Meet Our Showroom Manager: Marissa

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Marissa Martorano

Marissa is a black and white person – and that’s the vein that pumps blood into the rest of her life.

It’s impossible to miss the boldness of her laughter or the self-assuredness emulating from the words she speaks.

Her persona seems impenetrable from change, which you can trace from her steadfast opinions about aesthetics from childhood play: she was enamored with everything Barbie and 50/60s reruns – idealizing the mid-century Brady Bunch house and velvet dreamscape of I Dream of Genie.

Her attention to aesthetic detail runs in the family with her dad’s detailed work restoring fine cars. This practice mesmerized her as a kid, crafting her version of racing stripes as a homage: new makeup looks and fashion designs for Barbies.

Two things remained consistent as she grew up: she studied the beautiful and she studied people.

For a while, the beautiful took a backseat.

Marissa was on track to go to law school – she studied criminology and law right downtown at Suffolk University, eventually working in a woman’s prison helping rehabilitate female inmates.

At this time in her early twenties, aesthetics were used as a tool to escape – and her release after a long day came in the form of nail art.

After a particularly stressful day at work, she’d pour herself over intricate designs. But inmates notice everything about you, and eventually, they noticed she was using her nail art as a coping mechanism.

“I needed to do it to keep myself sane, but it also allowed me to connect with the women I was dealing with to not look at me as the enemy.”

But at the end of the day, the prison system broke her spirit, “it’s a revolving door of sadness.”

The ideals of law school slipped through the cracks and she was left at a crossroad to decide which side of herself to choose after all these years – the brazen intellectual she was on the path to becoming or a curator of beautiful things.

Instead, her trajectory changed when she learned she could truly do both, leaving the prison to work for our sister-run neighbor, M.Flynn: “they opened my eyes to the fact that I could be a creative and professional woman at the same time.”

The complexities of small businesses are what allowed Marissa to explore every facet of herself.

And for this reason, the South End community means so much to her:

“This is a little pocket where creativity and diversity are valued, that interesting niche experience – it’s not big-box, it’s not a chain, you can’t get it anywhere else.”

She chased her creative ideas from fine jewelry in Boston to luxury skincare in California and eventually leading to the doors of Lekker, where she’s been since 2016. Now she’s our master of customer experience – whether that be in the form of post-purchase support or making sure designers pull exactly what they need for a magazine shoot.

The mood board of Marissa’s life

Her days are now consumed with planning floorsets, merchandising & communicating our aesthetic through the showroom’s layout, and working with designers, customers, or anyone who is lucky enough to encounter her design prowess.

Her childhood ideals have only aged with grace – noting Palm Springs as the hub of her personal style and the women of Spain for teaching her the magic of laid-back elegance.

Remember those Barbies? She would draw floor-plans for their every single one of their houses, all the way down to the pillows and a tufted headboard.

“Whenever I do a floor-plan for someone it instantly takes me back to being six,” she says.

Sometimes you end up exactly where you started.

Missed our last profile? Read Natalie’s here.

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