ALEXANDRIA, USA, September 26, 2012: Internationally-known florist and event designer, Ian Prosser, AAF, AIFD, PF6CI, of Botanica International Design and Decor Studio in Tampa, is the recipient of the 2012 SAF Paul Ecke Jr. Award.
Taken completely by surprise when he heard his name announced, Prosser said “I’m speechless…SAF means the world to me. I’m beyond thrilled to join the ranks of its most notable leaders.”
The coveted honor recognizes “exemplary dedication to business, industry and community — ideals which Paul Ecke stood for,” said Charles Kremp 3rd, AAF, of Kremp Florist in Philadelphia, during the presentation at SAF’s awards ceremony Sept. 22 in Palm Beach, Fla.
Kremp lauded Prosser’s reputation as a top-notch businessperson, a skilled floral designer and charismatic industry ambassador. “He’s been called a trendsetter and a progressive leader in the industry — someone who always seems to be a step ahead, tracking a new course before it even takes shape,” Kremp said.
“His unerring eye for design his uncanny ability to innovate are matched by his selfless attitude,” he continued. Whether designing for presidential inaugurations, the British Royal Family, or Hollywood stars, Prosser is known for his patience and support for the people around him. Kremp said: “His client list may be upper crust (but) Ian remains distinctly salt of the earth, putting others first and helping all who come near him.”
Born in Scotland, Ian Prosser started his career with three successful floral design shops in Glasgow. At that time he was the youngest person to be named Floral Designer of the Year in Scotland. In 1984 he earned the National Diploma of the Society of Floristry, the highest European honor in floral design.
In 1989, after emigrating to the U.S., he opened Botanica International Florist, a full service retail shop. He operated that shop, building a reputation for wedding and event work, until 2007 when he closed the traditional retail side and opened Botanica International Design & Décor Studio Inc., an events-only business. Since then he has carved out a niche by providing floral, décor and special event services to clients around the world while maintaining his trademark meticulous attention to detail and his good humor.
“He not only sets high standards, he creates them,” said his daughter, Zoë Prosser Gallina, the creative director at Prosser’s Botanica International Design and Décor Studio in Tampa. “He strives to always think outside of the box and to better himself and the product that he provides.”
In recent years, Prosser has been the lead floral designer at an American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) Symposium Fashion Show, featuring wedding guru Grace Ormonde, where he mastered the daunting challenge of matching flowers to lush couture ensembles for an eye-popping display of color and texture along the runway.
After being invited by SAF to participate in designing floral decorations for two presidential inaugurations, Prosser was named SAF’s Floral Design Chairman for the second inauguration of George W. Bush. Working closely with the Presidential Inaugural Committee, he helped set the style for the floral decorations used at nine inaugural balls and five inaugural dinners. He also helped with the selection and management of 160 florists across the country who came to Washington to create and install the floral decorations.
Prosser has provided floral decorations for many celebrities and dignitaries over the years, including many members of the British Royal Family. In 2012 he opened Ian Prosser Productions, a specific division of his business geared to the “uber” creative events for which he is known.
But if you ask Gallina what makes Prosser the man so many industry members admire and love, she won’t talk about the glamour or the high-profile jobs. Instead she’ll tell you about her father’s indefatigable patience and regard for others, as well as the tremendous sacrifices he’s made to nurture and build a multi-generational family business over the course of a 35-year career that’s brought Prosser and his family to heights he never could have imagined.
“He is one of the most loving and generous people that I know,” said Gallina, “He never puts himself first, regardless of the situation. He’d give anyone the shirt off of his own back before even thinking about keeping it for himself.”
A mentor and a role model to countless floral industry professionals, Prosser is always thinking about bettering the people who surround him. He also gives back to his community in many ways— donating time and floral products to organizations like the Tampa Museum of Art, the St. Andrews Society of Tampa, as well as local chambers of commerce, fundraisers and other events.
Among many honors, Prosser was inducted into AIFD in 1992, and the American Academy of Floriculture (AAF) in 1994. At the 2007 SAF Convention, Ian was not only inducted into the Professional Floral Communicators International (PFCI), but he also won the prestigious Sylvia Cup.
He lives with his wife Fiona in Tampa, where the next generation of Botanica International is already at work.
Listening to the introduction for the surprise award, honoree Ian Prosser, said “I had no idea it was me…I’m beyond thrilled.” The grandfather of three also said “I’m too damned young to receive this award.”