Industry / Retail

Lele Sadoughi Celebrates a Decade in Business With a Retail Explosion


When it comes to store design, Lisa “Lele” Sadoughi follows the same philosophy she created for her accessories brand: open, bold, tactile, and a world where everyone is encouraged to play and experiment with a new look.

Sadoughi is celebrating 10 years, and the company is looking at expanding even further into brick-and-mortar stores as well as new lines and partnerships in the years to come, the designer says. Her work is about giving people embellishments that enhance their look as well as their lives, and business is booming, she says.

For example, Sadoughi opened her first Lele Sadoughi boutique in Dallas last May, giving the luxury location in her hometown splashes of gold and pink. A year later came a Newport Beach, Calif., location, with dreamy shades of the beach and ocean. Soon, the brand will welcome customers to its New York City shop, bringing color blocking and tones of lavender to the West Village.

Lele Sadoughi Newport Beach store
Lisa “Lele” Sadoughi was California dreaming when she opened her Newport Beach location, forgoing cases to let her customers touch and try on her accessories.

Sadoughi says these locations are growing in size and scale along the company’s confidence in physical retail boutiques as its next steps. Sadoughi says she is giving her customers ample reason to touch and try on her signature headbands as well as jewelry with big dressing rooms and lots of mirrors.

“I remember going into [other] stores and everything was under a glass case. That killed me,” Sadoughi says. “You have such an opportunity to be tactile.”

For her New York store, Sadoughi says she worked with Sasha Bikoff, who also designed Sadoughi’s Dallas home. The collaboration is exciting because the two designers not only think alike, but they also think big, she says. Take the graphic black-and-white awning on the store’s exterior as a hint as to what’s going to be happening inside the space.

Lele Sadoughi New York store
Black-and-white stripes are the base of the color story in the Lele Sadoughi stores. The designer says the interior of her New York location will have lavenders in various shades. It is slated to open later this year.

“I want people to play, try things on, and have fun,” Sadoughi says. “Accessories are fun. People come in here because they want something extra.”

Jewelry has been Sadoughi’s business for most of her career; she started working in fashion accessories for brands such as Rebecca Taylor, Ippolita, J. Crew, and Tory Burch. Sadoughi started her namesake brand in 2012 as a jewelry business and expanded it into new categories, such as her celebrated headbands.

Looking back for her 10th anniversary, Sadoughi says she remembers when major department stores had to bring in new buyers to handle her headbands, thinking the classic headwear was dead and buried. Sadoughi brought the headband back with her detailed work, adding everything from gems to beads to sequins to these lighthearted accessories.

Lele Sadoughi Dallas store
Sadoughi says she initially hesitated to go into brick-and-mortar retail but took a chance on Dallas as her first site because it’s her hometown. That gamble has paid off with a great location and additional openings, she says.

Over the past decade, Sadoughi has added everything from what she calls “maximalist” jewelry to handbags to sunglasses to socks to you name it when it comes to accessories. Her work is found in department stores, on her website, and in new collaborations.

Fans collect it all, wearing it all together for the Lele look. For example, a group of women came into her Newport Beach store when it opened and made the trip a weekend event. Sadoughi celebrates this kind of fandom because it shows how much people want to enjoy dressing intentionally.

“It’s an investment,” Sadoughi says. “It’s about gorgeous clothing and accessories. How can you be thoughtful about everything you wear?”

Top: With an eye for the bright and bold, accessories designer Lisa “Lele” Sadoughi is looking back at a decade of running her namesake brand and enjoying the people she has met and the pieces she has created along the way (photos courtesy of Lele Sadoughi).

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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