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April26

How EWINT Became My Family

This one my most special write up in my history as a jewelry blogger entrepreneur.

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In late November of 2005 I met a wonderful lady Marga Fripp. Who became one of my 1st mentors in helping me built the confidence I needed to pursue my career as a jewelry designer. I have heard about Empowered Women International from one of my 1st clients who was already a supporter or Empowered Women International. After my 1st meeting with Marga, she allowed me space to exhibit my 1st jewelry designs at their 1st front door retail space in their Alexandria office/shop then called A WOMAN STORY SHOP.

Then during Summer of 2006; I signed up for the Artist Entrepreneurship Training Program given by Marga Fripp and her team. During this training we would learn about marketing, how to present ourselves, how to speak in front of potential buyers and mainly how to built a professional portfolio. We were the 2nd group of artist entrepreneurs taking this training.

There I met the most amazing group of artists. Artists entrepreneurs coming from different countries from Afghanistan to Argentina, Peru, Hungary, Romania, United States, etc... And we all had something in common, a bright an creative mind & soul that needed guidance. Most of us with no relatives near us. With lots of dreams under our arms to fullfill. During our1st class we shared our personal story and each story brought tears to most of us.

I can still remember a refugee from Afghanistan who did beautiful portraits and created beautiful paintings with a very unique pattern, who looked like the new version of Picasso. Briefly I’ll tell you her story. She would teach art to women and the art center for  women was taken all of a sudden and shut down because they could not do that, otherwise their life was in danger and they could get killed. I could not believe what I was listening. She was lucky to arrange her paperwork and come to the States as a refugee.I admire the endurance of this lady named Fatana.

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EWINT artists were invited to speak & exhibit at Strathmore Mansion in Rockville – MD (picture above & below)

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I also met the person I call my American sister, her name is Cheryl. She is an illustrator who created beautiful elder fairies and each of them with a story. I have also never heard of anything like this. We became so close, we would talk about work and personal issues. She would come to my studio and give me feedback on my new designs. She was great about it, too. Because her dad used to own a jewelry business in Providence, RI. So she understood the business  very well because her father operated a family business for many years. And I had no clue BACK THEN, about how things work in the States in the jewelry business. Since then I have learned A LOT and I keep learningWinking smile

She met a wonderful man, married and moved to Montana. Now she travels the world while continues working on a big project about the elder fairies. Can’t tell you much about it but I know it is going to be BIG. Things may take time but when you are focus and passionate about what you want in life, things will come your way.

Me and Cheryl remain friends and even though now she is Montana, we keep in touch.

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She called me, yesterday, telling me she was in town for just few days. So I cancelled everything else I had for the rest of the afternoon so I could be with her. She is my older sister like she says and that is what you do for family. I also needed some quality time with my girlfriend. My American sister I met during the Artist Entrepreneurship Program.

The relationship we built with our classmates was incredible. Among immigrants I think we feel related cause in many ways we face similar experiences. We are far away from home, we miss our food, we miss our friends, we miss our family. Simply our culture. In the United States, we don’t even kiss each other to say hello…instead you shake hands. In some countries even men kiss each other, here in the States, it will probably be taken as a sex thread. Anyways…I am not going to talk about the many differences between countries.

This post is special because no matter how much time has passed and even though we have a busy live. I will always feel I can come back home and visit EWINT headquarters in Alexandria. They truly became my family. I don’t get to see Marga or the other girls as often as I would like to, but at least in special occasions we get together.

I can still remember also when Marga Fripp came to visit me when I gave birth. She knows my family lives in Peru, my in-laws in St. Louis (although they were around briefly when Tyler was born) she knew I needed support around myself, especially to make sure I would continue pursuing my dreams in my new home country and that I would continue with my jewelry businessSmile

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