Laura van den Berg has been a mobile florist for 12 months: The Gooise Bloemenbus (The Flower Bus). Her beautifully converted van does not frequent weekly markets and events, but drives through the streets of Blaricum and Almere. “In the same way that eggs and milk used to be sold, I now go door-to-door with flowers.”

Laura – very successfully – completed her training to become a florist and started her career in a flower shop in Hilversum. “I asked myself: is this what I want to for the rest of my life?” She quit her job, then found herself in the cruise sector and sailed the world’s seas for four years as a jewellery salesperson. When she came back home and considered hitting the seas for another term, the world of flowers started to call again.

“Even in primary school, I knew: I will be a florist when I grow up. That feeling was always with me, even when I was at sea”, says Laura. “The cruise ship taught me how much I love service-focused work. People are on holiday, which makes the personal aspect twice as important. I sometimes miss this high level of service when I go out shopping. I wanted to turn that into something when I decided not to return to sea.”

Vase in hand
She was tagged in a video on Facebook that showed some peers in Rotterdam setting up a flower bus. This gave her new inspiration. After some market research and reflecting, she bought the transit van she now uses to traverse the residential
neighbourhoods of Almere and Blaricum. People who want flowers come to her van. Often with vase in hand, so that Laura can arrange the flowers in it. “In the same way that eggs and milk used to be sold, I now sell flowers.”

Height differences
There is a very personal approach. “You remember the vases people bring. ‘Use the brown vase for this bouquet’. It surprises people that you remember.” she says. “Often, people turn up with large, ‘weirdly shaped’ vases. They don’t know what to do with them, they haven’t got the creative skill. I like to use height differences with vases like that; it creates a lovely, lively bouquet. People appreciate it. They also like the fact that you come to them.”

They have to get to know you
Laura has been driving the van around for a year now and has built up a nice clientele of private and business customers. She created a flyer and rang doorbells in her neighbourhoods. “People have to get to know you. And you have to get to know them. A customer told me not long ago: ‘Since you have been coming here, I’ve got fresh flowers every week’.” By now, she now knows exactly what most customers want: a more exclusive assortment. Her telephone number is on the side of her van. People who missed Laura can call her or send a WhatsApp message. “I don’t mind coming back.” People can also contact her for funeral flowers or wedding bouquets. This is what the lady from Almere is specialised in. “Bridal and funeral work suits me, because it requires a personal aspect. Customers confide in you and during emotional moments, tell you what they want.”

Plantion on Wednesdays
Laura buys almost all her products at Plantion clock auctions. She goes to Ede every Wednesday. “There is the most choice on that day.” As a relatively small entrepreneur, she can choose from a comprehensive assortment that meets all her wishes. “Most of all, the quality is excellent. This is important to my customers; they are in a higher market segment. For that reason, I mostly buy the more exclusive types of flowers. Plantion is the best place for those.”

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