Brisbane News Sum of Us


Workplace perks

Cup of coffee sparks enduring romance

Marisa Stefanovich • 27

Michael and I just celebrated our fifth anniversary as a couple and have been living together (in Ascot) for two and a half years. We met when I was working in a cafe and he was in the office upstairs and used to come down every day for his coffee.

I asked who he was and we started talking. I was pretty obvious that I liked him. He asked me to his birthday and we went from there.

We soon became inseparable. The fact that he is ridiculously lovely is what drew me to him in the beginning. He is so loyal and very generous; he would do anything for you.

I started doing some of the graphic design for Michael’s jewellery company Cotton & Co a year after we got together. My (graphic design and jewellery) company Marisa Kate Designs is now under the umbrella of Cotton & Co. As a graphic designer I mostly design the website, although I have helped design collections.

I’d call Michael an entrepreneur because he’s always got so many ideas going on. He works a lot at the moment and we are both so busy.

I have to drag him away from work because he will do it until he sleeps. He’s a workaholic.

Michael Cotton • 31

My head office for Cotton & Co used to be at West End, above the cafe where Marisa worked. I would be designing jewellery while she made my coffee.

We have designed a couple of jewellery collections together, which is something I enjoyed, although we did have some differences of opinion. She’s a bit more levelheaded and down to earth than I am. If I go a bit crazy with my ideas, she brings things back to a level that’s more manageable.

Marisa’s a lot more classic and simple in her styling, whereas I like antique styles with attention to detail. I think they both have a place in the market so it’s good that we can get a balance between the two of us.

We go overseas a lot for work to source our gems from Brazil and Africa, and we have them cut in Thailand.

I would say I’m romantic. I like to surprise Marisa, and I’m taking her to New York and Fiji in September. We both love travelling and we also try to be active and outdoorsy. I also buy flowers regularly; I don’t need reminding to do it.

I try to separate work and play, but it’s hard to relax and have down time when you’re trying to build a business. I usually work seven days a week, but Marisa made sure I had four days off over Easter.