With this pandemic, it’s definitely not “business as usual.” In many parts of the country, customers aren’t walking into shops and we are missing those in-person interactions. It hasn’t been normal, nor comfortable. But instead of feeling “stuck” during this time, one florist has been searching for ways to move forward.
Click images below to view gallery.
That florist is Susan Krabill AIFD, of Jen-Mor Florist in Dover, Delaware. As the 2020 winner of the Intern with Ian contest, she was able to get out of her comfort zone and expand her horizons. This FTD-sponsored experience allows each year’s winner to work side-by-side with Ian Prosser AIFD, an industry guru with over 40 years of experience and a member of the FTD education team for more than a decade.
“It’s so easy to become complacent with the way things are with your business, especially during these trying times. This experience was like a good shot in the arm and motivated me to take my business to the next level. I’m very appreciative and thankful for this experience,” Susan explains.
A Bit About Our Winner
There are several reasons Susan was selected as this year’s winner. “We loved that she wants to develop her event business beyond small-scale weddings. She also wants to step into a bigger arena where she can be more creative,” Ian explains.
Jen-Mor is a second generation florist and an FTD-exclusive shop, located in the capital city of a small state. As a top-producing florist since opening in 1971, when her parents bought the business, Susan does most of the wedding consultations at Jen-Mor.
“Even though I have a lot of experience, it can be hard to learn something new. I was familiar with Ian Prosser, and I wanted to pick up a few tricks and benefit from his expertise. So I entered this contest on a whim and thankfully I won!”
Although they do a fair amount of weddings, Susan felt like she was missing out on new, potential business. “An opportunity arose last spring for a large wedding at a castle in a different state. However, I didn’t get the work and I wondered if I really could have handled this large event. I’ve been working in the industry for 45 years and have a good work ethic, but I wasn’t sure how to take that next step,” she says.
The Impact of COVID
COVID affected more than just the actual events that took place during the recent internship weekend. “Originally, we had a fuller docket when we chose the date, but had three events cancel for that weekend,” Ian says. “Fortunately, we had two fairly large, but scaled-down weddings. Susan was able to learn our COVID policies and see how we made adjustments in our plans for these events.”
“I was a little hesitant, but I knew they had safety procedures in place. When I got there and saw all of this firsthand, I was more comfortable,” Susan adds. “I also learned how to adapt my business in the current climate of cancellations and postponements.”
The Intern with Ian Experience
“From start to finish, it was an amazing experience. When I arrived at my hotel, there were fresh flowers and treats in my room. It was so nice to be on the receiving end,” Susan says. “I worked Thursday morning through Saturday evening. I was there to learn and absorbed everything like a sponge.”
“Everyone was so hospitable and forthcoming. I really felt like a part of the team. They gave me liberties and fun things to do,” she explains. “Even though Ian is a floral celebrity, he is down to earth and I felt very comfortable with him.”
Susan found the experience enjoyable and valuable. “Ian taught me so much including pointers on how to approach brides and how to promote myself,” she says. “In addition, Ian’s company builds and hangs a lot of large ceremony pieces that are 8-10 feet long. Things on this scale have been a weakness for me. After spending time with his team, I now know how it is done. Throughout, Ian and his team spent time explaining processes and answered a range of questions regarding financials, computers, techniques, buying, using freelance designers, and online buying sites.”
“It was a great experience for us as well. Susan brought enthusiasm and a keen sense of wanting to learn as much as she could in a few days. She jumped in and helped at every level,” Ian says. “She also fit right in with my awesome crew, who happily shared tips and answered any questions. We had some great one-on-one time, including showing her how to use Details software for wedding proposal contracts. We also took her to dinner to give her the opportunity to ask anything she wanted in a more causal setting.”
“Susan worked with us on two very nice weddings, and was on the set up of both to see the finished product” he continues. “We are grateful for her hard work.”
For Susan, the internship provided an optimistic perspective for the future. “Throughout the experience, I took notes and asked a lot of questions. I observed simple tips like using an anti-fatigue floor mat, how to prepare containers, and other things that should be done in everyday operations. So, I will be incorporating some of this into our operations,” Susan says. “But, I’m also excited to research and expand my business to resort areas that surround our town.”
She continues, “Most importantly, I got the boost I needed to take my business to the next level.
I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. In the past, I would often talk myself out of things, asking if I was really capable of doing something. Now I feel like I have the confidence and experience to pursue these opportunities—and know I can take on unique and larger events.”
“This was the fourth time I’ve had an FTD intern, as I firmly believe in paying it forward. We all started somewhere and have questions about how to improve our businesses. Even offering one little tidbit that makes their life easier is so worth it,” Ian adds. “I get a lot of gratification helping others in our industry, and FTD is a tremendous vehicle to do so. If I can help in any way, I’m delighted to do just that.”
I get a lot of gratification helping others in our industry, and FTD is a tremendous vehicle to do so. If I can help in any way, I’m delighted to do just that.
Susan concludes, “My advice for florists thinking about entering next year: If you want to grow personally and creatively, this is a perfect outlet for that!”
Ian Prosser AIFD, is one of the biggest names in the industry and is world-renown for his stunning creations and producing high-end events for an expansive client list that includes celebrities, royalty and U.S. presidents. His company, Ian Prosser Productions, is located in Tampa, Florida.0