(Xinhua) -- Charles Muriithi put on a disarming smile
as he attended to clients attracted to his stall where neatly
arranged bouquet of roses were on display on Wednesday afternoon
when a romantic mood enveloped the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
The 27-year-old florist had invested
heavily to ensure that his stall located at the entrance of the
main market in Central Nairobi would catch the attention of
clients yearning to treat their significant other with red
During an interview with Xinhua at his
stall, Muriithi said he was optimistic this year that the
Valentine’s Day could be accompanied by a financial windfall to
help him recover from a dry spell in January.
“As for now, the sales are looking up
and we cannot complain since the orders are still coming
mainly from middle aged male professionals. We expect sales
to pick up in the evening,” said Muriithi.
The city market in central Nairobi
where Muriithi has been operating for half a decade was a
beehive of activities on Valentine’s Day as florists used every
trick in the book to lure customers.
Muriithi’s oratory skills endeared him
to clients who sampled the roses on display and later settled
for the best arranged bouquet to surprise their loved ones.
He revealed that a single stem of red
rose was retailing at one dollar while a large bouquet of roses
accompanied by a bottle of red wine retailed at 45 dollars.
“We are also getting orders through
social media platforms and quick deliveries have cemented
our relationship with clients,” said Muriithi.
Kenyans defied economic uncertainties
and busy work schedule on Valentine’s Day to flock open air
markets in central Nairobi where flowers were retailing at
budget friendly prices.
Christine Melu, a 21 year-old college
student waited patiently for a female florist in Nairobi’s city
market to prepare a mid-sized bouquet of red roses that she
intended to deliver to her fiancé.
“This is a special day for me and
contrary to conventional theory, women are also coming out
strongly to purchase flowers for their male lovers. I look
forward to a fun filled Valentine’s Day like other young
adults in stable relationships,” said Melu.
Kenyan florists had devised creative
ways to attract customers in a day when love birds cast aside
the anxieties associated with modern living to indulge in fun.
Geoffrey Mungai, a veteran flower
vendor in his late 30s anticipated brisk sales even as some of
his colleagues worried about the impact of inflationary
pressures facing middle class Kenyans on their business.
“Am confident our loyal customers will
still make their orders for red roses even as we embark on
aggressive marketing through social media platforms,” Mungai
He revealed that a prolonged election
cycle witnessed in Kenya last fall coupled with a slump in
purchasing power had affected the flower business.
Nevertheless, the father of two said
that Valentine’s Day presented flower vendors with an
opportunity to recover from past losses.
“I have noticed that Kenyans are still
determined to treat their loved ones with roses this
Valentine’s Day. We have made enough orders from flower
firms on the outskirts of Nairobi to cater for this demand,”
Kenya has one of the most vibrant
flower industries in Sub-Saharan Africa that has defied market
volatility, competition and climatic shocks to survive.
Investors in Kenya’s flower industry
have always bet on huge demand for red roses during Valentine’s
Day to make a financial windfall.
A spot check by Xinhua revealed a huge
appetite for roses displayed in market stalls and supermarkets
as Kenyans prepared to mark the lover’s day.
Brian Kimani, a flower vendor in his
mid-20s said that red roses remain a favorite choice of gift
among Kenyans celebrating Valentine’s Day and its timeless
“The response from clients is good and
we are anticipating higher sales by the close of the day.
This is an exciting day for informal flower merchants and we
are confident the returns on our investment will be
satisfactory,” said Kimani.
He had invested in additional workers
to help attend to inquisitive customers looking for quality red
roses to gift their significant others.
Kimani disclosed that the mushrooming
online retail platforms coupled with social media had
revolutionized flower business in Kenya.
“Apparently, a huge number of our
clients used digital platforms to order for flowers this
Valentine’s Day. We intend to make optimal use of the ever
expanding digital space to transform the flower business,”
Kimani told Xinhua.