Take a look inside Marginpar's kitchen! In various interviews we are sharing our unique recipe for unique flowers, powerful collaborations and tackling tricky challenges.Back to stories
Marginpar. A UNIQUE PRODUCT OF NATURE, SIGNED BY OUR PEOPLE. But who exactly are our people? Get to know us in these stories:
First up: Rob Koning, Managing Director since 1999. In this story he takes us through the past, the present and his dreams for the future. Rob's parents set up Marginpar in the late 80's as an agency for flower growers in Zimbabwe. From the Netherlands they brought new varieties to the Zimbabwean flower fields. Fast forward ±30 years and Marginpar is a strong company with 120 varieties growing in four countries. Follow along the story of the past 30 years in this interview with Rob.
Sales and Marketing Manager Michiel van Paassen about our Strategic partners. We are not looking for direct customers, but strategic partners who fit into our vision; with whom we become stronger together. Marginpar aims for the widest possible reach among florists in the larger European markets. We look for cooperation with sales partners who excel in these markets. Who know how to optimally serve the florist. Together, we ensure that our flowers are readily available in these markets.
Next up in our series of interviews is Marginpar’s CEO, Richard Fernandes, who goes by the name Kiki. Kiki always says that “It’s our people who make things happen. The base of our ‘strategy temple’ is all about people, empowering dedicated self-managing teams of people.”. In the interview he talks about how they moved away from the traditional ‘top down’ approach, and introduced a ‘no blame culture’, and how making everyone 'see the same tree' is crucial for success.
Sebastian Chambers, Innovation Projects Consultant, is a mechanical engineer. His role is to look at big innovation projects in the company: new water reservoirs, irrigation systems, energy reduction & generation… “The practical stuff.” He is often to be found at the Marginpar headquarters in Nanyuki, Kenya, which is part of one of our largest farms; Bondet. There, he tests most of his innovative ideas before the successful ones are implemented at all farms.
Marginpar stands for innovation and is continuously looking for new products. Bart Merkus is responsible for the expansion of our product range, as Product Development Manager. This is obviously not a one-man job, and so he takes us through the process of innovation. And it can be a lengthy process, but our team is persistent. Bart: "If something works out immediately, it will also work for the competitor; it shouldn't be too easy."
Colin Fernandes manages the trial sites in Kenya and Ethiopia. At these trial sites, new varieties are tested and a ‘growing manual’ is developed. A huge part of his job is staying in contact with our breeders. Colin: “We are working with about 30 breeders, and 45 crops. This is over 700 varieties. Anything we learn from the trials we share back with our breeders, who in turn share a lot of information as well. It is so exciting when a new product goes commercial; it is very rewarding for the team and a big accomplishment.”
Jamie den Haan is our Market Demand Planner, and has been working in flower business for almost 25 years. His connections and experience in the flower world come in handy in his new role. Jamie knows better than anyone that predictability is incredibly important, having represented a role as a buyer himself for many years. Jamie links with partners & auctions to make sure they all receive a good Marginpar package. With 120 different varieties, this is a nice challenge! Find out how he does it in his story.
Miriam started out as a packhouse manager in 2004, later became production manager and then one of the first Kenyan female farm managers in 2017. A farm manager has a lot of responsibilities. Miriam: “My key role is to oversee all the farm operations. At the end of the day I am responsible for all of the sections, so I have to be aware of what is happening. I support the production manager and post-harvest manager to make sure that everything is running as it should be. This is my day-to-day work. In the meantime, I have to make sure that we meet the market demand and that we are running at a profit.”
Steve Muchangi has been in the industry for over 20 years and became Marginpar's ESG Officer in 2017. ESG stands for Environment, Social, and Governance. Areas of importance, beyond our own benefit. Marginpar is a frontrunner when it comes to ESG, and it has become part of everyday work. ESG committees on each farm focus on day-to-day improvements in subjects like water quality, safety, waste management, composting, and community welfare. Steve and the farm teams are also working closely together with Production Innovation Consultant Sebastian Chambers, who focusses on big innovation projects in the company.
Marginpar has been around for over 30 years, but it’s only since recent years that we are really telling our story. Helena van Achterberg (37) joined Marginpar 2,5 years ago with exactly that objective as marketing & communication officer; to tell the Marginpar story. She came from the world of television and events where she had always been busy creating content. She was new to the world of flowers, but was quick to learn all about them and ready to start sharing.
Helena: “I am responsible for all media expressions both internally and externally. A few examples are newsletters, the website, social media and events.
Post-Harvest Managers Jemimah Kioria and Priscilla Muhonja have both been with Marginpar for many years, started out as value adders in the field and went through all the ranks in post-harvest to become the managers that they are today. Priscilla: “We are true examples of Marginpar’s motto ‘We grow people, our people grow unique flowers’. We have really grown under Marginpar’s wings.” Jemimah is situated at Kudenga Farm and Priscilla manages the post-harvest process at Bondet Farm, which are both situated in Kenya. Their responsibility lies in the entire process from right after harvesting up until boxing and shipping the flowers.