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Marjorie La Beach, owner of MOCA-Silk, creates and sells extremely natural-looking artificial flower arrangements. (photos by John Gregory)
The perfect arrangement

It’s a forgone conclusion that Mother Nature is the queen of creating beauty; everything from vivid sunsets to colorful flowers. But if there were to be a prize for second place, Marjorie La Beach, owner of MOCA-Silk, should be considered for the red ribbon for her artificial flower arrangements. In fact, there is one area that MOCA-Silk might actually have an advantage: petals on MOCA-Silk flowers never wither or drop to the ground.

La Beach sells her natural-looking, artificial flower arrangements at the Scripps Ranch Farmer’s Market each Saturday. Her high-quality arrangements can be used as a centerpiece for a table, and are perfect for that nook or niche. They fit in the home or at the office, and they take minimal upkeep. In addition, they provide a beautiful, uplifting adornment for any space.

“I grew up in Jamaica and we had orchids everywhere. I really thoroughly enjoyed having these at home,” she explained. “I used to travel quite a bit and I would have real orchids at home. The petals would fall off and I didn’t get to enjoy them. So, I started to buy artificial stems.”

Soon, La Beach began perfecting her technique, buying artificial stems with colorful silk blossoms, adding foliage and arranging them just so, making her arrangements look more and more natural.

La Beach has a banking background with a formal education in finance. She was living in San Diego with a career as a vice president for a bank. The bank closed its San Diego office and offered her work in London at its headquarters, but she declined. Instead, La Beach said, she used her severance package to help reinvent herself and learned to trade options on the stock market from her home. Today, she works for herself.

“Now, you know, when you’re trading on the market, you need an outlet,” she said. “So, at the end of every day when the market closes, I create a design.”

One Saturday, about 13 years ago, La Beach was on a walk from her Scripps Ranch home and came across the local Farmer’s Market. That’s when she met the manager, Beverly Cassity, and told her that she had some leftover orchids in her garage that she once made as gifts for her employees. Cassity encouraged her to open a booth at the market to sell her arrangements. Now, La Beach can be found at her MOCA-Silk booth each Saturday right next to the Farmer’s Market official booth. Not only did La Beach begin MOCA-Silk, she eventually became the Farmer’s Market assistant manager.

The MOCA part of her business name stands for Marjorie's Orchid Company of America.

La Beach shops for just the right products, then assembles them into striking, cohesive arrangements. She creates each silk flower arrangement one at a time. Her arrangements include flowers in a vase or orchids in a botanical settingBesides orchids, her selection includes flowers such as Hawaiian ginger and bird of paradise.

Prices range from $35 on up. A large arrangement, for instance, might cost $180. The mid-range arrangement would be around $65.

“I try to make sure the designs are unique and that the orchids look as real as possible, just like they would in their natural habitat,” she said.    

To learn more about MOCA-Silk, visit mocasilk.com.

The Scripps Ranch Farmer’s Market is open for shoppers from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every single Saturday at 10380 Spring Canyon Road, in the Innovations Academy parking lot. Visit srfm.org.