Puttin' on the Ritz
Jennifer Rose Diehl's voice oozes with delight as she reaches into a drawer of rhinestone baubles and eyes a heart-shaped brooch. "These are my sparkly pieces," she says. "And I think I'll use that one."
She visualizes the piece of jewelry at the top of her latest bouquet-one she is creating for a Texas bride.
The idea for these vintage wedding keepsakes took root while planning her own wedding just last year. "I knew that I wanted something different than fresh flowers," she says. "I wanted something that would last forever."
Diehl, 30, couldn't have imagined that simple wish, paired with a passion for the past, would blossom into a booming business that's gaining international attention.
The Ritzy Rose creates custom brooch bouquets. Each, Diehl says, is a reflection of the woman who will carry it, handmade with hundreds of baubles and beads, family heirlooms and flea market finds. A single bouquet can take months to create and costs between $275 and $675.
The special touch for Jess Savaggio of Houston, another Texas bride, was the counter her umpire grandfather held in his hands for years. "It meant so much to have it in my bouquet-that and the special brooches that my husband's five aunts sent from Italy," Savaggio says.
Savaggio loved Diel's creation so much she took it to the Vatican to be blessed. But it wasn't divine intervention that led her to this Columbus designer: It was a May article in Us Weekly featuring country star and recent newlywed Miranda Lambert carrying a Diehl creation.
"From the moment that happened, it has all been a whirlwind," Diehl says. "Miranda threw a shower, and all of her friends and family collected pieces and gave her one for the bouquet."
That publicity, along with articles in Vogue, In Style and Elle, have clients calling from around the world.
With an impressive design background, the New York City girl was wooed to Central Ohio in 2005 for a job with Abercrombie & Fitch. Three years later, Limited Brands was calling. Now, The Ritzy Rose is doing so well that Diehl left her job at Bath and Body Works to devote all of her attention to her company. She has created about 60 bouquets, and has orders for 65 more.
"It was a little scary," she says. Now, though, "I have so many orders I just can't keep up."
The Ritzy Rose is a labor of love for Diehl and her husband, Jason. She's color and texture. He's facts and figures. But most weekends, you can find the couple together at a flea market or garage sale, hunting for historic pieces that bring the bouquets to life.
Diehl can't say for sure where her appreciation for preserving the past came from. What she does know is that the future is bright.
Up next? Boutonnieres.
"We," she says, "want to create something just as meaningful for men."
For more, visit TheRitzyRose.com. Watch Andrea Cambern's "Female Focus" weekdays at 5 p.m. on 10TV News HD.