Floristry might seem like the ideal occupation for the creatively gifted, but it’s genuine hard graft – 4am starts, six days a week aren’t for the faint of heart. Maria Claudia of Samambaia in Bronte has been doing it tough for well over a decade and even her accidental start in the industry came with its challenges.
Born and bred in Rio, Brazil, she was working in New York City as a fashion model when, aged 24, she was deemed to be reaching the twilight years of a successful career.
“I decided I had do something else with my life,” says Maria frankly. “I started learning jazz and piano. I also went back to studying music and worked as a waitress to help pay the bills. The restaurant kept being let down by their florist so the creative in me happily volunteered.
Traipsing through some of New York’s less salubrious boroughs to hit the flowers markets at dawn was a character-building experience, but one Maria was rewarded for. “People would come to the restaurant and enquire about who the florist was. Soon, I was getting work on the side arranging flowers for the customers’ homes and events.”
Maria arrived in Sydney, via Brazil, in 2002 with her two daughters Morena and Lua, and fashion photographer husband David Prichard who was raised in Bondi. “Everything I had done up to arriving here had been self-taught. Following that, I worked at a number of other florists around Sydney honing my craft.”
From humble beginnings flowered Samambaia – meaning fern in Portuguese. Maria began selling her flowers from a garage in Vaucluse. Before moving into her current space in Macpherson Street, she also worked out of a warehouse in Rushcutters Bay.
The move to Bronte came by complete chance, but it’s proved to be the perfect suburb for Samambaia to thrive. Maria’s eye-catching window displays and store, in which everything has been sourced authentically, ethically and sustainably, now sits comfortably between artisan baker Iggy’s and graffiti-strewn cafe Three Blue Ducks.
Address 145b, Macpherson Street, Bronte, NSW 2024
Phone +61 2 9389 9125
Tue-Fri 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sat 9:00am – 2:00pm