SeaTac, July 5th
Cerise, azure, coral…the bright, colorful stones illuminate the insides of a jewelery box. Samra Ekmecic, an artist from Sarajevo Bosnia, displays her new collection The Memories. One by one she pulls out charming earrings and necklaces from the box and arranges them with care on the cold marble table. The mere look in her eyes communicates more than any words could; the deep meaning this collections holds for her as it was created in honor of her late father, who was the inspiration behind her new jewelry making business. With a subtle smile Samra brings one of the earrings towards her ear to match the necklace she was wearing. Starting the jewelry business was a great leap for Samra, whose journey has been imprinted by unpredictable and traumatic events. During the Bosnian war, Samra had to flee her home to resettle in Seattle as a refugee. In Bosnia, she attended medical school, but she was not able to work in the U.S. due to non-transferrable medical certifications and expensive childcare. Yet today Samra is finding a new future by revisiting her past. Coming from a family of jewelry makers, she has started making and selling unique pieces of jewelry herself.
Samra was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia. She graduated from medical school at the University of Sarajevo, but had “to leave that behind” upon immigrating to the US. The process to apply for equivalence of a foreign diploma is very complex. Newly arrived refugees struggle with having their professional certificates or qualifications be recognized or considered valid within the U.S., if they were fortunate enough to complete school prior to having to flee their homes. As a result, many refugees find themselves unemployed or underemployed. This is not only a loss for the refugees, but also for their new communities that could benefit from their skill set.
When she arrived in Seattle, Samra became pregnant with their first child. Childcare was unaffordable for the newly immigrated refugee couple. Samra chose to stay at home to care for her family, Erina (13) and Ena (9), which brought her a new kind of joy. Years later when her father passed away in Bosnia, Samra had to “find something to keep her mind occupied.” She remembered making jewelry with her father as a young girl. Down the road she would pursue a medical career, as her father always pushed her to focus on her studies, but she never forgot the skills she learned helping out with the family jewelry business. When she lost her father eight months ago, Samra expressed the need to renew her family roots. “When I made my first bracelet, I felt this connection,” she said, “I finally found myself. This is amazing what is happening to me, I just love what I’m doing now.”
Samra’s jewelry line - 4YouJewleryDesigns – is a stunning collection of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. They are modern, yet timeless. The stones are opulent but refined, the colors bright and fresh. Each item is a unique piece with the ability to dress-up any outfit or add a simple dash of style. To promote her jewelry Samra started by organizing jewelry parties with her friends. She has already participated in several exhibits such as Artvocacy and the Fashion Show For Cure. In the last fashion show, models strutted down the runway adorned by Samra’s irresistible collection. Samra also creates custom-made jewelry for individuals based on their personal tastes and style. She currently is fulfilling such an order for a bride, who wishes to give personal necklaces to her bridesmaids. Clothing designers can also order items that will match their own collection. Samra gets her inspiration from her husband, her father, friends, nature surrounding her in beautiful Seattle, and her own life journey.
After dedicating these last years to her loving family, Samra’s professional life is taking a new angle. She is now expressing her creativity with success and is enjoying her new path. Samra is slowly integrating into the Seattle designer scene. In order to continue growing, Samra does still need a lot of support to gain publicity. She needs connections and access to a larger customer base. Please visit Samra’s Facebook page, like it, spread the word, and order some fabulous new jewelry for yourself! Samra believes no woman can have enough jewelry!
“Every piece has a story to tell,” said Samra…a piece of an inspiring story by a resilient and graceful woman.