This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.
Marianne is an architect and jewelry designer from Venezuela living in Serbia for almost a decade now.
We had a great pleasure talking to her about her growing creative business but also about her favorite places in Belgrade.
Where are you from and how did you end up in Belgrade?
I'm from Maracaibo, Venezuela. For the past 15 years I have been moving around, I lived in the United States, Spain and my last unpredictable destination: Serbia.
The reason I came here? LOVE!
How long have you been living in Belgrade, and what is your connection to this city?
I visited Belgrade for the first time in 2012, but have moved in permanently in 2014, meaning almost 9 solid and fantastic years. My connection to this city started with a relationship, a belgrader architect from VraÄar, who made sure to make my experience joyable and learn about his city. This connection continues building itself as my family is growing.
You are the Owner & Creative Director at Pamela Coromoto. Can you tell us something about this brand and beautiful jewelry you are designing?
I'm an architect and 10 years ago I decided to tailor my skills into a different scale, founding an architectural jewelry brand: Pamela Coromoto.
I'm mostly inspired by art, architecture and places, designing and making thoughtful, sustainable and contemporary one-of-a-kind pieces.
Your market is world wide, how is it to run a business from Serbia?
Well, as a small brand, running it all on my own, I can say that it has been pretty challenging. Bureaucracy can be a real pain, and something as simple as sending a package could become a complex and unpredictable situation. But, after almost nine years of building a brand and growing a creative business, these obstacles have made me more determined to overcome problems and become a master in creating 'solutions'.
Where do you create your jewelry?
In my small workshop, on an upper floor of my apartment, close to Djeram pijaca.
How can we order your products?
We have Pamela Coromoto's Online Shop where you can place your order, and if you are in Serbia, you can order as well via Instagram
Do you have a team, or do you do it all alone?
I was alone for the past years. Recently (literally this week) one person joined me. The brand has grown and my last year was quite chaotic. I was aware I couldn't not continue alone, but finding the right person has taken much longer than I thought it would. The pursuit of balance within the family, work and personal projects seems like a never ending story, but here I am, surfing the waves ð
What do you need for your business to grow bigger?
Surely to have a more business-oriented perspective, a coach in this topic would be very helpful!
I would like to turn Pamela Coromoto into a zero waste production brand. For that I need machines and equipment, in order to make my own materials. I don't know if that will make me grow in terms of money value, but surely it will have a valuable impact. I would like to grow, not just as a brand, but as a creative and educational community-related to recycling and sustainable product and fashion design.
What are your favorite spots in Belgrade, and where do you take your friends when they are visiting our city?
I love the Kalemegdan, DorÄol and VraÄar neighborhoods.
If we get visitors, we take them to Kalemegdan, a bike ride through Ada, Novi Beograd brutalist tour, upper DorÄol for a nice walk and some foodie stops.
What has been the biggest cultural shock when you moved here, and which local specialty do you like the most?
No doubts about smoking. The fact that smoking is allowed everywhere and that everyone smokes. Also, the lack of culture of living in common buildings and the way people don't care about the common areas and maintenance of their building, for me was (and still is) a shock.
Local speciality... Well, I have more than one. The forever king: Ajvar. Kajmak with warm artisanal bread... is heaven! Also, I can claim to be a fan of Å¡opska salata.
Apart from running your own business you are also a mum, can you share some interesting places and events you and your kids like to visit?
We are all very active in this family. Therefore, we usually spend our free time outside.
My husband Nikola is the one who fills out our agendas with activities: exhibitions, workshops, cultural open-air events. I love picnics and we are always searching for a nice new park where to lay down and relax while kids spear all their energy around. My favorite is TopÄider. Picnic events are one of my favorites.
My kids love driving their scooter all the way down Bulevar towards Tasmajdan or city center until Kalemegdan and Crna Ovca ice cream shop is always a mandatory stop.