Kōkiri 12 – From a hobby to a business

Published in Kōkiri 12, Hakihea - Kohitātea 2008

Growing bromeliads is a hobby for Poppy Fuller (Ngāti Kahungunu, Tūhoe, Tūwharetoa). She never imagined that it would also become a successful business.

“I was given a bromeliad as a gift about 25 years ago. I thought the person who gave it to me didn’t really like me, because it was spiky and not all that good looking,” laughs Poppy.

“That first bromeliad has shown me a whole new world. Now look at me. I have more than 30,000 bromeliads, hundreds of different species. I didn’t realise I could make a business out of doing what I love,” she says. In January 2008, Poppy and her husband Alan formed the company Fullbert Bromeliads Ltd. The plan was to open their gardens and nurseries to the public and start selling bromeliads.

Poppy and Alan officially opened their home in Kerikeri for business on 6th March 2008. Since then they have sold thousands of bromeliads, built two large shade houses for the bromeliads, and had an overwhelmingly positive response to their business.

“People just keep coming to buy them, which is great, even when I’m shut. If I’m here, of course I let them go through and have a look,” says Poppy.

Te Puni Kōkiri’s Business Facilitation Service has also been involved in helping Poppy understand and develop her business.

“I didn’t know what I was doing and I had no clue about business, but that’s where Te Puni Kōkiri has been great, helping me in the areas where I needed it the most,” says Poppy.

Poppy hopes to employ staff, establish an online ordering system, open the rest of her garden to the paying public, hold workshops and maybe write a book or two.

Poppy says bromeliads are the perfect Christmas gift. They are a no-hassle plant, low maintenance, have stunning colours and like good air circulation. In Poppy’s nursery a bromeliad can cost you anything from $1 to $120 per plant.

For more information or to contact Poppy phone 09 407 9183 or email info@fullbertbroms.co.nz

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