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Zehava Danziger | Founder of Danziger Company

Beginning in the early 1950’s as the dream of Ernest and Zehava Danziger, Danziger Group has grown into a major floriculture producer, with over 500 million cuttings of Danziger varieties planted each year, in more than 60 countries. As one of the world’s most innovative floriculture companies today, the company is engaged in the research, breeding, development, propagation, production, sales and marketing of varieties of cut flowers, annuals and perennials.

Zehava, as the proud co-founder and co-owner of Danziger, has been at the forefront of the flower industry since the company’s inception.

 

 

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

  • When the State of Israel was established in 1948, agriculture was in focus as providing food for the newcomers was a major concern. We initially grew vegetables, but because Israel is a very small country, we were able to get only a small piece of land. It soon became quite challenging to make ends meet and raise a family based on our small plot. Around 1955, the Ministry of Agriculture started encouraging farmers to grow goods for export, and we thought of growing flowers. So, I guess you can say that my connection with flowers actually started out as a business decision.

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

  • We started growing Gladiolas (Sword Lilies) back in 1955 and soon after realized that these too, like vegetables require much land. An industry expert had then recommended that we try growing year-round Chrysanthemums, as they require less space. This turned out to be the successful route to establishing and growing our flower business. Since then, I’ve been deeply engaged in the global flower industry together with my family.

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

  • One of the most significant milestones was making the strategic change from growing seasonal flowers to year-round plants. This had a strong positive impact on the company.  When we started growing Chrysanthemums throughout the year, it allowed us to maintain a stable business environment as well as sustain a steady revenue stream. Thanks to that shift, we could recruit and retain employees more easily, and provide them with a stable and enjoyable workplace. Since then, we have always been looking for innovative ways to improve the company.
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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?

  • When we bought the farm and started our business, I was already a young mother of two boys.I was a city girl, had studied economics, but had no business experience. I didn’t know anything about agriculture and wasn’t physically fit for agricultural work. I started out managing the administrative tasks in order to allow Ernest to focus on, development and production. Soon I became responsible for also managing local sales and export logistics. In addition, I was responsible for onboarding growing numbers of new employees, managing their salaries, and handling payments to vendors. Initially, I did all that from a small desk in our bedroom, and later, from an office-room that we added to our small home.
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What’s your best word of advice to young women starting out in this industry?

  • As a mother, working in our farm and family business allowed me to work from home. It wasn’t easy but this way I could be available for my children and spend more time with them. It’s important to maintain the balance between work and being a mother, and it’s never easy.

What do you love most about your work?

  • I love working in an environment where I’m always surrounded by beauty and growth. I feel lucky for having a strong supportive partner – my spouse.  And, I’m happy that we could make a living from producing and selling products that make people happy and spread joy all around the world.

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

  • I don’t really have a special flower. I love all beautiful, healthy flowers. I’ve been surrounded by the beauty of flowers for most of my life, whether out in the field or in a vase. My house is always decorated with flowers throughout the different seasons.

Apart from flowers, what else are you passionate about?

  • As a farmer and a business owner, there’s not much free time… but when I do have some, I love reading.I mostly read biographies of various people from around the world, as well as newspapers.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?

  • In 1970 we experienced the tragic loss of our son Daniel. He was a pilot in the Israeli army and died in a training flight at the age of 20. It was a very painful and challenging time for us, and the pain always remains, but life goes on… We were very lucky to have our sons Michael and Gabriel, and our grandson Ori, join the family business. Thanks to them, Danziger is the amazing company that it is today.And, Ernest and I are still alive and can see 😊
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