10 Questions to Adrian Parsons , Managing Director Helix Australia

Manage tasks but breaking them into smaller chunks: "Life's like a Chinese meal-lots of small dishes, not a one massive plate at one."

By: THURSD. | 28-02-2024 | 5 min read
10 Questions to Adrian Parsons

A thriving floral career, nurtured for more than 4 decades; Adrian Parsons, MD Helix Australia unpacks his knowledge and insights accumulated over the years. Adrian Parsons is currently the Managing Director of Helix Australia, a specialist in the breeding, licensing, and marketing of new and improved varieties of waxflower and boronia.

Learn about Adrian's career journey and his secret strategy on how he handles stressful times. Welcome to the '10 questions to' segment, where we profile influential individuals within the floral industry.

Question 1

For those who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do?

"I am Adrian Parsons, MD Helix Australia which is a plant breeding/licensing company specializing in Waxflower and Boronia.I look after all of our global marketing and licensing programs and provide strategic direction to our breeding partners. Our global grower base is a mix of both cut flower and pot plant growers in South Africa, Israel, the USA, Australia, and the EU."


10 Questions to Adrian Parsons
Adrian Parsons holding a potted waxflower


Question 2

What is so special about your job?

"My job is special in terms of our product range focussing on two Australian genera, which whilst both have significant global awareness, also require a high degree of product education for growers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers. I am based in Australia that is a long way from our large global growers there is an inherent time lag on getting our products onto the market."

Question 3

Are there any specific challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your job, and how did you overcome them?

"My background is in cut flower import/export and wholesaling. When I started in the industry in the late 1980s, our distance from the market meant there was a lot to learn about freight, exchange rates, and a range of varied business cultures. These obstacles were overcome by a very dogged persistence to succeed, making many mistakes but staying in very close contact with our clients/suppliers many of whom have become lifelong friends and business associates."


10 Questions to Adrian Parsons
New Waxflower Hybrid variety by Helix Australia


Question 4

What are the threats in the industry, and if so, do you have any solutions for them?

"We need to keep driving down the environmental impact of our flower growing and trading activities. The consumer loves the natural beauty of our flowers but we must not muddy this positive perception with excessive negative environmental practices."


10 Questions to Adrian Parsons
Field of young waxflower


Question 5

How has technology like e-commerce platforms or digital marketing affected your industry, which strategies have you employed to stay competitive?

"Helix Australia's business model is based on licensing growers who pay via royalties and thus we are not a typical transactional trading model. Whilst not requiring e-commerce trading platforms, we aim to work towards a strategic digital marketing program built around creating floral trade awareness for both our company brand and outstanding Waxflower/Boronia varieties.

This takes the form of disciplined consistent posting of variety/grower profiles on Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook, and floral industry e-news platforms."


10 Questions to Adrian Parsons
Adrian Parsons holding a potted Wax Cotton Candy


Question 6

Who (in or outside the floral industry) is an inspiring example to you? And Why?

"Lisa Cork is a very highly regarded marketing specialist within the global fresh produce industry. Lisa has been a tremendous advisor/mentor to me in developing a range of floral marketing strategies over the years. I always value a strong consumer focus when tackling a floral marketing challenge. In addition, Niek Oudendijk from Oudendijk Import has been a lifelong inspiration for me in the way he manages his floral projects and his respect for employees, suppliers, and business associates."

Question 7

How do you handle stress or difficult moments in your life?

"Trading flowers in an import/export environment can be very stressful and at times, the workload and stress is overwhelming. Over the years, I have become a lot better at managing stress load by trying to break down tasks into smaller chunks and reminding myself “Life is like a Chinese meal- lots of small dishes, not one massive plate at once”


10 Questions to Adrian Parsons
Niek's Pride Blooming


Question 8

What has been the best (floral or non-floral) news for you lately, or of the last year?

"The best floral news for me this year has been a real ramp-up in the production of commercial varieties from the Kings Park & Botanic Garden waxflower /boronia breeding program. In the last 12 months, we have started the commercialization process of 4 Boronia hybrids and 6 Waxflower hybrids. This is on the back of 15+ years of breeding R&D."

Question 9

Which is your favorite flower and why?

"Based in Australia I love Australian natives and my favorite is a stunning bright orange Banksia Ashbyi. When it comes to more flowers that are traditional, I love pink, white, and yellow Tulips."


10 Questions to Adrian Parsons
Waxflower Raspberry Ripple & friend


Question 10

What are you doing this weekend?

"My weekends are typically a mix of kids' sports (football, netball), possibly playing for my Veteran cricket team, gardening, a beer, and BBQ if the weather is warm."

Referencing the nuggets shared by Adrian Parsons "Life is like a Chinese meal with lots of small dishes and not coming as a stand-alone huge plate" 10 Questions to Adrian Parsons is simple and insightful, especially when diving into the world of waxflowers and boronia's. We hope you found this piece insightful and if you did, then stay tuned for upcoming interviews to follow soon!


Pictures by @Helix Australia



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