To Top

Meet Barbara Levin of Athena Designs in Torrance

Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Levin.

Barbara, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In my former business, Athena International, we specialized in glass and crystal from Western Europe. Some of my biggest customers included Tiffany’s mail order catalog, Neiman Marcus and fortune 500 companies. On one particular trip to Italy my agent and I explored Murano glass beads. I wound up purchasing $10,000 worth of glass beads on that trip and when I got back to the US, realized that neither I nor my staff knew how to assemble and make jewelry! I drove up and down Wilshire Blvd until I spotted a sign for jewelry making classes. The instructor came to our office to teach my employees how to make jewelry. That was 15 years ago. We started selling items to museum shops and Princess Cruise ships touring the Mediterranean. The company became Athena Designs and went through many progressions to where we are now. I have been designing my entire adult life and always loved jewelry!!!!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think we all exist in a new frontier where the means and methods of marketing, selling and advertising are fundamentally shifting and changing rapidly. It has been a challenge in learning how to tune in, reconfigure and adapt in the digital market place. The rewards have come in the process of learning and experimenting and the challenge continues.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Though we sell nationwide to boutiques, jewelry stores and specialty and museum shops, our niche market is fine resorts and spas. We are known for ‘value’ priced jewelry- fun, well made and affordable. We stand behind our product and therefore offer a lifetime guarantee on our items- we repair or replace with no questions asked.

What makes me happy at the end of the day is having each person I work with feel that they had a productive and creative day and that we worked well as a team. We understand that there is no ultimate end goal but rather a never-ending process of learning and growing. And of course, we are all delighted when we hear directly from a customer who loves her Athena Designs jewelry!

What were you like growing up?
I was a nerd and proud of it! And I was always drawn to travel, exploration and art


  • Our necklaces begin at just $38 retail
  • Fashion jewelry section starts at $15- $45
  • Most of our sterling and gold vermeil jewelry is priced under $100

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Thalia Trentacarlini

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Mary Howard

    June 27, 2017 at 02:14

    Great article a Barbara!

  2. barbara levin

    June 28, 2017 at 15:39

    Thanks so much for taking a moment to leave a comment! much appreciated

  3. Melissa Robbins

    June 29, 2017 at 09:33

    Great article, wonderful company! Congrats Barbara !!!!!

  4. Lee Frizzell

    July 8, 2017 at 22:29

    Awesome! Congratulations from an old Simmons alum. I love these success stories, and I’m going to spend time looking at your jewelry!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in