From Studying Abroad On A Paradise Island To Starting An International Accessory Brand

  • Published on:
    October 22, 2019
  • Reading time by:
    7 minutes
Alisa Purelei

“Accessories should tell a story about the person wearing them…”

Every woman loves her accessories, just as much as she loves the confidence, empowerment, and style it feeds her soul when she wears them.  Alisa, the founder of the brand PURELEI, made it her passion to capture just that. She wanted each accessory that she designed to exemplify elegance and personality, a little luxury to take with you anywhere at any time.

Back in 2012, Alisa had the opportunity to travel from Germany and study abroad in Hawaii.  She was completely captivated by the Hawaiian culture—the flower-scented air, crystal clear waters, and the feeling she had when she experienced them.  Traveling back to Germany, Alisa took a piece of Hawaii home with her, cradled within the depths of her heart.  

Four years later, in 2016, Alisa released her first pieces for purchase, branding her business PURELEI. Her business name was thoughtfully created to compound both the inspiration of the feminine body and Hawaiian culture—“pure” representing the pureness of our bodies and “lei” representing the island’s flower chain.  Each piece was intended to capture the Hawaiian vibes she loved so much, serving as a remembrance of her journey to the islands.  The brand’s personal style is stunning, high-quality, chic, polished, and luxurious.  Each crafted design will leave you feeling radiant and free, an instant vacation away from the chaos of the day- to-day grind.  Every woman deserves this indulgence of self-love!

Below is a more in-depth interview we did with Alisa about her incredible and fast-growing business.  She shares with us what her vision entails and how it all came to be.  You will find an incredible amount of inspiration within her story!

Q: Why did you decide to start your own accessories brand?

A: “My time spent living in Hawaii was a pivotal point in my life. It allowed me the space to contemplate how I wanted to live my life going forward and by what compass or message I should follow.

Accessories have always been – to me – a way for people to express themselves and a mirror that reflects your tastes, experiences, and individuality. 

Purelei is the result of combining these two beliefs in a way that made sense to me.”

Q: Have you always been entrepreneurial?

A: “I would say so. Looking back, it is hard to say in the beginning whether I was completely aware of my entrepreneurial spirit. However, while working for other companies during my studies, it soon became clear that I had a desire for something more, a desire to create something meaningful and of my own. It was after I met Freddy and Etienne that I started looking into what it takes to start and run a business and the prospect was so appealing to me. Something just clicked for me and I haven’t looked back since.”

Q: Where do you find your inspiration now that you don’t live in Hawaii?

A: “I take a lot of inspiration from fashion. I love simple, sleek and chic looks that offer something extra – elegance with a trendy twist. I believe there is inspiration to be found anywhere, as long as you are mindful enough to look for it. I do also try to visit Hawaii as much as I can, even if it’s not as often as I’d like. Every trip is both familiar and exciting and I always bring a little piece of it back with me.”

Q: Are you making sacrifices being an entrepreneur?

A: “Of course. As with any time-intensive, long-term endeavor, there are always sacrifices that come with the territory. Whether it’s my time, energy, or attention – be it physically, mentally, or emotionally – I have had to evaluate what I am willing to give in order to continue pursuing this passion and make sure I take the time to recharge. It’s something everyone should do and reevaluate periodically.”

Q: Tell us about your proudest achievement?

A: “Honestly, I’m proud to say that I am happy with myself and the person I have become. It’s easy to always expect more from yourself and be critical about your decisions… the fact that we have managed to create a team of 80 wonderful people (and in such a short time!) is an accomplishment in and of itself and speaks volumes; it gives me confidence that we are on the right path and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

A: “My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is the flexibility and variety inherent in this role. Every day is different, I am always learning something new, I can fulfill my creativity in meaningful ways, and, perhaps most importantly, I get the chance to be a role model for others.”

Q: What are your top 3-5 tips for happiness?

A“1- Have confidence in your abilities and what you can achieve. What you don’t know, you can learn.
2- Kindness goes further than you think. Try to practice it every day.
3- Pay attention to your interests and what brings you joy. Try to incorporate these elements more into your everyday life.
4- Make spending time with the ones you love a priority.
5- Dogs are love, dogs are life.”

Check out the brand on Purelei

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