Today we’d like to introduce you to Leah Mizrachi.
Hi Leah, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in Panama and moved to San Diego when I was four years old. When I was a kid, I really struggled in school. I was a visual learner and had a hard time learning in the regular school setting. So, my mom decided to try to teach me how to add and subtract with beads. That was the beginning of LEMIZ. I learned how to add and subtract, but then I had a bunch of beads left over. I started making bracelets and going to local boutiques in my area to sell them in boutiques. LEMIZ jewelry eventually ventured into making silver charm bracelets and necklaces. That was where my passion for fashion started.
As I got older, I decided I wanted to move to New York City to pursue my dreams of becoming a fashion designer. I applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology and got in. I moved to NYC and studied accessories design at FIT. I loved every single day of school! I got to go to school and learn to sew, make my own patterns, new handbag constructions and meet people who had a similar passion for fashion.
After school, I went to work for Madewell as a handbag designer. I learned so much about design and manufacturing. While I was working there, COVID hit and I decided to move closer to home, LA. I eventually decided to leave my job because I wanted to stay on the west coast. As I searched for jobs, I realized that I could do what I was doing at Madewell but for myself. In January 2022, I decided that I was going to chase my dream of owning and running my own handbag business LEMIZ. It’s been a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think any entrepreneur will tell you they have had a smooth road to starting their company. It feels like every day something new and unknown comes up. It’s definitely been a challenge. For me, it was hard to start. I am such a perfectionist, that it was hard to just start designing and making bags. Once I was able to let loose a little more, it was easier. As the business continues to grow, I continue to face new obstacles. I’ve learned that I have to wear many different hats. I am a designer, merchandiser, photographer, and marketing… the list goes on. It can be difficult and overwhelming to have to do so many different things.
If I could give someone advice who was thinking of starting a business, it would be to just start. The hardest part is deciding what to do or make. Once you are ready to stand behind the product, just run with it!!!
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about LEMIZ?
LEMIZ is a handbag company based out of LA. Everything we make is designed and made in Downtown LA in a mom and pop factory. I am very proud to be able to work with a small team in the factory that pays close attention to detail and makes sure every bag is perfect. I use the finest Italian leather to make all of our bags. I take a lot of pride in the quality I am able to manufacture because I am overseeing it and making sure every single bag is perfect.
Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
When I was in college, I applied for a summer internship that opened many doors for me. I remember multiple classmates of mine had also applied for the job, so I was really nervous to go to the interview. I spent a lot of time reworking my portfolio and updating to get ready for the interview. I ended up getting the job as a summer footwear intern at Everlane in NYC. It was awesome! I learned so much that summer. Looking back, I think that opportunity opened many doors for me. It was my break into the industry. It was the first big name I had on my resume which then helped me get other jobs.
- My bags range between $400-$500.