Alkavat, great roses at great height

At 3200 meter altitude it is the highest rose farm in the town Cayambe, Ecuador. Right on the skirts of the volcano Cayambe lays the farm of the Alkavat group. Carrying the brands Valle Verde, Sol pacific and Foxy roses. They grow all kinds of roses since 2005. If you look up from the highest part of their 54 hectare farm you see the volcano on top of the hill, the scenery is spectacular. Alkavat and Flowex are already partners since 2009 and we could describe the partnership as a friendship that keeps growing. Today we talked with Kathrine Hordoiza, general manager of the Alkavat group. She tells us passionately about her company and the beautiful roses they grow.

One thing that immediately gets our attention is the altitude of the farm, it is much higher than the other ones in this region. Why did they choose to go so high in the mountains? Kathrine explains us that when they started, they had a farm that was much lower, near Quito. At this farm they had significant quality problems and wanted to improve their quality. They started looking for other places that where: higher up in the mountains, had water and room for expansion. They came across a former dairy farm that is now the beating heart of the Alkavat group. With 54 hectares, and this year growing with 5 hectares, it met all the requirements. Thanks to the altitude the roses are stronger, grow longer, have a better vase life and the colors are bolder and brighter. This ensures a better quality of the roses.

Take a look at the farm of Alkavat

High quality, eco-friendly and social responsible

Striving for high quality fresh roses, grown as eco-friendly as possible and be a social responsible company, that is what Alkavat stands for. They take sustainability and ethical rose growing practices very seriously. Kathrine says, they strongly believe that taking care of their employees and the environment can create the best quality roses while having a positive impact. Most employees live close to the farm and their kids go to the school that Alkavat funds for them. They take care of the health of their employees and families with for example dental services at the farm. They celebrate Christmas and other holidays together with the kids of the employees and give them recognition and funds for their good grades at school.

To take care of the environment they have numerous projects to improve the environmental practices at the farm. Last year they started to install solar panels, the first stage is now fully installed and in September they will start with the second stage. The goal is to be completely self-efficient.
As a rose grower you have to use chemicals to protect your crops. These chemicals come in the water and will pollute the river. To prevent this from happening Alkavat cleans their used water and with the help of specific plants that take out all the residues. The plastic covers that are used are picked up by certified companies and recycled.

Solar panels Alkavat farm
River Alkavat farm
Waterfiltering Alkavat farm

Unfair competition

Kathrine sees that after the pandemic the number of illegal farms in the valley has dramatically increased. Nowadays the whole valley is covered in plastic she tells us. The problem with these small farms is that they cause unfair competition as they don’t pay royalties to the breeders, taxes and social services. She tells us a group of her employees work at these farms after working hours and it worries her that: they make very long days, are not insured and most of the time don’t the right or correct equipment when working with the chemicals on the roses. The chemicals used on the roses are not registered and can be toxic for the consumer and the workers. It can cause major pollution of the environment and especially the river that is the main water source for the whole region. Formal farms like Alkavat try to use as much eco-friendly products as possible to control diseases and pests. Special water control systems make sure the water is thoroughly cleaned before returning it to the river, to minimize the environmental impact.

Key to succes

The relationship between Alkavat and Flowex started in 2009 and has grown stronger ever since. Kathrine and Flowex are satisfied with our partnership where we help each other whenever we can. We both strive to give our customers an excellent service experience. This is the key to the success of both of our businesses that strives to provide our customers of excellent Ecuadorian Roses.

An architect in the flower business

Kathrine talks with a lot of enthusiasm and is visibly proud of her company and employees. Originally she studied and worked as an architect and lived in the US, where she met her husband with who she has three kids. When she came back from the US she started working at the family construction company. Where little by little she started to get involved in the flower business. ‘The motion, the people and the traveling of the flower business captivated me and let me enjoy life from a different perspective’, she says.
To balance her sometimes hectic days she loves to go out running and tries to live as healthy as possible. Kathrine is very clear when we ask her about what makes her happy ‘I love to see the smile on people’s faces when they receive our flowers. When we give flowers to the people in the office on mother’s day, their smile makes me happy. When you get flowers you get happy and it gives you a smile. That is the beauty of our business’.

With their 600 employees and 54 hectares of garden, spray and regular roses we can understand that Kathrine is very proud of her company. She values her staff a lot as they are always trying to make a big effort to please the clients. She says that is where there strength lies, ‘we strive to do the best we can for our clients. That’s what drives us as a team. When needed we make extra hours or come in during the weekend. We have a very strong team and I am very thankful for that.’

Planting process roses
Alkavat farm Ecuador roses
Employee carries boxes with Ecuador roses

Garden and spray roses become more and more popular

Together with this team they grow a wide variety of regular, spray and garden roses. 20 years ago the traditional red, white and yellow roses where popular. Nowadays they closely watch the latest trending colors in fashion. The garden and spray roses are getting more and more popular, especially the romantic garden roses, with their dynamic shape and texture they stand out from the regular roses. This year they started with 15 new varieties, where at least 6 of them are garden roses.
One of Kathrine ’s most interesting varieties is the Veggie rose. This variety looks totally different from a regular rose, Veggie intrigues and captivates you. Looking like a sort of lettuce, it is a unique variety. Kathrine loves the romantic Quicksand rose, they are elegant, pure and their color is beautiful when they open. Quicksand is absolutely a stunning variety and is especially popular during wedding season. When we ask her how they choose their varieties she tells us it’s one of the most challenging tasks. You never know if you are picking the right thing. Luckily it’s not a one men job, the agronomist and sales department have a big say in making the right selection but they also closely watch the latest fashion trends and ask for the advice at the breeder. Kathrine says she really has to trust her people in making the right decisions in which varieties they are going to pick up. But you never know if what you pick is going to be a hit or you have to remove it in 2 years.

Quiksand Ecuador rose
Veggie Ecuador rose

Valle Verde, Solpacific and Foxy roses from the Alkavat group are grown at approximately 3200m on the skirts of the Cayambe volcano. Offering a wide range of all kinds of responsibly grown roses, we are sure you will be impressed by them. Alkavat believes that when taking care of their employees and their environment, they can grow high quality roses that have a positive impact. With their excellent service they always try to help us to fulfill our orders, which makes them a long term and reliable partner. Together we created a beautiful video where you can get to know the Alkavat group and see where and how their flowers are grown and fall in love with their beautiful roses. Are you interested in roses from the Alkavat group? Do not hesitate to contact our sales team and see their beauty for yourself.

You probably know them from their world renown preserved rose brand, RoseAmor. Characterized by their high quality and always innovating colors and designs. This ambitious brand is market leader and wants to stay there. Flowex imports their products already for more than 20 years. Situated in Cayambe, Ecuador right on the Equator at 2.800 meter above sea level, lays the farm and offices of Emihana. But who are the faces behind this world renown brand? What drives them and what makes their product so special? We are asking these and many more questions to Juan Diego Ucros, sales representative at Emihana and son of CEO Diego Ucros.

It all started with a pressure cooker

23 years ago Diego moved with his family from Colombia to Cayambe, Ecuador to run a new rose farm as a CEO. The rose farm Emihana started in 1997 as a fresh flower grower famous for its high quality garden roses. Because of the high altitude, 2800 meter, and its location right on the Equator. Which ensures the most hours of day light year round. They can produce the best quality roses. Flowex and Emihana are partners already for more than 20 years. Back in the day we were importing their famous beautiful garden roses and nowadays we represent them in Europe with RoseAmor preserved roses. Together with Carlos Maldonado they were always striving for excellent quality and looking for new opportunities in the business to stand out from the crowd. That is why they started 20 years ago with experiments in a pressure cooker to preserve roses. In the year 2000 the brand RoseAmor was born and they started specializing exclusively in preserved roses. Nowadays, 95% of the flowers grown at Emihana farms are roses exclusively used for preservation, and 5% are other flowers that are used for preservation.

Take a tour on the farm

Number one in preserved roses

Today RoseAmor is a market leader in preserved roses. Their roses have bright deep colors, are uniform and are durable. Juan tells us that, it is their mission to be the number one brand and stay the number one brand on the market. His dream is to see the RoseAmor roses at the biggest hotels, cruise ships, weddings, events and public places. They aim to get everyone to know the RoseAmor brand as the best high quality brand for preserved roses on the market. RoseAmor aspires to be a brand that people recognize. A brand that people specifically ask for. Like consumers don’t just want sneakers, they want Nikes.

One big family

With around 450 people working at the farm, Emihana is quite a big farm. But that doesn’t mean that Diego doesn’t know every single employee. They strongly believe that an employee who feels good physically and mentally is a hardworking and happy employee. If you have some kind of problem that is work related or a private matter, you can always turn to Diego or Natalia who are respectively called El Papa and La Mama by everyone at the farm. They want everybody to feel good and care about all their workers. Not only Diego and Natalia are important at the farm, also Carlos is a very important person at the farm. He is responsible for the quality of the roses and the preservation process. Without him, they wouldn’t  have those high and constant standards, that they have today.

Team Emihana and RoseAmor family employees
Cooking lunch for the whole team and the workers for a reasonable fee
At the farm of RoseAmor, the beginning of a preserved rose

Not one day is the same

We ask Juan how he got involved in the company of his father. He tells us that at first he was not planning to enter the flower business. He studied psychology at a University in Colombia. After he graduated, a friend offered him a job as a sales representative at a rose farm in Ecuador. After a year there was a job opening at his father’s company, who was looking for a sales representative that was trustworthy and long-term committed to expand the brand RoseAmor. Now 8 years later he cycles every morning to the farm and loves the contact that he has every day with people all over the world. One moment someone from Flowex calls for an order, the next minute someone out of Dubai needs a big amount of preserved roses and 10 minutes later someone from the USA is interested. He tells us that he loves the way flowers make you feel, you are not selling a product like a pen or staples. You are not selling just flowers, but you are selling emotions, a gift to someone you love or a dear friend. When you see flowers they always bring you some kind of emotion. For what can we wake up Juan? He laughs and says we can always call him in the middle of the night if we need a sea container of roses. Although he doesn’t sleep that much as he works 24/7 and his daughter of just 4 years old also wakes him up sometimes during the night.

Bonita is more than just a pretty rose

The past years preserved flowers grew in popularity, but because of the situation with Russia it became a bit more challenging as it caused more tension in the world. Also the strong dollar is a challenge at the moment says Juan. For countries in Europe for  example it becomes more expensive to buy products from Ecuador. But Juan always sees an opportunity in every challenge and stays optimistic. He sees that new upcoming trends like ready to sell flowers in gift boxes or in glass bell jars are becoming more and more popular. When we ask him about his favorite flower in their assortment he immediately tells us he loves the Bonita roses. He even gave them the name. As he thinks that they are very pretty, it is a big flower with perfect open petals. He especially likes the Bonita Blu 03 with its beautiful deep night blue color that is not found in nature, therefore it feels special to Juan.

The perfect rose

The RoseAmor preserved roses are the best on the market at the moment. They stand out because they are uniform and have the capacity to produce large quantities, while keeping the same quality. All roses have to have the perfect spiral and no spots or crooked petals. The process is made to perfection from the perfect uniform flower to the preservation process. Where the flower is first dehydrated and then the water is replaced by glycerin. After that it is painted in the desired color and slowly dried so it stays as pretty as a fresh flower for a long time.

Preserved rose Bonita Blu 03
Bonita Blu 03
Preserved roses in production. All the roses have to look almost exactly the same. They need to be uniform, completely spotless and have perfect petals. Note the that they all have exactly the same deep colour
Preserved roses in production

A happy and motivated team

You could say that the whole team at Emihana is a hard working family. They are all highly motivated to take that extra step for their clients and deliver them the best quality. When Flowex make a big order they happily make longer days so we can get all our flowers in time. To keep the staff motivated and happy, they offer lunch to all their employees for the small fee off $ 5,- per month. They celebrate holidays and birthdays but also pay attention to other important days to raise awareness like, international day for the elimination of violence against woman.

giving back and helping the community caring for staff and people social cummunity
Giving back to the community
Water treatment plant. Cleaning used water environment sustainability recycling
Water treatment plant
RoseAmor raises awareness on special days like international day for the elimination of violence against woman.
International day for the elimination of violence against woman

Caring for natural recourses

When making a preserved flower you cannot avoid to use several chemicals. Emihana deeply cares about the environment and tries to keep their impact as low as possible. They feel it is their responsibility to care for all natural resources. Not only do they need fertilizers and sometimes crop protection products to keep the quality of the fresh roses constant. They also need to use glycerin and paint for the preservation process. These products all end up in the water eventually. To not contaminate the river, they clean and filter all their water. The glycerin and paint is then recycled. In addition to that, they find education very important. That’s why they help other farms with improving their sustainability.

With its great ambition to stay market leader and to let everyone fall in love with RoseAmor. This hardworking company is one to watch. Their excellent quality of preserved flowers is like you have never seen before. The endless creativity of inventing new colors and designs makes it timeless product, perfect for every occasion. We are very proud that we have a long term partnership with them and represent RoseAmor in Europe, where we can offer you a big range of preserved roses right out of our stock. With new stock arriving year round we can provide you with all their beautiful preserved roses and other flowers that RoseAmor has to offer.