Lassana Flora, market leader in wedding segment of country
Flowers have played an important part in folk festivals, religious
ceremonies and public celebrations since the earliest days of
civilization. Humans have used floral decorations, using of living or
dried cut-plant materials or artificial facsimiles, to embellish their
environment and persons and of course, courtships.
Dr. Lasantha Malavige, Chairman,
Pic By Ruwan De Silva
Lassana Flora, one of Sri Lanka’s loved floral designer is geared to
revolutionize the entire paradigm of the local floral industry with its
expertise and high level of professionalism.
In an interview with Daily News Business Lassana Flora Chairman and
Managing Director Dr Lasantha Malavige talks about himself and future
outlook for the local floral industry. He is also the Secretary of the
Medical Association of Sri Lanka.
Excerpt of the interview
Q: What is the whole concept behind Lassana Flora?
A: It was always my dream to create innovative and elegant
designs, which are truly artistic.So,I put my inspiration into action
and Lassana Flora (Pvt.) Ltd. started with a new vision in the industry
At that time, the industry was in a very primitive stage of doing
businesses and flower arrangements and even decorations were done in an
unorganized manner. I saw the opportunity and started Lassana
Florabusiness in Sri Lanka.
Q: How does Lassana Flora make a mark in the floral industry
in Sri Lanka? How do you retain your customers in the face of
There are a number of facts that Lassana Flora differentiate from
other respective firms, florists in the country. Dedication, expertise,
professionalism are the main pillars behind the whole success story of
us. We as a reputed company, every aspect of the business from growing,
preserving and delivering of flowers to floral designing, customer
services are well handled by a highly experienced and trained managerial
Main concern of the Lassana Flora is quality;we are careful of every
aspect of the business. As far as industry is concerned, Sri Lankans are
not service oriented and don’t take service as an important thing. I
think accepting poor quality is something that comes with our culture
and many things to be done to improve the quality of services. The
ultimate goal of Lassana Flora is to benchmark ourselves in the service
delivery segment of the country ,which I believe is a formidable and
Q: How has 2012 been so far for your company?
A: We see a growth in terms of sales in the first six months
this year and the growth can be attributed to Lassana Flora’s recent
corporate re-branding process. It is important to note that people will
tend to purchase or use more flowers for various events when the
economy, per capita income of the country increasing,If we move on to
tourism industry, Sri Lanka is in the midst of post war tourism boom and
Sri Lanka has become one of the preferred investment destinations for
well know international hotels brands.
These new investments in the local leisure sector will definitely
create more opportunities for us to provide floral arrangements for up
coming local hotels and resorts as well. However, the seasonal nature of
the wedding industry has been a major issue. We have not been able to
increase the capacity as a result of this. This scenario could be one of
the reasons for relatively higher prices for wedding arrangements in Sri
Q: Your views on the floral industry, what more suggestions do
you have for the betterment of the industry?
A: Thought the growing and exporting flowers for floral
industry is considered to be a profitable business, we are still
struggling to find proper cultivatable lands for floricultural projects
in Sri Lanka. To address the issue,the government can assist in leasing
out non utilized lands for floricultural projects. Another aspect is
poor attention to copyright laws in the country. Today Lassana Flora is
staffed by well experienced designers, florists and management
professionals. Our full time designers often come up with new ideas and
concepts particularly with weddings and event decorations. However the
worst scenario is that anyone can steal the original concept or
duplicate the high quality products we offer. Overall standard of the
industry will come down once the original designs are done in an in
appropriate way by imitating firms. Today, Lassana Flora has grown in
sales, clientele and market share and is the market leader in the
wedding segment of the country. Lassana Flora has grown to become the No
one Bridal shop in Sri Lanka providing its clientele with total wedding
and floral solutions and we are the first ISO certified florist company
in South Asia.
The flowers and gift delivery business and on line division where
people can send flowers and other related gifts online and wholesale
division for supplying flowers for hotels and other small ventures play
a major role in improving sales targets of the company. It has achieved
40 % growth in the five star hotel wedding segment while the growth in
flowers and gifts delivery for corporate events is lower than the
Q: What is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) angle of
Lassana Flora and your commitment to enhance the quality and
productivity of the floral suppliers?
A: We believe in developing sustainable societies and
communities thereby empowering the local community where we operate in.
Today over 100 outgrowers are involved with Lassana Flora supplying
flowers and foliage. CSR is a very important aspect in LassnaFlora
business and I believe helping people is something in our blood. The one
important thing we do as a company is that we do refrain from importing
flowers thereby promoting local flowers right throughout. We have taken
a personal goal to develop large set of out growers by supporting them
in a big way. Limitation for them is the lack of plantation materials,
and we have imported planting material and distributed those planting
materials to out growers. In a bid to make a responsible commitment to
the well-being of the environment, Lassana Flora has implemented various
initiatives to minimize the wastage of flowers and foliage during the
transportation by introducing a good packaging system as well as a
transport system. Developing the out grower system is the main CSR
initiative of the company and Lassana Flora supports them with
financial, technical assistance thereby giving them the understanding
and training about the market. We help them to understand the importance
of the quality of the product as well as upgrade them from small growers
to bigger growers.
Q:Any investments in pipeline?
A: Lassana Flora has expanded its footprints in leading cities
with branches in Nawala,Galle Face hotel, Moratuwa, Negombo, Kandy City
Centre and Kandy Station Road . We have our own nursery in Bellihuloya
and a large operational unit with a cold room complex in Homagama area
where all the work is being done at this facility. We are currently
concentrating on consolidating business in the existing geographical
areas. However with the opening up of the Southern Highway, we have
identified Galle as a proffered city to do floral business where Lassana
Flora sees an increase in demand for flower arrangements for various
We do a lot of events in former liberated areas in the Northern and
Eastern parts of the island where there is a growing demands for flower
arrangements. As far as Lassana Flora is concerned, there is no such
immediate plan for us to set up a branch in the Northern area.
Lassana Flora is about to start the work of second phase of the
stores complex in Homagama where company plans to have a bigger cool
room complex while increasing the internal capacity of the work area.
The project to be completed by mid next year, will enable us to
handle more weddings and corporate events in Sri Lanka. In the meantime,
we will heavily invest on Bellihuloya nursery project as well. Recently
Lassana Flora started Sri Lanka’s first ever flower collection centre in
Nuwara-eliya. Currently the company has provided employments for 110
people and we might increase this to about another by 50 within an year.
Undergraduate and Post graduate education
MB BS (1994-1999) University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Professional Linguistics Assessment Board (PLAB) (2005) General
Medical Council, UK
Diploma in Psychosexual Medicine (2005-2007) Institute of
Psychosexual Medicine, London
Specialist training (2007-2009) European Academy of Sexual Medicine,
PhD (2004-2009) A split PhD from University of Sri Jayewardenepura
and University of Oxford.
Hon Secretary, Sri Lanka Medical Association
Part time Clinical Research Fellow and Visiting Academic – from
October 2009 Oxford Centre for Diabetes Endocrinology and Metabolism,
University of Oxford, UK
Specialist in Psychosexual Medicine- From June 2010, Asiri Surgical
Senior Research Fellow –From June 2010,Genetech Research Institute