Meet Lepa Galeb-Roskopp, entrepreneur, jewelry designer, and true global citizen. Launching a business is no easy feat and in 2014 she embarked on a journey to build a unique fine jewelry brand, Misahara (the name was formed by melding her children’s names together: Mara, Sara, and Harrison).
The Collections are inspired by Lepa’s journey through life. Every piece is handcrafted in New York City and tells the story of her passion for nature, her connection with other cultures, and her drive to create a better world with the underlying ethos of Unity found in and around many of her designs. Lepa’s strong commitment to philanthropy is also reflected in her designs, which have proudly made an impact around the globe through various charitable initiatives.
She is equally as zealous about the raw materials she selects to create her pieces. Sustainably sourced stones and fair-trade metals are an unshakeable priority for Lepa, and in the ateliers, she chooses to execute on her vision so that her clients can be confident the pieces they select are not only impeccably crafted but also impeccably sourced – with a conscience.
Every Collection is an expression of Lepa’s passions brought to life and evoke an emotion in the wearer that tells their own story through Misahara’s jewelry.
Her creativity in designing jewelry is evident but an equally impressive side to Lepa can be seen through her tenacity in forming highly coveted partnerships to further Misahara’s brand reach. For the past four years, Misahara has been the exclusive fine jewelry partner for Ferrari North America. The brand has collaborated with one of the world’s most well known and respected emerald mines, Gemfields. Lepa’s designs have been worn by A-list celebrities year after year, from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kerry Washington, and Taylor Swift, etc.
In your own words, what do you do?
I am a jewelry designer, entrepreneur, mother, and wife. Professionally, I am an artist that creates jewelry from different inspirations that I have experienced along my journey through life. I think of myself as a nonconformist and I like to blaze my own path without letting society dictate to me what is ‘normal’. It took me a while to be able to convey my point of view without upsetting the traditional value system in which I was raised. I do not believe in barriers, just obstacles, and opportunities. I pride myself in being able to accomplish any task because I am not afraid of authority or conventional mindsets and rules.
How did you actually start making and selling jewelry for a living?
I created my jewelry brand, Misahara, from scratch. I left a lucrative family business to start one of my greatest adventures, building my Company. I have always loved fashion and design and felt drawn to follow that passion and express it in the fine jewelry space. After consideration and encouragement from my family, I went to NYC with a blank slate and started by finding an Atelier who could bring my ideas to life. I spent weeks and months learning the trade and watching our manufacturing team.
I am a visual learner so being there in person helped me to really understand how jewelry goes from an idea to a wearable piece of art. I started by designing couture one-of-a-kind pieces because those larger than life designs just happened to be what my inspirations were leading me to create. Once the first Collections came to life, we began the process of finding customers through various events, outreach to retailers, working with a press team, and creating partnerships with amazing brands around the world that could help further spread the word of Misahara. We certainly came across many obstacles but always pushed forward and continued with our mission. It is important to stay focused on your goal but remember that it is critical to pivot and evolve your business. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if you stay the path all roads will lead there.
Tell us about your design style. What makes your Collection unique in the industry?
The inspiration for my design style comes from my lifestyle, and that is being able to travel and live in different parts of the world. The highest level of creation comes from nature, which I love, because it keeps me humble and grounded. I’m especially drawn to water – the Pacific and Indian Ocean, Adriatic Sea. When something is so powerful and beautiful and at the same time so pure, it is then easy to get inspired and make jewelry come to life. I feel that what makes my jewelry unique is the fact that I never look at what others are doing. I love seeing what’s out there; what’s trendy and in, but at the end of the day, I always go with my gut and create what I believe my customers will love.
What kind of person wears your jewelry?
A person that is confident and comfortable in their own skin; has a unique style and uses our jewelry to enhance her both inner and outer beauty.
As a designer, where do you draw your inspiration from?
If I had to pick just one – it would definitely be Mother Nature. I love solitude and nature is where I feel most alive. It began from an early age where I’d spend hours in nature to today where whenever I’m free, I go mountain biking, cannoning and hiking.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be?
Trust with caution. I always want to believe the best in people, but more often than not, that’s far from reality. This is especially true in the business world that is highly competitive and where people live by the “the goal justify the means”. I was not raised to be like that, so I’d definitely tell my younger self to be less naïve and stay focused on my dreams.
What advice would you have for aspiring jewelry designers?
To always follow your heart. The times will come when you’ll feel like you won’t make it, but as that famous song says “Dust yourself off and try again”. Never let others tell what you can & cannot do, believe in yourself and never ever give up on your dreams.
What are your current areas of focus?
Currently, we are focusing on launching beautiful new Collections that are suited for eCommerce and connecting with customers digitally. Since 2020 has been such a life-changing year for everyone, personally and professionally, we made some adjustments to our areas of focus. Typically, we spend the year travelling to various events where we engage with our clients. Since travelling and events are not in the cards, right now, we are finding new and creative ways to connect with customers.
Share with us some tips on how to find the jewelry style that fits you.
Ditch the rules. Don’t let the fashion industry dictate what you should be wearing and how. As our slogan says, it’s all about how does your jewelry makes you feel?
If I feel like wearing jewelry with my swimwear – absolutely I will. If I feel like wearing my cocktail ring with a plain t-shirt and jeans, no one can stop me. If you feel good in your own skin, your jewelry is going to amplify that.
To what do you attribute your success?
As I mentioned earlier, it is really about not giving up when times get tough, and they will. Doing what you love in today’s world is truly a gift, and when that happens, we owe it to ourselves to give everything we have to make it work. And it will.