As part of the criteria of this years awards we have a panel of members and a moderator.
This independent panel have agreed to work with the BFA to improve the awards in 2022 and will continue to feedback advice in order to further improve each year. So let’s meet the team.
Moderator: Nikki Meader, BFA Retail Director
Nikki owns and runs West Malling Flowers in Kent. Nikki has taken the shop from strength to strength catering for all aspects of floristry, retail, weddings and funeral work. Nikki and her team have gained a well deserved reputation for quality and service which has lead to multiple awards including BFA retail florist of the year 2015 and 2016.
Nikki is currently Retail Director for the BFA and plays a vital role in organising our large florist focused events such as Vision and FleurEx
Panel Judge: Donna Cornish
Donna Cornish, proprietor at Flowers by Donna Cornish. Donna’s love for flowers started as a child gardening and flower arranging with her Grandmother’s. Donna has been working in the floristry industry for just shy of 20 years, running her floristry business Flowers by Donna Cornish since the summer of 2009.
Donna strives for perfection each day while running her florist shop and being a busy Mum to her two young daughters.
Donna just has won the British Florist Association’s Florist Shop of the Year in both 2020 and 2021 as well as coming second place in 2019. Her latest award was just last month in the Muddy stilettos awards for ‘best florist 2022’ for the third time. Donna is looking forward to her latest challenge of being part of the judging panel for 2022.
Panel Judge: Lee Ackerman
My name is Lee Ackerman, Managing Director, and joint owner with my brother Neil, of The Flower Shops Ltd. We currently have three branches operating in the Southampton area
My background is that I qualified as a Chartered Accountant and worked for three different accountancy firms, including a year’s contract in Bermuda. I then joined Barclays Bank working in the Chief Accountants Department for several years before I left and joined the family floristry business in 1999 as I always had a yearning to run my own business. I have never trained as a florist, but I brought a different skill set to the business with my focus on the financial and marketing side, whilst my brother focused on the operational side.
During the time I have worked in the flower industry we have seen enormous changes for the independent florist and staying successful has been a challenge, but I have always brought abundant energy, creativity, financial knowledge and experience to my job, and I look forward to being part of the BFA panel for the Industry Awards
Panel Judge: Hannah Dunne
Hannah has worked in the flower industry for 15 years, starting out at her local flower shop before moving onto write for The Florist magazine and manage floral PR campaigns. She now contributes to a range of floral publications including BFA Florist, while working as a consultant in marketing and project management for companies across the global flower sector. With a long-term passion for sustainable and ethical trade, she is now undertaking an MSc in sustainability where her research is focused on floriculture at every opportunity.
Sarah Hills- Inygon
Owner of Sarah’s Designs a BFA member florist based near Sidmouth in East Devon. Sarah has owned several high street floristry businesses over the years starting her first at just 18yrs. A member of the UK Floristry Judges Guild
Sarah has been a dedicated competitor, demonstrator, and tutor, winning numerous accolades, including prized medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
“Competitions are vital for the floristry industry to maintain quality expertise, continuously pushing boundaries and connecting to customers and I really look forward to being part of the panel for the BFA Industry awards”
Panel Judge: David Ragg
David Ragg has been surrounded by flowers for all of his life. As a third generation florist, he spent his formative years helping out at his grandparents business in Henley-on-Thames and followed that by managing his parents’ florist business in Berkshire.
Since 1991 David has been at the helm of the very successful Lansdowne Florist in Bournemouth which has now relocated to a brand new unit and now trades as Born to Bloom – a phrase which sums David up perfectly! David is clearly engaged now in raising the profile of the Floral Industry and is a deep believer that in order for the industry to survive as we know it there needs to be some radical changes afoot. One of which is ensuring the professionalism within the floral world. To be recognised as a Professional Florist or Floral Professional is tantamount to the success of many small businesses. “Too many consumers see what we do as just “playing with flowers” with little regard to the skills necessary”, David explains, “We, as Floral Professionals, need to show that our talents far outreach just making up simple bunches of flowers. We need to be demonstrating to the consumer that true floristry is all about understanding trends and colours; utilising new techniques and exploring commercially viable design offerings!”
Panel Judge: Katy Bosco
My name is Katy Bosco and I joined the floral industry just over 15 years ago as a member of the team at I.S. Sundries.
I am in the marketing team and the best part of my job is working on floristry photoshoots.
I love seeing our sundries brought to life with the skills of florists and photographers.
It’s such a creative, ever-changing industry and that keeps my job fresh and exciting!
Panel Judge: Jonas Zwiterlood
Jonas Zwitserlood is a communication expert and language artist, and the owner of a boutique communications consultancy business in The Netherlands.
He has a Bachelor’s in Information Technology and a Master’s degree in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the Free University of Amsterdam. This background in the social sciences has equipped him with strong analysis skills, and helps him excel at navigating the subtleties of cross-cultural communication. As a ‘digital native’, he knows the ins and outs of internet-based technologies and social media.
For more than ten years, Jonas has been the Communication Manager for FLORINT, the International Florist Organisation. FLORINT is the non-profit umbrella organisation that represents and supports the florist associations of the world – with 22 member associations worldwide, including the BFA.
Panel Judge: Cara Cousins
Cara has been involved with the flower industry for over 6 years, since joining floristPro websites as Marketing Manager. Before that, she built up years’ of experience working in International Marketing for worldwide retailers.
Cara loves working with local florists to help them bloom online; giving them the support, knowledge and insider tips to successful marketing and websites. She also is involved with industry shows, contributes to publications and speaks regularly at events, sharing her passion for the floristry and digital worlds. Her next challenge will be the exciting role of Panel Judge for the BFA Awards 2022!
Our thanks to Direct2florist as our sponsors of FleurEx 2022