Villas&Golfe Angola
· Floriculture Sector · · T. Joana Rebelo · P. Délcio Teixeira

Flor Angola

Reaping the benefits of what he sows 

PMmedia Adv.
It was on World Theatre Day that Flor Portugal came into being, in 2001, the result of an ambition of the owner José Piano, who had longed to create his own florist’s. Along the way, there were many experiences in different areas, which eventually led him to the world of flowers. «I'm an interior designer, but I’ve always had aesthetics in my life. Being a florist was a fortunate accident. I wanted to make a flower for everyone with my personal stamp, and that’s just what happened,» José explains.  
Ten years had passed since his dream came true and, indeed, business was booming in Portugal, with shops open to the public in Lisbon, Oporto and Madeira. But life was already beginning to show signs of change: «At the time I was already coming to do many events in Angola,» says José Piano. It was only a matter of time before the crisis exploded in 2009. With bills to pay, he urgently had to rethink the whole structure of the business and the most sensible thing to do was to close the physical stores and focus exclusively on online business. What the owner of Flor Portugal could never have imagined was that, in 2012, he would already be living in Angola, with his business imbued with African culture, under the name Flor Angola. A bold decision, which he recalls with pride: «At the invitation of my current partners, I made the decision to replicate the Portuguese project in Angola, steering it towards selling to the public». 
A new reality needed to be established and José set off to discover it, coming across a vast market, and it didn’t take long to notice the problem of democratisation it presented. The project then began by smoothing out a few rough edges, committing itself to respond to a broader target audience than was ususal in Angola. Not everything was a bed of roses. José Piano admits to having found it difficult to adapt his business to the African country, which at the time had a rather eclectic industry. «Flowers were seen as an absolute luxury and we survived from exports, » the CEO of Flor Angola reveals.
Today, national production has grown in leaps and bounds, and José Piano has been here to invest in what the land gives him. There is a greater «democratisation of flowers», the public is diversified, the price is affordable and imports already exist. As for Portuguese territory, the business remains focused, in safe hands, while José Piano dedicates himself to his passion at Flor Angola. «I no longer consider myself 100% Portuguese. It is with great pride that I believe in this country and live here,» he declares. Apart from the establishment in Luanda, the owner has another shop in the Avennida Shopping, in Talatona, and adds that the focus is mainly on concentrating the business in a single space.
With a bridal room, public sales and, of course, production «away from the customer’s eyes», this is how Flor Angola presents itself to the market. Flowers abound in the mother shop, from Holland and South Africa. «There’s the climate to produce whatever we want, in these countries,» explains the florist. And with half a conversation, we get to trivial matters: «We have gerberas from January to January. There is no season anymore. The same with roses and tulips. We0ve lost a little sense of what is or isn't in season.»

National production has grown in leaps and bounds
In a market that, these days, quickly absorbs trends, José Piano allows himself to create a timeline between the before and after of Flor Angola. «Today, we are no longer just an open-door florist, we are now an events company. We supply flowers, but we also organise events on the same level as those who propose to do them. Our whole life is a production,» explains the owner. Doing on average two to three events a week, the business has experienced moments of prosperity. «It’s crazy, we had 700 people for one event, a week away from Valentine’s Day,» he reveals. But the most curious thing is Flor Angola's view as to the change in the cult of flowers in the country. When he arrived here, he explains that he noticed that floral bouquets were only given for two reasons: as an apology or as a gift of thanks. «Normally, when a woman would receive flowers, there was a feeling of mistrust,» he explains. Today, flowers have another symbology for the Angolan consumer, and with this change comes others, in terms of colour and brightness.
José quickly realised that scissors, an apron, a stall and an open door were not enough to succeed in Angola. Despite the evolution of national production, today the florist produces 70% of his plants and the future of the business is already moving towards self-sufficiency. «Angola educates, and necessity makes us do unimaginable things,» admits the CEO. With European schooling on his CV, José Piano puts together a story of resilience – what he knew was replaced by a culture whose dominant standards of taste are far removed from those of Europe, forcing him to adapt in order to be happy and make others happy. 
T. Joana Rebelo
P. Délcio Teixeira