Come and grow – the spoga+gafa blog » garden creation & care » “The main garden season is just round the corner at Easter…” An interview with Oliver Mathys (Marketing and Sales Consultant)

“The main garden season is just round the corner at Easter…” An interview with Oliver Mathys (Marketing and Sales Consultant)

Easter – Photo: Oliver Mathys

As soon as Christmas is over the trade has already set its sights on the next big festive occasion – Easter. However, this year the bank holiday falls relatively late – namely not until the second half of April. We talked to Oliver Mathys, Marketing and Sales Consultant, about the start of the garden year. He develops sales concepts for garden centres and DIY stores and supports them with the implementation thereof.

Mr Mathys, when should the garden centres and DIY stores start focusing on the theme Easter?

Mathys: For the green industry – apart from the florist shops perhaps – Easter is not as important as the Christmas business. In the garden centres and DIY stores, in most cases the theme is strongly coupled with the spring. So, it is hardly surprising that often the first Easter decorations can be found in January next to the bulb plants and primroses. Overall, the focus lies on living plants over the Easter days, because after the winter most people have a longing for fresh green and colourful blossoms. The customers long since associate tulips, daffodils and co. with the festive occasion. One disadvantage here: If the bank holiday occurs early in the year, these typical early blossoming flowers are very difficult to sell afterwards. Even in the case of cold weather, the customers then often already opt for summer flowers like geraniums for their balcony and terrace.


My tip for 2019: Since Easter is very late this year, to be precise from 19 to 22 April, the garden centres should let January still belong to the winter months. For instance, how about decorations with cool white and tender grey shades combined with frosty glass, braids and light-coloured early bloomers? That makes a pleasant, calm contrast to the lush and flamboyant Christmas decorations. From February onwards the bright products can then bring colour into play. – Incidentally, what I consider to be very important both after Christmas and Easter: Once the bank holiday is over, the seasonal items belong back on the shelves not in a sale for weeks on end.


The cross-selling of decorative items, flowers and plants has extensively established itself over the past years. Are there other garden centre products that are suitable for cross-selling at Easter time?

Mathys: “At Easter the main garden season is just round the corner and this of course can be coupled with a wide range of products.  This is when the first jobs crop up in the garden and the balcony needs decorating again. For example, the theme “Pre-grilling” is ideal for this time of year: Everything to do with BBQs and outdoor kitchens can now be displayed on the sales space. Since the first fresh herbs from regional production are also back on the shelves, these fit in nicely too. Outdoor living and lifestyle are becoming increasingly important for the green industry. As such garden furniture can also be linked in with the theme Easter. A new lounge suite for the terrace for the festive occasion? Why not…

Easter – Photo: Oliver Mathys

In the meantime many garden centres also offer crafting courses – for instance painting Easter eggs for children. How important are such campaigns for the seasonal business and customer loyalty?

Mathys: Yes, do-it-yourself is definitely high in trend again. Whereas for a long time it was considered to be a tiresome task having to plant new flowers on the balcony, bake bread or repot plants, such activities are perceived as being an experience today, enabling one to make something with one’s own hands and be creative. Workshops of all kinds are thus very popular at present. Not only for children, the appropriate campaigns can be created for all different possible types of customers. I came across a course programme just recently that originated from the days when I was still employed at the garden centre. For instance, at the time – and that is around thirty years ago now – we offered the following workshops: Baking herb nests, designing door decorations for the spring, planting hanging baskets, crafting Easter nests, dyeing eggs… and of course there was an egg hunt at the garden centre for the children.


Incidentally, we always made good experiences when we staged the children’s workshops without the participation of the parents. Of course, you possibly need one or two extra employees, but the children are normally much more creative when they are on their own rather than having mum or dad constantly looking over their shoulders. A further advantage: Once they have “handed over” their kids, the adults then have around an hour to go around the garden centre and shop in peace without any whining or meet up with friends in the in-house café.


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