She never imagined her passion for flowers would be anything more than a hobby.
Marissa DiGirolamo makes a living out of sculpting with flowers at Studio Posy, located in Monticello Arcade in downtown Norfolk.
It's not always easy to gather materials when dealing with nature and the opinionated customer. A bride may want flowers for her bouquet that are out of season, and Marissa has to find a way to get them.
The international floral industry is the answer to Marissa's bridal dilemmas, but she tries not to reach too far out of the area if she can help it. Supporting local flower farmers is more important to her.
An inspired partnership formed when Marissa met Anna Akers, an artisan jewelry designer. Anna was looking to expand her studio space when Marissa suggested she move to Monticello Arcade. Lorak Jewelry was opened and the friendship of the two women strengthened.
It didn't take long before the two had ideas of combining forces.
“We saw potential for the marriage of jewelry and plants,” Anna said.
Despite some risks, Samla was created. The retail store, found in the heart of Ghent, sells jewelry, plants, and a vast array of other products. While the two maintain their own separate stores, their blended aesthetic comes together at Samla.