The Outer Banks of North Carolina, also known as OBX, is a strip of islands off the coast of North Carolina that boasts gorgeous coastal scenery with vast stretches of pristine beaches that make for the ideal wedding destination. That’s where Anna Mitchell, the winner of “FTD’s Intern with Ian” contest, offers her floral design expertise to her clients through her shop, Rogue Flower Company.
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Anna has been working in the floral industry since she was 13 years old. Doing everything from cleaning coolers, scrubbing buckets, processing flowers, and collecting payments at her father and uncle’s flower shops in Virginia, Anna literally learned the business from the ground up. She eventually began designing her own floral creations by age 16, honing her craft until she was able to open her own shop.
Her business in Nags Head, North Carolina in the OBX is thriving, providing customers with everyday florals as well as bouquets and decor for weddings and other events. Since the Outer Banks is such a popular wedding destination, Anna has a lot of experience designing wedding events. However, she really wanted to level up her business by expanding into more high-end wedding venues that would push her creative technique. “I have assisted on several large events with the biggest names in weddings on the Outer Banks and I’m ready to take the next step.” While Anna does about 30 weddings a year, she isn’t getting some of the higher end clients that were hosting bigger events. She wanted to know what she needed to do to show potential clients that she has what it takes to create large, luxury events.
A Bit About Our Winner
This opportunity came when Anna was chosen to intern with one of the best in the floral industry, Ian Prosser AIFD. Ian has over 40 years of experience in the floral industry, and his company Ian Prosser Productions has designed stunning floral creations for high-end events for U.S. presidents, the Royal family, and numerous celebrities. He has also been part of FTD’s education team for more than a decade and is proud to be a part of FTD’s yearly sponsored contest. Ian loves hosting “Intern with Ian” because he genuinely loves what he does and wants to help others in the industry succeed. “The reason I do it is I believe in paying it forward. It’s a great opportunity for someone who wants to see the event side of the flower business and to be a part of a large installation. I think it helps them to decide if they want to expand their business to include large events.”
“The reason I do it is I believe in paying it forward. It’s a great opportunity for someone who wants to see the event side of the flower business and to be a part of a large installation. I think it helps them to decide if they want to expand their business to include large events.”
This is exactly why Ian said he chose Anna to come and intern with him and his team in Tampa, Florida. “She is doing weddings at some wineries and felt that she could up her game with the knowledge I had to share.” So with that, Anna flew to Tampa and spent several days working with Ian and his team on a variety of high-end events that would give Anna the hands-on experience to learn just what it takes to pull off those coveted, high-end events.
The Intern with Ian Experience Anna dove right into Ian’s busy schedule which included four different luxury events that week. She began by creating a piece to decorate a vintage car for a whiskey debut party at a swanky restaurant in downtown Tampa. Next, Anna got a taste of the country club lifestyle while setting up a golf-themed charity event in an elegant ballroom at the Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club. Anna then worked with Ian’s team for an entire Friday to prepare for two separate weddings that were on Saturday, one at the Tampa Yacht Club, and the other which required travel all the way to Boca Grande. Anna was involved with making and installing everything from showstopping centerpieces, elaborate tablescapes, lush wedding archways, and an entire hanging tent arrangement cascading over a dance floor. She was impressed by how Ian’s team worked like a “well-oiled machine” to pull off these incredible events.
Anna loved learning from Ian and his team and got some great tips on how to streamline her business as it continues to grow and level up. Her key takeaway during her internship with Ian was the importance of expanding her market. “While the market in the Outer Banks is wonderful and we have beautiful venues and spaces for weddings, we don’t have the real estate for large, upscale events such as the ones I witnessed with Ian.”
Anna is now inspired to expand her business market to other areas that have larger venues and older money. Going hand-in-hand with expanding her market, Ian also touched on the importance of looking the luxury part if you want to sell a luxury product. Anna admitted that the OBX embraces a more casual atmosphere that led her to show up to client meetings dressed in a casual manner. After her experience with Ian, Ann plans on “dressing for the job she wants” in a more upscale fashion to show potential clients that she has what it takes to deliver on luxury designs.
Anna truly enjoyed her internship with Ian and is so grateful he shared his knowledge with her. “I have always been confident in my skills as a [floral] designer but learning the mechanics behind large scale design work was a delight and I can’t wait to put my skills to use.”
I have always been confident in my skills as a [floral] designer but learning the mechanics behind large scale design work was a delight and I can’t wait to put my skills to use."
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