What problem does the Westerlay Orchids solve?
Orchids are not problem solvers but they can be classified as life enhancers. Numerous peer reviewed studies speak to the mental health benefits of flowers and potted plants in home and work spaces. In an increasingly chaotic world, having a living focal point we care for brings meaning, purpose & life to what can frankly be a challenging road for many people. Plants have also been shown to improve indoor air quality as well as promote healthier behavior through natural tending breaks throughout the days and weeks we interact with our plants as proud parents.
Tell us about the founder. What is their background?
Toine Overgaag, current President and Owner of Westerlay Orchids succeeded his father Joop “Joe” Overgaag who founded the company in 1978. Toine is an exceptional person which permeates the fabric of the organization. Westerlays core values of “Responsible, Proud, Supporting & Improving”, are at the heart of everything we do. These values are derived from Toine’s vision for a progressive, community oriented company which strives for organizational and personal growth equally to a common collective goal.
Toine is a hands-on executive who believes the best way to inspire team members is by encouraging personal engagement through empowerment. He has been Owner/President of Westerlay Orchids since 2009, a period in which the company’s sales volume has quadrupled and relationships with Trader Joe’s, Kroger and Safeway in the Pacific Region have been mutually beneficial for all partners.
Before taking over Westerlay, Toine earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration at University of Southern California and gained valuable experience as a consultant with Sibson & Co. He then presided over Westerlay’s transition from roses to orchids alongside his father and company founder Joop “Joe” Overgaag.
Toine has strengthened Westerlay’s organization and continuously strives to modernize the brand through environmental sustainability, community outreach and employee support. At the core of Westerlay is Toine’s Dutch lineage and multi-generational understanding of greenhouse farming. He lives with his wife Kandie and three children in Carpinteria, California.
How did they come up with the idea?
Westerlay’s path to producing some of the finest orchids available stretches back generations of horticulturists to the greenhouses of Holland. Company founder Joop “Joe” Overgaag had been a greenhouse farmer in the Netherlands before immigrating to Carpinteria, California (along with his wife and four children) in 1978. Joop built his first greenhouses by hand, salvaging oil pipes from the local industry for the frames, and would soon open Westerlay Roses, named after the Westerlee vegetable auction in Holland. The sweat equity paid off and Westerlay Roses soon found a foothold in the domestic rose market.
Fast forward 20 years and Westerlay Roses had grown to 800,000 square feet on several coastal Santa Barbara properties. The brand was synonymous with the most vibrantly colored flowers on the rose market and distributed millions of cut flowers annually for weddings and table settings all over the country. Joop recalls Midwest rose merchants in the 1990s demanding his Cardinal Roses, a brilliant red variety unique to the domestic market, but he couldn’t fill the orders quickly enough to take on new customers.
Still, a growing headwind against the domestic rose market imposed by increasing international competition was forming. Toine, after earning his Master’s Degree in business administration and having worked in business consulting, rejoined the Westerlay team, and together with Joop, formed a plan. Something had to change. They studied everything orchid and forged ahead with a five-year transition into orchids culminating in their first crop of cymbidiums in 2003. Westerlay Roses became Westerlay Orchids.
What do customers love most about the product?
Orchids are beautiful plants but beyond their sheer aesthetic appeal, orchids tend to be an easy plant to care for. The combination of home decor, plant care & longevity makes orchids the most in demand flowering house plant on the market. Another very appealing aspect of orchids is their accessibility year round, everyday of the year you can purchase high quality orchids at affordable prices.
Along with the orchid plants themselves, almost every plant ships in a decorative pot hand selected from our design team to match the seasons & trends within the market. Our slogan “Inspire Your Home” speaks to the ability of a well curated orchid to elevate the experience in any space the plant is utilized within. We have so many amazing stories through our philanthropic donations of how an orchid once invited into a person’s space can positively change the dynamic of the room and those within.
Where can people get this product?
Westerlay Orchids can be found in the florist shops at most grocery stores West of the Rockies. Our biggest partners include Kroger (Ralphs, King Sooper, Fry’s, Fred Meyer, QFC & Smiths), Trader Joes & Albertsons (Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavillions). You can also find our plants online @ www.westerlay.com, where you purchase wholesale boxes of orchids which we ship to the same geographic area as wholesale or individual orchids which we ship nationwide.