“I had a lot of dreams when I was little,” Alejandra said. “And I think I’m lucky because I see opportunities and I just decide to take them.”

-Maria Alejandra Valenzuela

If there was one word used to describe María Alejandra Valenzuela, it would surely be energetic. Some may go so far as to say superhuman. As well as having two children, a Master’s education and three businesses, she is still keen to do more.

“I had a lot of dreams when I was little,” Alejandra said. “And I think I’m lucky because I see opportunities and I just decide to take them.”

The most recent of opportunities is her jewellery business – KELKAY. Having always loved working with her hands and exploring her creativity, this venture comes after a career as a journalist, and her current work as a special needs educator and Spanish teacher.

Hailing from Chile, Alejandra grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit that saw her first selling tomatoes from her family’s farm as a young girl. But when she had to give up her career as a journalist when she moved to Singapore with her husband, her entrepreneurial spark was ignited again. “When in Singapore, I found a jewellery teacher who taught me how to design beautiful pieces,” she said. “Then when I returned to Chile to visit, I learned traditional jewellery in a workshop in the city of Rancagua. I learned to work with aluminium, a flexible allergenic material that looks like silver, as well as copper and lapis lazuli. I wanted to offer these pieces to clients in my new home of Australia.”

While Alejandra initially found the language barrier a challenge, she has been delighted by the reception to her pieces and said that Australians really value and appreciate handmade jewellery. “Lots of doors have opened to me,” she said. “But this is because I am brave and I will do whatever it takes when an opportunity comes my way.”

KELKAY – which means necklace in theIndigenous Chilean language – is a beautiful collection of jewellery that combines Alejandra’s Chilean heritage with inspiration from Australia. She also offers jewellery-making classes and workshops to allow more people to experience the joy of jewellery.

Today, Alejandra describes her life as a joy. “Every day is new and every day is great,” she said. A superhuman attitude as well? We’d have to agree.

Published by Amy Malpass-Hahn, Freelance writer