Every yachtie knows the struggle of finding fresh flowers on a busy charter yacht, especially off the beaten track, so the novel idea of 'forever flowers' is going down a storm with owners and stews. This is the concept behind The Roses Empire and we met up with the founder, Loreta Cazacu, to find out more.
When did you start The Roses Empire and how did the idea come about?
I first had the idea of creating ‘real flowers that last a year’ back in 2013, but it wasn’t until a few years later, when I was working in yacht management, that I identified a gap in the superyacht industry. Part of yacht management is helping crew with provisions, and it was always a struggle to supply vessels with fresh flowers, particularly those that travel off the beaten track and spend time in remote locations. I was keen to offer a solution that was practical and without compromise, and eventually I started The Roses Empire in April 2017.
Our eternal flowers are 100% real and natural. They undergo a preservation process which maintains the flowers' shape, texture and beauty, effectively ‘freezing’ them in time. They look as beautiful as fresh flowers but they last up to 12 months or longer at room-temperature or in an air-conditioned environment. If kept outdoors, it all depends on the temperature and climate, including wind and sun exposure. The flowers will still last a season but, just like real roses, harsh conditions will have a greater impact.
What are the main benefits and who are your clients?
The main benefit, and what impresses clients the most, is that our flowers are virtually maintenance-free. They don't need to be watered or pruned, they just need a light dusting and they will look as good as they did upon delivery, even at the end of the season. Our eternal flowers also save the interior team a lot of time which is a huge bonus during a busy charter season.
Clients are also extremely motivated by cost and environmental factors. In today’s climate, especially with the economic hit from coronavirus, many yachts come to us searching for a more long-term, affordable and sustainable option. Thanks to their longevity, our flowers reduce the need for production and transportation so they have a lower carbon footprint compared to fresh cut flowers.
We work with a lot of yacht management companies with large fleets, and we also work directly with a number of yachts and private residences who come back to us every season. We hand deliver from the South of France to northern Italy and work closely with suppliers and yacht provisioners for other parts of the Med and further afield.
What feedback have you had from interior crew?
Rather than me telling you, I'll just let the reviews speak for themselves!
“The roses are perfect, thank you! Such a relief for me not to worry about fresh flowers!” - Chief stewardess, 30m yacht.
“The roses and vases you provided complemented our cabins really well. It was nice to have maintenance free arrangements during a very busy season.” - Captain, 35m yacht.
“Thank you - very happy customer right now. The owner was very impressed and would like to order some more.” - Chief stewardess/purser, 54m yacht.
“For 11 years our yacht has had fresh flowers and with that comes the hassle and money spent on organising flowers mid-season. We love the bouquets that The Roses Empire provided and I think I speak on behalf of the whole interior department when I say I am looking forward to another hassle-free season.” - Interior manager, 65m yacht.
“I love the vibrant colours and I can’t wait to brighten up the owner's season after COVID-19.” - First mate, 41m yacht.
The company is called The Roses Empire but in fact you supply a broad range of flowers?
Yes, when I started, roses were the main focus of the business, hence the name, but roses also symbolize elegance and style and they're my personal favourite too. However, we also supply hydrangeas, orchids, gardenias, carnations, lilies, chrysanthemum and green foliage, and we will expand the range as the business grows.
With roses, the majority of our clients prefer more neutral, natural tones, such as whites, ivories, greens and, of course, the pinks and reds. With hydrangeas, clients tend to prefer classic green, but recently we've had a few orders for really strong, bold colours which is nice to see!
How do costs compare – for a two week charter, or a whole summer season?
The cost savings are significant. Let’s say a vessel pays 32,000 Euros for fresh flowers over a 12 week charter season. The Roses Empire could supply that same vessel for the entire season for around 15,000 Euros, reducing the overall cost by a staggering 50%. Knowing this, when clients see our flowers and the range of bouquets we offer, it becomes a very attractive solution!
What types of arrangement are most popular on board?
Our signature arrangement ‘Empire’ seems to be a hot seller - this is a 30-40 rose dome-shaped arrangement that comes in a beautiful Christofle vase. This is in fact our original arrangement and it has remained popular since the very beginning.
Are your flowers always arranged or can steward/esses purchase them loose and make their own displays?
Everything is possible with us, depending on what the individual vessel wants. Some yachts purchase single flower heads to use for table and event decorations while others prefer loose stems for displays that they create themselves. The option of buying single flower heads allows the crew to fulfill their own visions, however the majority prefer the convenience of pre-arranged, maintenance-free bouquets.
We also supply flowers for events and special occasions - last year we worked on a very exciting project in Sydney on board the largest commercial superyacht in Australia.
What’s on the horizon – how do you see The Roses Empire developing?
We are working on launching eternal orchid plants and trees - this is something that has been in the pipeline for the past several months and we would be the first company worldwide to ever sell preserved orchid plants so watch this space! We will also be broadening our network and reaching out to the wider yachting community and exploring other exciting avenues that are not yachting related.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career so far?
I think it’s knowing what you stand for, and what you don’t. For me personally, I stand for honesty, hard work and persistence.
Who has most influenced or inspired you?
I am incredibly lucky to be able to say that my closest friends and family are my biggest day-to-day inspiration. Particularly as a business owner, it's crucial to have people around you who understand and offer their support without being asked. However the greatest influence, both professionally and personally, will always be my parents, whose life lessons have shaped me into who I am today.
What will you be doing 10 years from now?
In 10 years from now I see The Roses Empire having the market share in the floral industry. Things as we know them are changing, and every industry is adapting to new and improved products. I truly believe sustainable, long-lasting flowers are the way forward, not only for the yachting industry, but also for hospitality and private residence.
What’s your motto?
Always aim high in life so you have room to negotiate with destiny.