Rosie Segura opens her shopping bag, and like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, produces a beautiful bloom.
She runs her fingers over the petals of the deep-pink paper rose – it’s the size of a dinner plate — and smiles.
Rosie’s rose is her signature piece.
To it, she adds a pale pink rose and a white one and a couple of fan-like leaves, creating a pretty sculpture on the sidewalk.
“I’ve always loved crafts,” she says. “I grew up knitting and crocheting, and as a young mom I sewed leather crawling boots and ring slings, but paper cutting is different. It really inspires me.”
Rosie calls her company Florecitas y Papel (Little Flowers and Paper), but the blooms aren’t the only items that make the cut.
Her children’s party favors range from elaborate personalized pop-up and box invitations to cake toppers, potted paper orchids and popcorn boxes.
Rosie, an energetic, determined woman with long flowing curls, began making paper products about four years ago, after the birth of her second child.
It was a local mom who showed her how to use a paper cutter to craft fancy designs.
Her first creations were cups with name tags and children’s T-shirts with vinyl appliques.
“I was looking for something to do, some way to make money,” she says. “And I felt lonely being home with my two children all day – I didn’t have anyone to talk to.”
Rosie was born in Nez, Mexico, which is right next to Mexico City.
Her father was living in Astoria when she, her older brother and mother joined him.
“I was 2,” she says. “I don’t have any memories of Mexico, but my mother has told me about it.”
Things weren’t always easy when Rosie was growing up; let’s’ leave it at that.
Rosie worked her way through college in the restaurant industry, starting as a busser and runner and eventually becoming a waitress.
After she graduated from LaGuardia Community College, she enrolled at Hunter College with the intent to earn a degree in child psychology, a major chosen, she says, to help her better understand her own early, traumatic years.
Love, though, changed the course of her life.
She met her husband, a chef, during her waitress years.
Two months into their relationship, they were living together.
At the three-month mark, they found out they were going to be parents.
“I took a pause from school,” Rosie says, a tinge of regret in her voice. “I only have to take two courses – physics and chemistry – to graduate. And I’m hoping to go back to school soon.”
Rosie works on her paper creations in a small space between the kitchen and the living room of her apartment while her children, 6-year-old Abigail and 4-year-old Sebastian, are in school.
“Paper crafts are therapeutic for me,” she says.
The first part of her work is devoted to designing and cutting the paper patterns. Sometimes she incorporates stock images from Etsy.
She assembles the products, folding and gluing their paper parts in place.
Like a lot of new business owners, Rosie isn’t sure where her paper trail will lead her.
She talks about expanding and working with party planners.
She also mentions getting her degree and setting up a program for children that incorporates art.
“I see art as a way to connect with kids,” she says.
Rosie has a lot of time to wait for events to unfold: She’s only 33.
Sure, she wants to make a living, but Rosie also wants her story to be inspirational.
“I love to connect with other moms who, like me, have gone through financial problems,” she says. “We need to help each other out.”
She packs up the roses, putting them back into the shopping bag one by one.
Copyright 2023 by Nancy A. Ruhling