We are in the business of empowering women to shop responsibly and inspire change here and around the world!
11 years ago a child named Sean was born. He was our miracle baby, a gift from God. Whenever he
was hungry he would cry out "Lay Lay, Lay Lay"!! My husband Joe and I would always laugh and we
decided to buy the rights to the name "Lei-Lei". I always knew that I was going to use that significant
and memorable phrase for a business that would somehow touch the lives of women and children around the world.
Another beautiful (and miraculous) child, Mia, arrived 2 years later to bless our home. In February of 2012 Lei-Lei was born!
I knew from a young age that I loved to dress up and shop. The passion was fueled by my mother who was a showroom model back in the days when they were used during fashion weeks. I worked throughout high school and college at Macy's on the selling floor. After four years and a BS in Marketing and an AAS in Fashion Buying and Merchandising from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC my career in wholesale sales began. Hard to believe that was over 30 years ago and numerous executive positions later!!
The fashion business can be fun and glamorous sounding but it is also very fast paced and demanding. Couple that with daily commuting and caring for a family and the shine can wear off. I knew I needed to do something more important and wanted to put money back into the hands of those that needed it most...not the owners but the workers!!! I founded and launched Lei-Lei with some help from our oldest daughter Ali, in between her visits home from college, in 2013. I wanted to involve her in something that she could be proud of and say she helped create and could learn about business while helping others in need. My job as a mother is to empower my children and put them on the right path. Our company is based on the belief that helping others in need brings us closer to making the world a better place. We work with many female artisans to help empower them to care for their families while proudly working towards financial independence and self sufficiency.
We started with beautiful beaded bracelets handmade in a Christian community in Khatmandu, Nepal. Word of mouth and a small website of loyal and repeat customers kept us very busy. Two years later we decided to grow the handmade product offerings and become an ecommerce global marketplace.
Our products now include Moroccan clutches and market baskets, newborn sheep's wool animal booties from Krygystan, Alpaca shawls, hats and fingerless mittens, eco resin and upcycled horn jewelry and many others. All must fit the criteria of being handmade, fairly traded, renewable and sustainable while allowing the customer to shop guilt free for cool items that support worthy causes.
We find great happiness and pride from our business knowing that we are helping so many in need. Our goal is to pass this pleasure on to you, so you can shop knowing your purchases have a positive impact on our artisans' lives.
Maria & Ali