow older they take different roles. When we are young, we consume praise and encouragement as nutrients and once we have become a grown-up, we start to produce those components that gives others energy and nourishments…just like those leaves!
When sink(consumption) and source(production) are in balance, plants are healthy and strong. Those plants are also good in quality as well as yield—it sounds like the way of our life—if we are able to fulfill multiple roles in a well-balanced manner, things will turn up for us too.
Nature is bottomless, indeed. Maybe humans and businesses are all controlled by natural providence.
Test Without a Proper Reason
This is completely unrelated to the subject we have been talking about, but I feel it is truly difficult to conduct a test which does not have a proper reason or purpose that directly leads to what we want to achieve.
If we were writing an academic paper, we could prove one thing at a time, then added those newly obtained results one by one to brush up one’s hypothesis to write a big final paper. However, we belong to a company and our purpose is to support its business. The result of test can mean different depending on how our customers perceive our products or how we capture/interpret things we see. This means that we need to have a clear understanding of why we conduct the test or how we use the result.
There are many institutes who study, evaluate, and research flowers… I would love to have an opportunity to share ideas and thoughts about this point with them.
Anyways, in order to reflect the test result to our business in a way we aim for, I always make a test plan independently for each type of flowers, origins, and items to evaluate. Needless to say, this cannot be done without a clear standard for quality.
Quality standard is the company’s business policy and it changes over time. We need to identify what is most valuable to our customers now, and set our standard so that we can provide such values to them.
Of course, some people have different perspectives and values depending on their own roles or purpose they use flowers for. People who treat and sell a good amount of flowers every day, such as intermediate wholesalers, may value flowers that are easy to handle more than the ones that are not. For consumers/end-users, cost-performance, appearance, or vase life will be important criteria for good quality.
The data we accumulate at the research and testing room must be evaluated in association with the sales performance and each customers’ real voice. Only through this never-ending process, I belive we can gradually define our own framework of quality standard.
Sales Activities in the New Normal Era
Flower industry tends to value “regular customers.” Meanwhile, in this New Normal era, it’s important to find and connect to new customers—especially those who have never bought flowers before.
I have already said the same thing before in this blog, but we need to make sure to provide great experience with flowers to those first-timers!
That one stem in millions of stems we handle is THE stem for our customers. For importers or producers like us, one bad stem seems to be only a very small problem, but for customers the same one stem may be everything they get for that occasion.
Some regular customers may kindly understand the situation and say “we get unlucky this time,” but we should not allow or forget such one bad stem.
We must always remember that and cannot be too careful especially when we handle and deliver a large quantity at a peak season.
Class-chic life with flowers
Many things have occurred in 2020, but overall, we were greatly affected by COVID-19 this year.
We cannot even imagine how the world after COVID-19 will look like, but there is one thing we should always remember: flowers can help people even during the hardest time. We hope more people will become aware of the flower power and start to enjoy #class-chic life with flowers.
Now, have a wonderful holiday and happy new year!