SUSAN Su, homemaker and mother of two sons, is thinking out of the box.
It could be possible that perhaps she is seeking to diversify from helping out her husband with manufacturing paper boxes in Meru, Klang which Su has been doing for years. Whatever her reasons she has chosen to have a business of her own, one that is meaningful to her aesthetic sense, like propagating Phalaenopsis or moth orchids.
Blooming flowers will brighten up everything that looks dull, says an artistic Su.
To her, Phalaenopsis have become extremely attractive not only to flower lovers but are in increasing demand in functions and events. These orchids have been accepted as symbol of prominence and significance. It is therefore not surprising to find the presence of Phalaenopsis in most functions events, major or minor.
Among their many colours, the white ones are frequently presented at occasions of bereavement. It is believed that these flowers bring along with them blessings, peace, calm, gracefulness and ease.
From the size of the flowers (averaging 15 cm each) and the length of time that the orchids last, Su saw the potential of a good business model in planting Phalaenopsis.
Based on her belief in the demand for these flowers, Su took the first step in planting these flowers on a commercial scale and today she proudly has a 3,000sq ft greenhouse, where her dream orchids grow and bloom.
After six months of feasibility study, Su established Hua Tien Propagation Technology Sdn Bhd (019-282-2118) in October last year.
As the chairman of the company, Su has been very creative, and has come up with uncountable ideas to build up her Phalaenopsis business.
Without proper business planning and lengthy research on the planting of Phalaenopsis, we can never come out with good quality and long lasting flowers, Su notes, adding that research work started in January last year.
Su believes that a successful business requires a strong consumer base, which in turn necessitates quality products. To her, only research and a good business development plan will help make the business a success.
As a wife and mother starting a business, Su says she is very fortunate to have both her husband and eldest son helping her. Su discloses that her husband and eldest son help out in not only the planting, but also transporting and marketing of the flowers.
Upon having completed the first stage of research work, Su and family, who are Taiwanese with permanent resident status in Malaysia, managed to set up the 3,000 sq ft greenhouse in October last year, planting the Taiwan imported Phalaenopsis species.
Hua Tien transferred advanced technology and planting techniques from Taiwan to provide the best facilities such as fully automated climate control system for the flowers in the greenhouse. In fact, Su's son Jimmy Lin told us that everything about the greenhouse had been imported lock, stock and barrel from Taiwan.
By manipulating the system, we are able to control the desired temperature, sunlight intensity, moisture and humidity of the greenhouse which is specifically designed for Phalaenopsis, says Su.
She further points out that the bio-engineered method used in the greenhouse has enabled that 95 per cent of the flowers grown to be healthy and long lasting.
To maintain the vitality of the flowers, we must have good control of the sunlight, temperature and weather at different growing stages, Su explains.
However, due to the different environment and weather in Malaysia compared to a cooler Taiwan, the family has changed the planting techniques to suit the tropical weather of Malaysia. Su also stresses that a planter of Phalaenopsis, must persistently take care of the plants from the time when they are still small shoots till they bloom into flowers.
To retain the originality of Phalaenopsis, Hua Tien flies in the breeded Phalaenopsis shoots from Taiwan, which are then planted with their expertise of planting moth orchids.
Flower shoots must be kept in a cool temperature of 16-17 degrees Celcsius for three months until they start bearing flowers. A month later, the orchids have to be moved to another room at 25 degree Celsius.
Based on the research done by Hua Tien, in Taiwan, it takes two and a half years for a small shoot to bloom into flowers.
The flowers will thereafter be put into rattan baskets of different sizes. Ribbons hand-made by Su, little bookmarks with poems written by Su, artificial birds and other decorations, based on the purpose of the function or event, will adorn the particular Phalaeonopsis.
According to Lin, Hua Tien which delivers its orchids within the greater Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya area expects to build its research and development centre in Malaysia on tissue culture in the near future.
He says: This will allow us to replicate the desired plants and flowers efficiently to cater for the local market as well as the export market.
At the moment, Hua Tien's (firstname.lastname@example.org) clientele are mainly hotels, corporations, offices, and high-end consumers. Lin believes the company's business will grow bigger when it captures more markets, including overseas markets.
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