Two nurseries in Tuscany are cooperating to significantly expand their market by developing sales to the UK.
Operating from Pistoia the two nurseries, Vivai Masetti Sabino and Vivai Biagini, cooperate together under the brand Tuscany Growers which is entirely owned and operated by women, making it the only female run organisation in the Italian nursery industry.
Owned and managed by Gianna Masetti, Vivai Masetti Sabino was established in 1960 and has 22 hectares of production, 3 of which are for container production with plants produced in pot sizes ranging from 12lt to 700lt. Specialisms include medium to large plants of Magnolia, Cedrus, Taxus, Abies, Picea, Camellia, Photinia and Ilex.
Complementing the range offered from Masetti Sabino, Vivai Biagini concentrates on producing container grown nursery stock (Wisteria, Rhyncospermum, Elaeagnus, Photinia, Nandina, etc.) in a range of pot sizes on an 11 hectare site. Now owned and operated by Susanna Livi, Vivai Biagini was established in 1950 making it one of Pistoia’s oldest nurseries.
An established exporter to Europe
As an established exporter the Tuscany Growers have successfully developed markets in Holland, Belgium, Croatia, Austria, and eastern Europe. The organisation has been active in the UK and Irish market for the last 3 years but as general manager Barbara Fontani comments, “We have now built up our production base and are in a great position to start supplying the UK market with much more volume. We already have a few customers in the UK and the response from them has been fantastic.”
An all female team
Speaking about the organisation’s point of difference, Barbara says, “Uniquely we are an ‘all female team’ but that aside we pride ourselves on offering a superb service. We understand that our customers need to have confidence when dealing with foreign nurseries so we work really hard to ensure that we communicate very effectively with all our customers.”
Tuscany Growers have used the services of industry consultant Neville Stein to help them develop their export marketing strategy. Stein says, “I am really excited about working with Tuscany Growers. As a start the organisation will be approaching wholesalers, brokers and landscapers as they have a proven track record in this market.”
Stein continues saying, “The two nurseries have complimentary ranges and together they make a great alliance.
“It’s also pretty unique to be working with an organisation that is entirely managed by women and I think this brings a really interesting and positive dimension to their operation.”