We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Maurio and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maria, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I love the saying “Nothing wagered, nothing lost” as it reminds me to take chances when opportunities present themselves.  In both my professional and personal life, I’ve always thought that not getting out of my comfort zone means that if I don’t take a chance then I will remain exactly where I am.  I mean that physically, socially, professionally, etc.  If I hadn’t taken a leap of faith to strike out on my own a few years ago I’d still be dreaming about the “what ifs!”  I did not have all of the answers by any stretch of the imagination and launching it was a huge decision with many risks involved and not only a financial one.  The emotional ones of “What if I failed? What if no one bought what I was creating” and the biggest one “What if boutiques turned me down when I cold-called them?”  I had to overcome my personal fears of failure and rejection and not take “no” for an answer for starters.  I certainly didn’t succeed in every situation but I learned from every experience and when I analyzed them, I realized that each offered me rewards of confidence and finessing my techniques.  Now when I am faced with something new to do I think back to those worrisome moments and I know “I’ve got this!”  Taking chances also played a part in how I met my husband.  If I hadn’t gotten up the nerve to tap him on the shoulder and ask him to dance a few years back I wouldn’t have met my soulmate.  He is a huge support, partner in crime and here we are, a few years later, 3 children and my atelier!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I set out to open my atelier, the focus was to create a sustainable brand of hand crafted, one of a kind scarves that spoke to the slow fashion movement.   After a successful career in fashion spent designing and directing design teams for many well known retailers and companies, I felt the need to return to my roots.  I wanted to create something where each piece has a story, is unique, with traceable origins from the textiles to the natural dyes and not not mass produced.  Having had the great fortune of travelling globally and working with artisans firsthand I was infinitely inspired and that influenced me to launch my sustainable brand and to focus on small batch design and transparency in the supply chain.  In creating a focus that aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, I know my purchases are supporting global cooperatives of farmers and weavers, women and family owned businesses who in turn are guaranteed fair wages, access to meaningful work, and so much more. This in turn signals to my clients that I stand for something bigger than both of us. There is an immeasurable value in knowing that the organic indigo I use is grown by a cooperative of farmers in Bangladesh who are supported by the foundation Blu.  They provide the support and tools necessary to grow indigo crops, connect them to artisans and provide education and health care to their families all while guaranteeing a fair wage.  Every design I create has its own story from weaver, to farmer, to the vintage wood blocks once carved and used decades ago by someone thousands of miles away and my vision that unites them all.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

Warning-I am about finding good food, signature cocktails and museums!…. Itinerary: Trenton-Princeton-Lambertville/New Hope-Barnegat Light

I happen to live not far from historical downtown Trenton, New Jersey which is rich in history so the first stop would be to show off a few pre and post American Revolutionary sites that wouldn’t bore my friend and start with a guided tour of the Trent House, built in 1719 and the Old Barracks Museum. We’d stop at Arlee’s Raw Blends on Warren Street for locally made juice and make our way past the brownstones built during the Industrial Revolution to the State House built in 1792 with its mix of Doric and Corinthian columns (I studied Ancient Art History in college too) and on to the New Jersey State Museum which has an excellent permanent collection of art, furniture and pottery as well as the current exhibit “Posing Beauty in African American Culture.”  For dinner, a short drive to DeLorenzo’s in Robbinsville for the best pizza around.  I’ve been eating their pizza since I was a kid!

Next a trip into Princeton, home to the renowned university and their impressive art museum and a stroll around the historical leafy campus-but only after a quick stop for ice cream from Halo Farms, a local dairy which IS the best and a shot of La Columbe espresso. Don’t worry, it’s a balanced breakfast.  Some shopping at Green Streets Consignment on Nassau Street. a live concert at Richardson Auditorium and dinner at the local farm to table restaurant, Agricola.  My favorites are their seasonal cheese boards and one of their signature cocktails.

A day trip to Lambertville and New Hope along the Delaware River is guaranteed. With so many art, antique and gift shops we’d spend a good portion of the day wa
ndering in and out of shops. We’d skip lunch and have chocolate from Pierre’s in New Hope.
Dinner at Bell’s Tavern on Union Street in Lambertville followed by a cocktail outdoors at The Havana in New Hope to end the day.

No trip to New Jersey is complete without a visit to the beach for a swim (weather permitting or not) and a walk. I think one of the most beautiful places along the New Jersey shore is probably Barnegat Light on the northern end of Long Beach Island. Pick up take-out for lunch from The Local in Ship Bottom (I love their home-made pop-tarts, artisanal sandwiches and cold brew coffee) before driving to the northern end of the island. Depending on the weather, finding a bench situated in the sand dunes or a table along the inlet to eat is my idea of dining alfresco!
A walk through the unspoiled dunes and onto a practically deserted beach doesn’t get any more perfect. A visit to the historical lighthouse and a climb up to its observatory deck to burn off the giant pop-tarts we had at lunch.
We’d finish up the day with dinner locally AND maybe one last evening stroll through the dunes!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

There are two women who left huge impressions on me over the course of my professional fashion design career-Susanne Klevorik and Kady Dalrymple of Kady Bloom.  They are wildly creative and successful women and after heading up design studios for well known fashion houses they are now carving out their own unique creative spaces in new fields.  With her impeccable eye for details, Susanne uses the finest materials and gems to design and craft bespoke jewelry for private clientele and Kady creates stunning Fascinators and amazing floral arrangements that hint of still life paintings from master artists.  Their eye for beautiful details, creativity and quality rubbed off on me, thankfully!
The biggest shoutout MUST be given to my mother’s sister, Valentina, who ignited a fire in me from a young age and started me down this path! I followed in her footsteps. As a teenager, my aunt studied dressmaking and tailoring in Eastern Europe post WWII.  To this day, her skills are still impeccable!  From a young age I was always at her side, observing and imitating and she became my mentor and role model. She grew up during a difficult time in history and her resilience and work ethic have always been an inspiration.  I learned the practical side of owning a business, working with clients and the lost art of fine hand sewing with a smattering of natural dyeing. If not for her, I would not have pursued apparel design in college at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC with a senior focus in couture or even dreamed of opening my own business.  She is recently retired at 86 and has offered me her services…

Website: https://www.mariamaurio.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maria_maurio/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariamaurio/

Image Credits
toristorypublishing, Ben Anderson Photo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.