The Apprentice inside story - British Florist Association

The Apprentice inside story

Elizabeth shares the highs, lows and inside story of her time on The Apprentice.

We’ve spoken to Elizabeth to get the inside scoop on her time in the apprentice.

From the 4th of October through to the 17th December many of us were transfixed by BBC’s The Apprentice – however, the lure to this series was not to see Sir Alan sugar or even the range of candidates for 2017, but one candidate in particular – Florist Elizabeth McKenna.

Most of the country came to love this (by her own admission) slightly bonkers country girl, she was undoubtedly the standout candidate that featured in every episode of series 13, showing that Florists are business minded professionals and highlighting our industry to boot.

Speaking to Elizabeth shortly after the final show aired even with Christmas preparations in full swing she kindly found the time to answer our questions, she explained she’s “very busy, our web orders have increased dramatically and there have been lots of opportunities present themselves.”

Before beginning the process began, what were your expectation ,  how far did you think you might get?

“It was my hoe and dream to go as far as possible, I prepared my business plan for scrutiny and am very pleased it has been considered along side other highly credible businesses”

Did you ever feel like other candidates questioned your ability because you are a florist? 

 “No absolutely not. from day 1 people respected my abilities as an individual.”

Do you hope public perception of florists might have shifted as a result of your appearance on the show?

“Its not for me to give the answer to this, I am just proud that a creative industry has been involved in the apprentice and considered alongside other respected industries “

 What do you think florists can learn from your appearance on the show?

“Don’t be afraid to be yourself and use your skills they cross over into other areas”

 What was your best moment?

“In the boardroom when, securing sales in excess of £50000, the bit where I fist pumped with a yes!”

What moment of the show/process were you most proud of?

“Winning as project manager  brugges”

 What was your most cringe-worthy moment?

“4am, asleep answering the phone in my dressing gown, we were literally knackered and I was the only one who heard the phone”

 Were there any parts of the process that upset you? if so what?

“Being detatched from home, my support network was challeging”

 Did you ever doubt yourself?

“Self doubt is not a bad thing it keeps your mind switched on, but I trusted my judgement decisions when I made them. they often paid off”

Elizabeth McKenna florist apprentice on the 'The Apprentice'.

 Will we see you on more TV Shows? – have you got any interviews lined up etc.?

“There lots of press lined up, radio, print etc, all very exciting to help shine a light on our industry”

 We all appreciate that TV editing can have an effect on the viewer perceptions, do you think that the show portrayed you accurately.

“If you haven’t said it or done it it cant be shown…  the size of my backside is accurate, yes!”

 (On a personal level having spoken to you on a good few occasions, your really smart, articulate, you really have your finger on the pulse and are very focused. At times –

It seems that especially in the early episodes that the show portrayed you as the under-dog, would you say that’s the case? 

“I think everyone involved in the apprentice starts as an underdog because there are lots of things that could happen along the way that may cause you to be fired. If you keep working at it, like everything in life, you get results.”

 What did you learn most from the process?

“I have learned to be confident in my abilities”

What would you hope other florists would take from your appearance on the show?

“our industry is well respected and thriving and there is a place for us to thrive in future”

Does it surprise you that as the express put it “The 39-year-old florist owner has been far and away the most talked about element of this year’s BBC competition” ?

“To have been so well received is a huge surprise. I am flattered by these sorts of comments.”

You were been accused of being bossy and a control freak, however, you stepped away from your businesses for 13 weeks? Leaving the running of them entirely to your team, was it easy to leave your businesses in the hands of others? and would you say you did take over elements of tasks in the apprentice unnecessarily?

“Control freak is a catchy phrase.  my only tactic in the process was to contribute. I didn’t step aside, I stepped up every time. because of this I often was in the thick of it. that’s it. when you run a business you have to have a good control of whats going on in order to manage it, but by managing my business well I was able to step away from it knowing it would be well run in my absence”

Elizabeth McKenna interview from programme 'The Apprentice'.

To visit Elizabeth’s business website click on Flowers by Susan or the online business Lizzies bundles.

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