Feb 2, 2016

#InTheStudio: Lele Sadoughi

Lele Sadoughi takes working from home to a whole new level–like the 6th floor of a stunning Chelsea townhouse kind of level. Walking into the jewelry designer’s home is not wholly unlike stepping into a jewelry box itself–bowls of sparkling baubles are littered throughout the rooms, fur throws  are strewn across full velvet sofas and beautiful art, some of which Lele created herself, is stacked high on the lofted ceilings. And on the top floor of her home she shares with her husband and two children, the jewelry designer has carved out the perfect work space to house her namesake labels’ studio. Filled with light and inspirational imagery, the space is nothing short of beautiful.

So how does Lele balance running a successful business and a beautiful home complete with two kids under three at once? We found out what makes the designer tick, and the trick to doing it beautifully.

We love your name! Is there a story behind it?
“My family has always called me Lele over my given name Lisa. I married my husband right before I started my own line, and took his surname. I loved how Lele Sadoughi rolled off the tongue. Some people think the name sounds exotic, but in reality, I‘m just a girl from Dallas!”

And how did you get started with jewelry making?
“I’ve always wanted to create. Whether it was photography, painting or jewelry—I like putting colors and components together. I prefer jewels because there is an architectural element that I enjoy. It is about functionality, weight, construction, as well as beauty. Jewelry is unlike anything else you wear—it’s not a necessity like clothing but an addition, an enhancement. I believe jewelry should change as often as your outfits.”

We agree! What’s a typical day like for you as a mom and designer?
“With a one and two year old at home, I am so fortunate to get work done during the day but also run downstairs to have lunch with my kids. I can schedule meetings with an hour break between and make time to run out to the park. Sometimes I take my son to school and start work afterwards; other days begin with a meeting or press appointment, and I don’t make it downstairs until the afternoon.”

How has your day-to-day routine changed since you began working from home?
“I depend on my team at work and at home to help make it all happen. I want to be super involved with the daily activities of my children, and having everything around makes it possible.”

The moodboards you have in your space are really beautiful. How do you get those together?
“Usually, I end up doing some late night research in my pajamas alone in the office. There’s something nice about being up here after hours, with music and the moonlight. For Spring 2016, I was inspired to experiment with more mediums like fabric tassels and milky-colored acetates, so I started researching Chinese Kingfisher jewelry, silk tassels and face painting from the Peking Opera. I scoured the internet for images of opera performers wearing ornate headdresses, elaborate backdrop paintings and colorful scenery from the theater houses. Once I had effectively immersed myself in this world, the designs started to flow. I always feel more connected with the process after I’ve placed myself in a place and time.”

We’re in love with the stenciled wall you did in your daughter’s room! How did you do it?
“I thought a stencil project would be fun to liven up the wall in my daughter’s room. However, you have to be very exact when stenciling, and I prefer freehand—sketching, erasing and starting over—so it was definitely a challenge for me to constrain myself. My husband and I went on a trip to Morocco when we were expecting our first child and came home with a few rugs and jewels. I wanted to make my daughter’s room into a pink version of a bazaar with different prints and textures. I added woven baskets, a patterned rug and this stencil to really give life to the room.”

What’s the best part of working where you live?
“Being so close to my kids.”

What’s the worst part of working where you live?
“Being so close to my kids! It can be hard to separate and focus on work when I know they are just a few floors away from me.”