Designer- Charlene Paksima
I didn’t always plan on becoming a jewelry designer. It started as a hobby I shared with my mother, something we both enjoyed and bonded over. I absolutely loved making jewelry; but, as a little girl, I never imagined it could become my career. So I decided to take the traditional path and go to college, where I studied graphic design at UC San Diego.
But after starting my first graphic design job, life took an unexpected turn. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and was eventually hospitalized. I spent hours in her hospital room and, to take our minds off of things, I began playing around with wire and semiprecious stones again. My mom loved to watch me create new pieces and, for me, it was just nice to see her smile. Sadly, my beloved mom lost her fight with cancer. After she passed away, I realized that making trend jewelry was something I loved that kept me connected to her.
With this renewed passion, I began selling my jewelry at farmer’s markets and local boutiques. It wasn’t long before I had an L.A. showroom, and my stones, beads and wire started taking over the apartment I shared with my husband. With a ton of trial and error, hard work, and dedication, my hobby had become a legitimate business.
People often ask me where I draw my inspiration from, and that’s a tricky one. I’m inspired every day by all the meaningful things in my life—my husband who took a leap of faith and joined me in this journey eight years ago, our incredible son and daughter who light up our lives, the wonderful women that support Leila (that’s you) and the beautiful San Diego surroundings we’re blessed to live in.
I’m so fulfilled and grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love and love what I do. Thanks so much for supporting LEILA. It’s been an incredible journey and it’s because of you that I get to follow my dream!
When I started LEILA, I was designing jewelry in my apartment living room. It was a hobby I enjoyed with my mother as a child and, eventually, I started selling my designs at local farmers markets. As my little company began to grow, my husband decided to leave his job and join me in this new venture, transforming my one-woman workshop into an even stronger husband-and-wife team.
We’ve been designing trend jewelry together since 2005, and it’s been an incredible (and sometimes-frenzied) journey.
We are so proud to say our designs have been sold in more than 400 stores, featured in such magazines as Lucky, InStyle, Elle Girl, InTouch, Glamour, and OK! Magazine, and have been worn by some of Hollywood’s fashionable stars, including Eva Longoria, Hilary Duff, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Hayden Panettiere, and Lauren Conrad.
For a long time, trend jewelry was our primary focus. It wasn’t until the birth of our son that I felt drawn to more meaningful everyday staples rather than the latest trends. After all, as a mom, I know what it’s like to have approximately 5 minutes in the morning to get ready—which is why our designs are simple and classic with a modern feel.
We made LEILA for you: the moms, the businesswomen, the fashionistas and the creatives who love a polished, casual and timeless style.
LEILA wouldn’t be here without you and we can't thank you enough for supporting us.