Amy Merrick contains her talents well. She doesn’t boast. Or name drop. She demurely skips through mentions of heaping accomplishments. In short, she could stand to be a little more smug. Then again, it’s Amy’s down-to-earth qualities (no pun intended) that make this modern day flower girl all the more charming.
Amy was raised on the outskirts of D.C. in a home with a rambling garden out back. Her father, the designated green thumb of the family, would grow extra tomatoes and potted mums to sell at a farm stand manned by Amy and her sister. The proceeds from the sales went toward the sisters’ “horse fund” (though the aforementioned horse was never to be purchased). After graduating from high school, Amy moved to NYC to study fashion design at FIT. Upon graduation, she opted for fun rather than a set career path and joined the well-dressed cobbled streets of the West Village as a Marc Jacobs shop girl. Yet, while her closet mushroomed, her inspiration waned.
New York City is a fickle lover. To point out the obvious, it is bloodcurdlingly expensive, crowded and, as of late, very very cold.
Satoshi Kawamoto, the celebrated creative director and plant artist behind Green Fingers, a lifestyle-oriented plant and design brand based out of Japan, is a recent transplant. And perhaps a bit of a masochist. After launching five stores, publishing three books and forging partnerships with premier Tokyo retailers, he traded in his lush plant-riddled abode for a 500-ish-square-foot walk-up off of Delancey – in the middle of summer. His mission? To bring the Green Fingers brand to New York City’s urban pastures.
Satoshi, a just turned 40-year-old, is no greenhorn. He is a man of patience. As the tattoo on his arm sagely announces, a garden wasn’t built in a day. In his case, his career has taken over 15 years to germinate to its current state, though its beginnings weren’t necessarily auspicious. At age 23, after working as a fitness trainer, he chased down a job at an interiors shop called Globe. “I had no experience, but just because I liked it, I said, ‘I can do this’ and applied for the job. They didn’t get in touch with me, but I kept on calling them,” Satoshi says. Eventually, he got the job.
Jack Mazzola is always moving. If his hands aren’t dotting a staccato-like rhythm of emphasis over his head, then he’s shifting his weight, gliding one long Balmain-encased leg over the next.
Now he’s leaning forward, his long frame almost halfway across the room. Any minute now, he’ll jump up and take one liberated step across his 14×14 coffee bunk, the office space residing under Jack’s Coffee, and begin drawing on the whiteboard. He’ll do this after saying, “I’m all about analogies.” And suddenly, you’ll feel a tingle of the caffeinated thrill that Jack’s daily existence hinges upon. Here’s one of Jack’s analogies. “Imagine coffee being a character and you and I are actors. We have to give our interpretation of what coffee is. And you have to do it in a physical way. I don’t care how much research you do, how much picture taking you do; it’s going to be different. Jack’s my interpretation of coffee. Jack’s is my interpretation of The Experience.”