|| Jewellery designer & business owner ||
I came from a little town where everyone has their own business. This is our culture. Everyone knows about my work, and they knew about my craft projects, but they are surprised I am making jewellery. I had never made any back home. I had never worked with metals and soldering. They are impressed.
All my life I have made crafts. All my life I have done crochet or macrame. When I came to Canada with my husband, I wanted to start my own business.
Nine years ago I moved to Canada from Chile. The business is fairly new, but I knew I wanted to work from home so that I could spend more time with my family and raise my children. As for jewellery, I am learning everything on my own. I started to watch videos and play around with it. For me, it’s the best way to make money and balance a family lifestyle.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
I came from a little town where everyone has their own business. This is our culture. My parents run a cafeteria. Everyone knows about my work, and they knew about my craft projects, but they are surprised I am making jewellery. I had never made any back home. I had never worked with metals and soldering. They are impressed.
My friend, Jorge, came to Canada 15 years ago. He’s from my town but we met in Toronto. My dad always told me, “that guy is in Toronto, you should meet up.” My dad is quite old now, but every time he tells me the same story, “you know who else is there? Jorge!” I’d laugh and say, “yes, but I need a phone number.”
Once I got a call from a woman selling insurance. I recognized a familiar accent — the dialect from my town. I told her Jorge’s last name and she said, “yes, that’s my brother.”
In Chile, Jorge made beautiful leather purses. My mom never bought purses from anyone else but Jorge. She was picky too. He still makes some leather accessories, but he’s also working for a construction company in Toronto now. I asked him, “why? This is your art. This is who you are. You need to sell your leather again.” So he did.
Is there a place in Toronto that you identify with?
Yes, I love Queen and Spadina. I buy some material and beads in Chinatown. I love to ride the streetcar and eat in that area. There are people there all the time. It’s about the vibe and the stores; It’s so colourful.
Portrait photo: Dragon statue on Spadina, Chinatown