Interview With Judith Plitman From ConAn Multiflor – Phalaenopsis Growers From Ecuador

Staff
11 Min Read

Join this insightful interview with Judith Plitman to learn all about the thriving phalaenopsis business she leads all the way in Ecuador, a country that is mainly known for growing roses. Discover more about ConAn Multiflor Ecuador, what products they grow as a flower company, and why they chose to center their attention around orchids.

Learn More About Ecuador’s Phalaenopsis Grower – ConAn Multiflor

In a recent interview, Judith was able to share relevant information about ConAn, for people all over the world to discover what the company is about.

 

Meet Judith Plitman of ConAn Multiflor

 

Q: Where does the name ConAn Multiflor come from?

Judith:

“The company name is Equipos de Control y Análisis Plitman ConAn Cía. Ltda. as its original products were control systems for highly specialized industries. Some years after founding the company, we started producing plants. The brand was baptized MULTIFLOR which means ‘many flowers’ in Spanish. Our providers and clients refer to us usually as ConAn Multiflor as a mix of the company name and the brand but clients know us as Multiflor.”

Q: When was the company founded, by whom, and for which reason?

Judith:

“The company was founded in 1994 by Roberto Leopoldo Plitman Pauker. His passion had always revolved around plants. He had a large private collection of orchids and cacti, but there wasn´t a plant he would not enjoy. 

In 1998, Ecuador was having a huge crisis that was affecting companies and banks. As a big visioner, Roberto realized that there was not a big pot plant industry in Ecuador. He and Beate decided to convert their passion to an income, bearing in mind that many obstacles had to be solved. For example, at that time there were no growing pots available (national producers would use plastic bags or cut bottles to plant their products). As he was still starting and couldn´t import a container of pots (as done nowadays) he had to produce his own pots. Today Multiflor sells almost 100.000 orchids per year plus other ornamental plants.”

 Q: Which products do you grow?

Judith:

“We grow mainly phalaenopsis orchids. In minor quantities, we grow anthurium, Elatior begonia, Rex begonia, several cacti varieties, cyclamen, dionaea, gerbera, kalanchoe, poinsettia, and Saintpaulia.”

 

Judith Plitman with anthuriums grown by ConAn
Colorful anthuriums grown by ConAn Multiflor in Ecuador

 

Q: Many growers in Ecuador focus on roses, some on gypsophila, and hypericum. We don’t know any phalaenopsis growers from Ecuador. What made you decide to grow this product?

Judith:

“When ConAn Multiflor started producing plants, there was already a big market producing high-quality cut flowers (mainly roses) for export. But there wasn´t any production of hybrid orchids. Less of pot plants for the national market. 

Phalaenopsis was chosen as it is very suitable for clients with little experience having plants at home. The huge variety of colors also makes them very attractive for the public. This was the reason Roberto started producing phalaenopsis by Floricultura and Saintpaulia (over 200 varieties in all shapes and colors). To gain the acceptance of phalaenopsis was harder than Saintpaulia as it was not known by the public and clients were afraid of the higher price and it not surviving.

This was due to the fact that orchids were mainly sold by people collecting them from nature (Ecuador has over 4000 species). Naturally, a collected plant from nature has little chance of surviving if one does not have a lot of experience. So clients perceived them as very sensitive and hard to maintain. Education about hybrids was offered and given, and nowadays people know Multiflor for offering accessible hybrid orchids that last and do not harm nature.”

Growing Phalaenopsis in Ecuador

Q: What is so beautiful/fun about growing phalaenopsis? Since when do you grow phalaenopsis?

Judith:

“It is a beautiful product grown by us since 1998 and has much longer durability of its blooming than other plants. The reproduction in the Floricultura laboratories is fascinating, almost like science fiction. As a client, we get wonderful articles to read about the world of phalaenopsis. Additionally, we produce many different plants and love them all. But the special love of the founder for orchids and his private collection still being part of the company gives it a sentimental attachment.”

Q: How many varieties do you grow?

Judith:

“We mainly produce phalaenopsis orchid varieties in over 50 different colors, sizes, and shapes.”

 

Different types of phalaenopsis grown in Ecuador

 

Q: What do you think of when you hear the name Floricultura?

Judith:

“I think of their impressive quality, innovation, their large quantity of varieties and colors, accessible prices, and their wonderful teams (production, sales services, export) giving a very personal experience. I love their humble attitude, especially considering how huge they are.  Floricultura is the correct business partner for those that wish to start with phalaenopsis orchids in their flower business as they are very beneficial in all aspects of production. And the big producers know as well that Floricultura is the best option. 

Q: Why did you choose Foricultura for your phalaenopsis?

“We contacted Floricultura the first time as we knew their great quality and were happy that Mr. Post (who now is retired) was so kind to see the potential and sell small quantities. Working alongside them is very efficient, personal, and fun. But most importantly, after all, their teams are honest and loyal people, making them the long-term business partner you wish for. Today Floricultura and ConAn Multiflor have exclusivity. We couldn´t be prouder. 

3. The Experience of Selling Phalaenopsis in Ecuador

When it comes to selling phalaenopsis orchids in Ecuador, Judith gives her opinion:

Q: Do people in Ecuador like phalaenopsis? How do you see that?

Judith:

“Ecuador loves phalaenopsis orchids. Many clients collect them by color. We sometimes joke and say they seem to be more loved than a pet.”

 

ConAn Multiflors Judith Plitman with orchids

 

Q: How do you sell your Phalaenopsis? Through an auction, or more directly to wholesalers or florists?

Judith:

“We have 3 shops in Quito. But sell also to different wholesalers, a home improvement store company, and a supermarket chain. The supermarket chain and the home improvement company have shops all over the country.”

Q: How does that develop?

Judith:

“Ecuador is suffering a political and economic crisis. This reflects very much on the sales. Luckily we are a well-known brand people trust. We also work hand in hand with our clients that have a very well-structured logistic chain and shops all over the country. This helps to maintain prices as distances are long and complicated (bad streets). Our clients’ growth is not as big as in the past, but existing. This way, along with our own strategies is why wer’re still growing.” 

Q: For which market(s) are Floricultura’s phalaenopsis suitable, do you think? Which countries?

Judith:

“I believe that if a country is suitable for selling and growing phalaenopsis without any grand issues, then Floricultura’s phalaenopsis will indeed be suitable. On international shows, I talk to other producers and they are all happy with them as one of the biggest orchid breeders in th world. Actually in South America, which is a mainly new market, many have changed to Floricultura from other providers. I believe it is not only their quality and price (which is the most important reason) but also the very personal and fast response from the entire team.

Q: Do you export your phalaenopsis?

Judith:

“We sell only in the national market. As the founder used to say: Ecuadorians should also have great products and not all should be exported.”

Q: What is the main reason for a florist/floral designer to buy phalaenopsis from ConAn Multiflor and Floricultura?

Judith:

” For me, it comes to three important characteristics: quality, variety of colors, and range of prices.”

 

ConAn Multiflors orchid greenhouse

 

4. Experiences with Floricultura

Continuing with the interview, Judith insightfully shares her point of view while working with Floricultura’s products.

Q: What are your experiences so far with growing their products?

Judith:

“Working with Floricultura has definitely been the best decision ever!”

Q: How does Floricultura support you with the cultivation of Phalaenopsis?

Judith:

“Our conditions are very different from Europe, so we do most of the testing by ourselves (which after such a long time of producing is not often). But many things don´t need to be tried out by ourselves when counting on the experience of Floricultura which are sometimes even such basics as which provider (pots, substrate, etc.) they recommend. 

Q: How does Floricultura support you in promoting Phalaenopsis?

Judith:

“The exclusivity with Floricultura is already a way of promoting our gorgeous products”.

 

Judith with different phalaenopsis orchid varieties

 

To learn additional information about ConAn, make sure to visit their website.

 

Photos courtesy of ConAn Multiflor

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