10 Questions to Eli Perez, the General Manager of Rosamina

Staff
12 Min Read

This week, Eli Perez, General Manager of Rosamina, a powerful Colombian Protea company that sees every challenge as the greatest opportunity to rise to the top and keep growing worldwide takes over the ’10 questions to’ segment. The company, located in the Bogotá Savannah has dedicated the past thirty years to the production and commercialization of flowers. The business started in the rose market and, for the past fifteen years, Eli and his team have expanded into the production of proteas and foliage, in the three most important genres of this family such as Leucadendron, Leucospermum, and Proteas, becoming the largest producer of these in the country.

Eli shares how their work at Rosamina extends beyond borders. With a strong presence in key markets such as the United States, the Netherlands, China, and Central America, we strive to connect with discerning customers worldwide. 

Question 1

For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do?

“Hello! My name is Eli Perez. I was born in Bogota Colombia. I am a dad to a son and a daughter and have 5 grandchildren. I have been in the flower industry for over thirty years. I joined the family business at Rosamina when I was 19. I left for some time, working in all areas of the industry, and found my way back to Rosamina. Initially Rosamina was a rose farm.

Today, we are the largest Protea and greens farm in South America. Now Dalia, my daughter, has joined the team, becoming the third generation member to join the business. My experience has given me the opportunity to understand how the industry moves and changes.

Today we have a commercial brand, Global Proteas, made up of three companies: Rosamina (CO), Splendor Proteas (USA), and Fijn Veldt (SA). Working and growing the companies has become my passion. We work with very different and unique products, striving to provide Proteas from Colombia to the world!”

 

Eli Perez, General Manager of Rosamina

 

Question 2

What is so special about your job?

“As I mentioned before I don’t consider my involvement in the companies as a job. It’s my passion where we innovate, create, grow, contemplate, develop, and propose new ideas in all areas to better serve the end consumer experience. For us in Rosamina, the emotional effect our plants and flowers give others is what makes our job important no matter where we send them.

This entails growing, building, transportation and logistics, and delivery of the product through the chain with the best efficiency possible. We get to bring joy and emotions through flowers into people’s lives every day and nothing makes me happier than this.”

Question 3

Are there any specific challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your job, and how did you overcome them?

“For me, there are no challenges, only opportunities to get better in everything we do. We have had all sorts of experiences from being able to source plant material to rooting to growing and shipping. As a team, we have made a huge difference in the Protea and foliage industry, now being pioneers in the production of Proteas in South America, where we were told Proteas would never grow.

In the post harvesting process, we have been able to create a flexible operation very different to a typical post-harvest. We were able to innovate in this process to build and provide the proper services for our customers whether they are looking to buy in bulk, bouquets or arrangements, and so on.

Being able to grow Proteas has been the most eventful experience for me and there’s nothing that makes me prouder nowadays than being able to offer a diverse variety of them to the market, which singles us out in the international marketplace around the world.

PS: There’s a lot of trial and error involved to overcome all opportunities that arise, of course.

 

King Proteas by Rosamina
Pink Proteas by Rosamina

 

Question 4

What are the threats in the industry, and if so, do you have any solutions for them?

“Climate change is a factor that affects all growers; taking steps towards becoming carbon neutral is our goal in mitigating those effects.

Freight costs are constantly on the rise, putting pressure on floral sales. Freight fees have become a huge percentage of the final cost of flowers, threatening the purchasing habits for the next generations. Flowers are being perceived as a special event purchase by newer generations, with weekly purchases of flowers as a staple to simply have at home.

Our unique products have a huge advantage and endless possibilities such as their long vase life, which makes them appealing to younger generations. Being cognizant of new developments in the industry, some are much-welcomed while others seem counterproductive, so the question is: what would you like to change to create a desirable environment for yourself and the floral chain as a whole?”

 

Rosamina farms Colombia
Part of the Rosamina farms in Colombia

 

Question 5

How has technology like e-commerce platforms or digital marketing affected your industry, which strategies have you employed to stay competitive?

“We always look to take advantage of continued changes in the ways the consumer works. We have found that technology and what e-commerce brings is a new way of selling anything and flowers as well. Today all levels and areas of the flower industry use technology in different ways to better serve their customers. End consumers from the import, wholesale, florist, mass markets are even using these resources. I believe this will only keep on being developed and it will keep on changing how customers buy.

We have created a bouquet operation to provide e-commerce companies and continue to propose a differented product to include Proteas and different types of foliage’s that we produce. This has kept us very competitive in what buyers are looking for, as ‘something different’ in the market. We believe in being different and unique in all areas of our business and projects is one of the key aspects to stay competitive as well.”

 

A mix of protea with pink spray roses

A mix of pink Proteas with pink spray roses

 

Question 6

Who (in or outside the floral industry) is an inspiring example to you? And Why?

“I have worked with two advisers and friends in the industry which have marked a difference where I have taken the company. One is the growing end which opened our minds on how to make a difference in the way we should grow proteas which we have made a statement in the production end in the world.

The other adviser opened up our views on the market and we were able to sell our product in different ways which resulted in the development of a good volumes of sales. After working with them, we are constantly looking for ways to maintain a distinctive edge from what happens in the market and what our competition is doing.”

Question 7

How do you handle stress or difficult moments in your life?

“After many ups and downs throughout my life I have changed and grown to understand that structure is the most important. Like I mentioned before, there are no challenges, only opportunities are the same as there are no negatives, only possibilities. When I speak of structure, I have cultivated a physical structure and a mental structurer to maintain positive attitude independently of what the present circumstances may be.

Divide the 24 hours in a day in three parts with a good 8-hour sleep, 8-hour work and the other eight hours equally divided in health, family and faith. My life circumstances or opportunities are accepted and confronted with reality to act upon the potential growth as soon as they arise. This structure deals with my day today and keeps me balanced and at peace. To cultivate this requires concertation, dedication, and perseverance.”

 

Eli Perez working grounds at Rosamina

 

Question 8

What has been the best (floral or non-floral) news for you lately, or of the last year?

“The growth in technology and how it’s being used in the industry, new airlines and transportation capacity growth and the potential to teach consumers about Proteas.”

Question 9

Which is your favorite flower/plant and why is it good for you?

“My favorite flower is the King Protea. The size,the duration, and the emotional feeling of what you perceive from this flower is amazing. I have worked with many flowers throughout my life and in general, I really love all flowers but this one has a special place in my heart. Shapes, colors, and smell duration of flowers is unique, but the King Protea stands out from the process of cultivation to having it in a single vase and/or a bouquet and then keeping it dry is amazing as well.

The emotion that it emits is powerful! Yes, when you feel and see how the king feels, colors, illuminates, and oxygenates any space it makes all your surroundings feel alive.”

 

Eli Perez with King Proteas
Eli Perez with his fave flower ‘King Protea’

 

Pink King Protea
A beautiful pink King Protea by Rosamina

 

Question 10

What are you doing this weekend?

“The weekend is for family; spending time with my grandkids, and spoiling them plus being able to let go of everything to be able to truly connect with them. I also like to work on my faith and soul connection. I love excercising, especially jogging for a long 40 – 50 miles on my bike and the gym. Of course, a couple of good meals with excellent company to top it off and there you have the formula for a great weekend!”

 

Eli Perez with Daughter Dalia  Perez

Eli Perez with Daughter Dalia Perez

 

Eli Perez in family time
Eli Perez enjoys family time

 

All photos courtesy of Eli Perez

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