Flowers Bloom Over Adversity
by Katerin on July 20, 2013
Elena Mazza is a strong and beautiful Latina of Argentinian descent living and working in New Jersey with her daughter Arianna. Her entrepreneurial business, AriLib Flowers, a successful start-up which produces custom designed artificial floral arrangements for corporate events, weddings and parties, is named in part for her daughter and in part an acronym meaning 'life is beautiful'. Her designs have been featured at fashion shows, magazine launch parties and at charitable fundraising events such as the 'Got Pink?' breast cancer event.
Life wasn't always beautiful or easy for Mazza. When her daughter was 4 years old, she moved her family to Argentina with her then husband - Arianna's father. Her husband became abusive and after several years, Mazza found the strength to leave him, determined to return to the U.S. with Arianna. Her husband, furious that she left, filed kidnapping charges against her in international court. A warrant for her arrest was issued and her long battle to clear her name of wrongdoing and keep her daughter with her in the United States began. Despite the fact that Arianna was born in New Jersey and is a U.S. citizen, international law recognizes the place that the child has been habitually been living and required her return to Argentina. There are a few exceptions that can be made such as if the country is at war, in famine or if the child is subject to physical or psychological abuse. Mazza went into debt and borrowed from friends and family to pay for lawyers to defend her and provide the burden of proof that Arianna would be harmed if returned to Argentina. After a few long years, the case was decided in her favor and Arianna was allowed to remain in the U.S.
The idea of making flowers came to Mazza during her job as a teacher for special needs students. What started as an art project, became an outlet for Mazza to express herself and bring in additional income. Her small business is growing and thriving now, much like Arianna. Now 12 years old, she has an interest in modeling and sometimes accompanies her mom to fashion shows where AriLib Flowers will be on display.
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