Roses de Florence, from Central Russia
Florence Gervais D’Aldin is not a woman to do things by halves.Moving to a small village, 200 kilometers from Moscow, to pioneer development of unique roses, is not just a business decision – it’s a matter of self expression.
“I like perfume.I’m French.It’s like silk.If I do something I try to do it a different way.’
Florence bought land and built a one hectare greenhouse, and her initial investment doubled to 6 million euro – much to her surprise.”
“In Russia you have to go through special entities that have license.It can double your costs just because this company can work, and the specialists can not work.”
The roses she grows have enhanced aromas and hues, and their uniqueness commands a hefty premium.
“It’s a niche market anyway, so you will buy maybe 5 normal roses and here you will buy one of these.”
She expects her project to begin paying back in about 5 years, when she is anticipating being able to offer an exclusive service for premium clients.
“I can imagine as a fantastic present for the 8th of March for example.Yes definitely a businessman can offer to his wife, to the mother, the unique variety of rose that will be only in the world.And it will be called by the name of his wife, of course.”
Mikhail Glazkov, Art Director at the Wine and Flower Salon, says her project is a remarkable achievement.
“Maybe it’s sounds pompous, but there are heroes in ordinary life. A foreigner comes to Russia, and tries to produce something interesting here, while fighting heavy competition, mass production – and still her roses find their customer.”
Her remote location – originally without internet, phone or electricity, caused all sorts of problems including and construction delays.But to she says that a sense of belonging is a key part of her choice of location.
“First I think you say, OK, so Russia is very big, there are a lot of fields, you can go anywhere. But I also know laws of this country. And one of the laws – You don’t go just where you want, you go where you know people.Then it’s like a very small country – smaller than France.”
After completing the greenhouse, she says that a major problem is simply finding people who want to work.
“It’s not only my problem – what can be the motivation for people because definitely it is not the money only – it doesn’t work.We have higher than average salary here in the greenhouse, and even this is not enough.”
Florence adds that despite Russia’s reputation for corruption she doesn’t have problems with bribe seeking officials.
“I don’t know this problem like bribes.I go nearby, I don’t know. I don’t have these problems.And maybe part because I am French, part because I am a woman, I do things like that……..”