Alejandra – Chilean inspired jewellery out of wire, stone, and glass
In 2011, Maria Alejandra migrated from Chile with her family. When Alejandra first arrived in Australia, she was busy taking care of her daughter Catalina. She had limited English, and it was very difficult to find a good job – a struggle that many Sisters face when they arrive in Australia.
An entrepreneur at heart, she began selling her jewellery in different markets around Melbourne. Unfortunately, with no support network, limited language skills, and a young family to care for, Alejandra’s first business venture in Australia was too complicated at this time of her life.
Instead, she started to clean houses near Catalina’s school. After a year, Alejandra was awarded Australian residency and she immediately began studying English at Holmesglen TAFE.
It was around this time that she found SisterWorks.
Alejandra worked hard, studying English and teaching, and was eventually offered a job from an educational area. She has earned her independence by learning English, developing vocational skills, and working hard. She started building a jewellery-making business and has found success and happiness as a successful Entrepreneur.
SisterWorks offered a supportive community, and the opportunity to learn and develop practical skills. Alejandra has benefited from business workshops, design labs, and arts education. She now runs her own jewellery brand called KELKAY – which means “necklace” in an indigenous Chilean language.
She is now happy and independent – in her own words “an entrepreneur and an empowered woman.”
With the birth of her son Ian in November 2015, Alejandra once again faced the difficulty of maintaining a market business with a young child. With the skills and resilience she has developed since arriving in Australia, she now has the tools to adapt her business model and continue doing what she loves. Instead of frequenting markets to sell her jewellery, she focuses on online marketing through her website and Instagram. Using online platforms and photography to promote her products, she now has the creative and business skills necessary to support a sucessful business. She is also an active contributor to the SisterWorks organisation, promoting the SisterWorks brand through her own work, and regularly assisting at the South Yarra store – with her little helper Ian in tow!
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