YouTube Like their flowers, this family’s business is flourishing. The Van Der Meer family work together as a tightly knit team to plant, harvest and deliver flowers from their New South Wales Southern Highlands farm to nearby regions.
During the pandemic, online shopping and telephone orders tripled, and they were running a prospering roadside stall.
As markets closed, a new income stream opened up for A&M Flowers when they started supplying wholesalers with flowers from their Tallong property. Melanie Van Der Meer is in charge of harvesting flowers at the farm in Tallong. For Arnoldus “Arno” Van Der Meer, the secret to the thriving family business is investing in his children. “I see my family, my kids, I see them growing, I see them flourishing and I think that’s the best thing you can have in life,” he said. Arno offers advice on how they achieve family cohesion and prosperity even though they work 365 days a year.
“As an older person I grew up the old-fashioned way. You have to open yourself and listen to the ideas and the ways younger people see things,” he said.
“When you understand that and you respect that, you bring that into practice and it works”. Arno and Melanie Van Der Meer arrive at the markets at 5:30am to serve customers by 7am. (ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss) From little things big things grow
Arno’s daughter, Melanie Van Der Meer, 18, is an early riser, these days by choice.
Her strong work ethic can be attributed to a childhood on flower farms and rising early to catch the Sydney Flower Markets with her parents.
Now, on market days, it is Melanie arriving in Wollongong before sunrise with Arno to unload the truck and display flowers for sale. Melanie enjoys trading face to face at the Wollongong markets.(ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss) Melanie says she enjoys the market stall, and clearly her creativity and people skills are put to good use here.
“I like to mix it up, so people look around everywhere,” she said.
“You get to see their expressions and notice, ‘Oh they are happy with this’.”
Melanie spends her day at the stall. There’s no time for shopping.
“I know what needs to be done,” she said.
Having completed high school and a patisserie course, Melanie plans to one day open a flower cafe at the Tallong farm. “Flowers are my passion and I’d like to have a little cafe at the front of the farm, have little tours, photo taking and show off what we’ve got, and how we are making it grow,” she said. Arno and Melanie at the Wollongong markets.(ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss) ‘Born between the flowers’
Arno was “born between the flowers”, having grown up on flower farms in the Netherlands.
“My parents, they are flower growers,” he said.
“Us kids, we helped our parents on the farm in the Netherlands, growing flowers, doing things.”
Arno left the family farm for a job that took him to 82 countries as a glasshouse builder and supervisor.
“For 25 years I built glasshouses over the whole world and when I was almost 40, I thought, ‘That’s it, I am getting out of this and go back into flowers’,” he said. Arno is in charge of bunching flowers and carrying out farm maintenance, including on hothouses.(ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss) Arno says the business is like a jigsaw puzzle and when the pieces fall in the right direction, it works.
“Without forcing your children and telling them what to do, just let them work on themselves, let them create their own path and see if they fit in the system,” Arno said. A master grower at 20 Among other jobs, Adrian Van Der Meer delivers flowers and foliage to the Sydney markets.(ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss) Arno’s son, Adrian Van Der Meer, has become the master grower on the farm, a big responsibility for a 20-year-old.”We take the seedlings, we plant them, we nurture and grow them,” Adrian said.”We pick them, we harvest them, we pack them, sort them out and bring them to the wholesaler.””We plant every week to make sure that we have flowers every week.”Adrian said there were ups and downs in the family business.”We all have our own ways of how we want to do stuff, but we have to come to a mutual understanding.” Success is not all about money Margarita Van Der Meer makes bouquets for online orders, markets and the farm stall.(ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss) Arno’s wife, Margarita “Margie” Van Der Meer, has studied floristry.”We were growing tulips and lilies and I […]
source Flower farmers and florists, the Van Der Meers, open up on how to make a family business blossom