My favorite gift for the holidays are Lele Sadoughi headbands! I wear mine everyday, and it makes my outfit complete. Whether it’s a good hair day, or a bad one, I pop on a jeweled headband and instantly look put together and cohesive. Lele is incredibly creative, always having fun with bold, bright colors, and fun materials to make her costume jewelry. Her signature floral earrings are a staple in my jewelry box, and they are so light, I hardly feel like I’m wearing anything. I’m excited for her new collection of home decor and sunglasses, as whatever she designs is always very happy and beautiful.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I have always worked in fashion, but only came into jewelry in 2004. I had experience with patternmaking, creating trims, and designing apparel before I made jewelry for companies such as Club Monaco, Banana Republic, Tory Burch, and Anthropologie. In 2005, I had the opportunity to launch the jewelry for J. Crew. I built the department for five years before I started my own collection in 2012. By this time, I had learned so much from these big corporate companies and felt prepared to go out on my own.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I have always been a more-is-more- kind of gal. Growing up in Dallas, I grew to love color, pretty things, and everything big. I am all about adornments. I use a lot of hand-mixed acetate because you can really play around with great color palettes. And, I have recently expanded into hair and love mixing the beaded headbands with chandelier or floral earrings.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
I have stayed true to my own aesthetic regardless of the quick turns in fashion jewelry, and I think this has enabled me to carve out a niche in the market for all things maximal. I try to do my style well instead of hitting every trend. Right now, I’m all about the headband and oversized earrings.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I love it when people tell me that they feel happy wearing Lele Sadoughi. Costume jewels, handbags, and headbands are accents to any outfit and should make people feel special. I believe that your accessories should change daily with your mood. Sometimes, it's about crystals, and sometimes, it's about color.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is designing. As a business owner, I end up wearing many hats and get knee deep into production, sales, marketing, and fulfillment, but I truly love to create. Having that idea and making it work is so fun.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
NYC has so many spots. I have lived here for 16 years and always end up at a new place. I always used to visit the Bryant Park library on the top floor because they have archived magazine pages that are separated by themes. I would look up crowns, deco costumes, Egyptian life, and other world I was interested in seeing. Now, I have been too busy to spend an afternoon there.
How do you benefit mamas?
Being a mom is the most important job I have. I realize you can’t do it all, but I am trying really hard. It is important for me to take my kids to school and pick them up everyday. I made my office on the top floor of our Chelsea townhouse and my kids’ school is across the street. Having this convenience enables me to work and be with the kids. I’m lucky that NYC is a place where you can build your routine in a 2 block radius. I can work for a few hours and take a 20 minute break to run downstairs and be with the kids. It is hard to separate, and I get less done, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. My advise to mommies is not to worry about getting it all done. That never happens. Just do as much as you can until tomorrow.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
Actually, today, we got a glowing review of our headbands from a loyal customer. We sell to Neimans, Mytheresa, Shopbop, Saks, Nordstrom, and dozens of other boutiques, but this one customer made me feel so good. She was raving about the fit and style of our jeweled headbands, and I loved that she was so excited to wear them. She even started a collection. My goal is to make women feel pretty. And this morning, I felt successful.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field.
In 2018, we introduced categories beyond jewelry. Jeweled headbands, handbags, and a home collection are now available. I am working on building a lifestyle brand and have many people I look up to that have successfully built a world around their aesthetics. Kelly Wearstler and Jonathan Adler have designed everything from staplers to hotels. I aspire to build a lifestyle brand.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
Learn your trade before your start on your own. I had great experience at companies like Rebecca Taylor, J Crew, and Tory Burch before I started Lele Sadoughi.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
I don’t worry about getting it all done. I end up doing things last minute anyway, so I enjoy my time with my kids and carve out time at the end of the day to get something done. If I worry about it all day, I’ll miss the little things that are important to feel balanced. And, when the kids are eating breakfast, those are my 7 minutes to get dressed and throw on some jewels and makeup. A headband and lipstick do wonders to look polished in a few minutes.