10 October 2023

Riverina Made: Griffith's Mary Restagno launched giftware business at age 67

| Oliver Jacques
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woman with her flowers

Griffith’s Mary Restagno proves it’s never too late to start your own business. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Who are you and what is your business? I’m a retired 70-year-old. I come from a farming family and I used to work at Big W. I was born in Leeton, but have lived in Griffith most of my life. About three years ago, I started my own business as a hobby when I wasn’t working at Big W anymore. It’s called Mary’s Assorted Giftware, with dried silk and preserved floral arrangements. I don’t have a shop but occasionally sell products at markets.

What do you produce? I do frames, flower assortments, silks, decorative oil bottles, cake toppers and the like. I get the preserved flowers from Sydney, which I have sent here. I can do frames of any letter and do preserved flower arrangements for the cemetery. I’ve been asked to do weddings but that’s a bit too much for me – I have eight grandkids to look after too.

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Where can we buy your products? I’m at the Griffith Central Markets, which is on the third Saturday of every month. They’re really popular, there’s usually heaps of stalls here. The next time I will be there is from 9am on Saturday, 21 October.

I used to go to the Griffith Rotary markets on Sunday morning, and I have done markets at Darlington Point. You can also go to my Instagram page. You’ll see photos of all the different things I sell and you can make contact with me to buy something.

What’s something that you make that would make a good Christmas or birthday gift for a loved one? I would go for a floral arrangement. You can choose your own arrangement and colour and get it pre-made and made to order.

A selection of floral arrangements

A selection of Mary’s floral arrangements you can buy. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

If you could make anything in the world, what would you make? What I would love is to have my own florist shop. But I’m happy doing what I’m doing for now. If I were younger I’d open my own shop, though back then I had four children so didn’t have much time.

How would you promote the Riverina? It’s a lot quieter here than the city and easier to live. You get lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and products here, anything you want.

What’s your favourite coffee spot? Limone Restaurant on the top block. I used to go there a lot when it was called Miei Amici Cafe, it was always very good.

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Who is another local producer/business you admire? I’m a jewellery, handbags and flowers girl. I like all the other jewellery stands at the Griffith Central Markets on a Saturday, like the business called Mina J.

What do you want for Christmas? I love the beach, so I would like to go for a holiday there. My favourite place is Mollymook, on the South Coast of NSW, near Shoalhaven.

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