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Introducing Floral Management’s Industry Innovators

by | Aug 30, 2023 | Floral Industry News, Floral Management | 0 comments

Earlier this year, Floral Management editors sought nominations for individuals who have identified emerging needs of the industry and demonstrated creative thinking, research and a lot of grit to meet them. Suggestions revealed a range of innovators, from a breeder focused on developing more sustainable flowers to a technology expert who’s introduced the concept of vending machine bouquets in his hometown. Here are snapshots of their stories, which are featured in the July/August issue of Floral Management.

Jason Bigham

Founder, Penny + Clover, Detroit

Bigham, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the IT industry, has reimagined the floral retail business model, taking inspiration from the online flower marketplace and the history of vending machines. His plan focused on automation — his goal is to run a business with no employees — and redefining how consumers buy flowers. He’s purchased five vending machines to place in high traffic areas, such as airports, shopping malls and hospitals that display and dispense bouquets sourced directly from a farm in Ecuador.

Mark Allen

Global Product and Sustainability Manager, FloraLife, a division of Smithers-Oasis Company

Under Allen’s guidance, FloraLife has made changes to reduce plastic and water use, rethink paper consumption, and become carbon neutral. His work has helped the company support fair trade and responsible foresting initiatives and resulted in new innovations in packaging. For instance, the company introduced recyclable, all-poly-propylene plastic flower food packets, which differ from the traditional nonrecyclable flower food packets made of mixed plastic laminate.

blankValerie Crisostomo

Founder, Black Girl Florists, Atlanta 

In the spring of 2020, Crisostomo started building a directory of Black women in the floral community. As the list grew, she knew she needed to bring together the community to share their experiences. Today, Black Girl Florists engages with hundreds of business owners through online floral classes, freelance opportunities, and in-person events.

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Jason Jandrew

Chief Product Development Officer, Ball Horticultural Company, Guadalupe, California

Ball uses a scientifically based index of sustainable genetics and products and has built a culture of breeding cut flowers for sustainability. This is a focused, conscientious, and documented process that aids in breeding for disease resistance and reducing flowers’ reliance on natural resources. The effort has led to the development of varieties that grow at lower temperatures, are drought tolerant, and use fewer plant growth regulators.

blankAlejandro Pèrez

Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Komet Sales, Doral, Florida

Komet Sales is a vertical software, B2B e-commerce and payments software company for the floral industry. It has digitally transformed the industry by facilitating online transactions and digital payments for importers, wholesalers, and farms. Through its online platform, the industry can buy, sell, manage logistics, receivables, warehouses, and transportation.

To learn what inspires, motivates and challenges these innovators — and where they see even more growth opportunities — check out the cover story, “Industry Innovators,” in Floral Management.

Katie Vincent is the senior contributing editor for the Society of American Florists.

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