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An Beekenkamp | Key figure in the flower industry

What has initially triggered your interest in the world of flowers?

  • Agriculture is in my dna. You should never deny your roots or dna. In my case, my  grandparents were growers, my parents started as a grower and after 1 year they moved on to  be a plant raiser for vegetable young plants.

 

How long have you been professionally engaged in the flower industry?

  • Again, it is in my genes. When I was younger, my siblings and I were involved in the business, helping out wherever we could. It gave us the pocket money in return too. The company started off in vegetables young plants. It has expanded in a diverse way, but still within the industry.  My passion is to continuing the family business.  In ornamentals, vegetables and flower starting material and  as you may know we also have a packaging division too  which is doing very well, this is linked to a lot of segments in the industry too.

 

What are some significant milestones in your career? Can you briefly describe some of your most special or most appreciated projects?

  • I worked my whole life in our company and in 2000 my sister and I took over our family company and together with all the colleagues we have built up our company to what it is now. Another milestone now is the next generation, we are working on it.  If their wish is to entering the business now, they are very welcome to do so but it should be always their own personal decision.

 

What are some common challenges that women face in this industry? And what kind of challenges have you encountered personally? How did you go about overcoming them?

  • Eventhough the industry is still dominated by men, I feel that it is all about the result, whether you are male or female. Nowadays, the acceptance and the equal opportunities are there, you just have to be yourself. Our is industry is fairly compact, everybody knows each other’s business. Mistakes happens, but repeat errors are not easily forgiven. Keep focus on the goal what you like to achieve.

 

What’s your best word of advice to young women starting out in this industry?

  • Stay true to yourself. Despite what other people are saying, believe in yourself. Sometimes you have to adjust, but that goes for every person who walks life. Professionality and integrity go a long way. The people who are worth it to stay in your life, will see eventually your strengths and believe in it. Those are the people you should be working with.And then there is family, if you wish to create a family too, there is space for this. My husband Jos has always supported me in whatever I liked or had to do and he still got my back! Now I am a proud mother of 4 beautiful daughters. They are grown up now, going their own way, thus even in my days, I was able to combine work and being a mother, I just loved it. I support them with my values of life and they implement or adjust it to their owns. Looking back, I am very happy and grateful where I am now; at home I have a loving a caring husband, daughters, their partners and a couple of gorgeous grandchildren combined with a committed “work family”.  All I can say, it turned out pretty much alright for me.

 

What do you love most about your work?

  • The people in combination with the goods. Walking through the greenhouses and offices, feeling the atmosphere and the contact with our customers, suppliers and to visiting exhibitions. Our industry is simply interesting and addictive.

 

What’s your special flower (if there is a special one)? What flowers do you love most?

  • For me the most beautiful flower is the BEGONIA, the plant is flowering for a long time, it is a very nice versatile product, sometimes somewhat underrated and with our new assortment there are so many possibilities. Including where the consumers benefits a colourful lifestyle.

 

Apart from flowers, what else are you passionate about?

  • I’m passionate about vegetables too.

 

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

  • Follow your heart,  take care of your family and take decisions you cannot do everything and look after your health

 

 

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