SMENA began in 2001 after some time living in England and the first time I visited my parent’s homeland of Macedonia as an adult.

Visiting Macedonia gave me a deeper understanding of my heritage a wider appreciation for what my father and many other migrants left behind in search of a better life. What I experienced was far greater than anything money could buy; a welcoming energy, open arms and a positive outlook on life despite the hardships encountered.

I was inspired. I was inspired and motivated to work hard, delve deep within me and create something that I was proud of, and something that would make my family proud. SMENA was born.

SMENA which means the feminine word for “change” in Macedonian, pays homage to my ancestors. Through the craft of leather and design, I found a new love for creation and one that I knew would allow me to express myself, showing individuality, meaning and sharing the passion I have for leather.

The label launched with one-off pieces created as little pieces of wearable art, made and designed in Melbourne, Australia. The journey continued and over the next 10 years many collections were created and sold through numerous boutiques across Australia.

After a 4 year break from SMENA and my best creation ever – my son –  I was re-inspired to play with leather again and traveled back to Macedonia with my family.

So now, I return to my humble beginnings of creation and exploration, allowing the limited edition leathers I source to inspire me to create one-off pieces, small runs of unique bags, clutches, utility purses and earrings. I am proud to be Melbourne-based and create all pieces by hand in a small Melbourne workshop.

I am re-inspired by the joy that travel brings to life, and the enriching of the soul. This time even more important as I travel with my son, who opens my heart and view of the world through his eyes.

I am excited to continue this journey in the creation of truly unique pieces.

Love Jaki. SMENA founder and designer.