Embellish: Cher Lenay

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This series will feature all things that give your outfit that extra flare. From jewelry, hats, scarves, and other accessories, I will feature individuals whose passion is to adorn the everyday woman. They specialize in designing what you are looking for and how it can make your style speak volumes.

A couple of weeks ago at a jewelry trunk show at Willow Life + Style, I met an amazingly talented woman. She was personable and dressed very well. She introduced herself to me and we chatted the whole night when I was actually supposed to be working! She then mentioned how she made leather jewelry and even showed me some of her designs right in the store. Her styles are very classic and can be worn any season.

www.cherlenay.com

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*What inspires you to work in this industry?
 I am not a slave to trends. I simply believe style should be tailored differently for each individual. All women come in different shapes and sizes, and women deserve to own accessories that not only flatter their figure, but also allow them to feel confident before walking out the door. Unlike some clothing, accessories are versatile and can be re-worn throughout the week.  With CherLenay products, a woman can easily switch her look from casual to formal without doing a complete wardrobe change.  My goal is to help women create their own unique look without putting forth much effort.  I believe my products can provide this for all women.  In addition, all CherLenay products are designed locally and handmade in the United States – This gives all women a reason to proudly display their accessories!



*What was your first constructed piece? How did you go about choosing 
beads, colors, etc.?  
My first constructed piece, the Flo bag, was named after my grandmother, Flora.  My grandmother has always been an inspiration to me and I felt as though this bag mirrored her lively personality.  Boho meets country, with a little bit of flamboyancy; this bag truly says it all. 
All CherLenay bags are named after people in my life that I truly cherish.  The material is chosen separately from the bags.  I first pick the leathers that I love all on their own.  I adore the vegetable dyed browns as the nature created color makes them so rich. The wrinkles in the gray, the crackle in the patent, and of course the printed and embossed animal printed leathers make each bag so unique.  I think of the texture, the feel, and the quality of the materials, and then I ask myself: “Will this last a long time?”  Once I have decided upon the leather, I then begin to think of who the bag reminds of. 



*How long does it usually take you to construct a piece? What is your
jewelry making process?  
If I was to make my own sample handbag, it would take me 8 hours to design the pattern and then an additional 8 hours to construct the purse.  A majority of the time, I draw a concept sketch of the handbag for my manufacturer.  He then creates a sample and sends it back to me for approval.  Upon receiving the sample, I often times make additional changes until I am completely satisfied with the look and feel of the bag.  This process can take up to several months.
In addition, I also order the corresponding Italian hardware that matches each bag.  I currently have several leather suppliers in L.A. that send me swatches to choose from before making a final decision. I love doing my job and the distance hasn’t stopped me yet.  I hope to find a manufacturer here in Houston for the smaller products in my line.


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*Do you have big plans, new ideas or designs you will be exploring soon?  
I am currently drawing up new handbag designs. Considering the distance between Texas and California, these designs probably won’t come to fruition until early next year.  I am continually designing new leather bracelets. These projects require little maintenance and take less time to create, approve, and manufacture.  I plan on continuing to acquire new stores in Texas. I love my Texas ladies just as much as they love my flashy products.  I am enjoying the colors that Texas flaunts, and I love working with leathers and prints that are a little edgy. These products are the most enjoyable to create, and my clients loves them as much as I do.

*What accessory do you mostly NEVER leave the house wearing?  
My grandfathers nugget pendant he bought when he was stationed in Alaska (airforce), it has the diamonds from his mother’s wedding ring embedded in it, he was her only child, my husband wears the ring that matches it with the remainder of my great-grandmothers ring diamonds.
*Where can you designs be found?  
On the internet: cherlenay.com, on Facebook, at these locations: 
Houston:
Coquette -at 1848 Westheimer, Houston, Tx
Settlement Goods & Design -at 3939 Montrose, Houston, Tx
Fashion Studio Houston -at 1111 Westheimer, 
Willow -at 3201 Westheimer, Houston, Tx
Oh La La -at 833 Studewood, Houston, Tx
California:
Annie’s Boutique – 326 S. Catalina Av, Redondo Beach, Ca
Artist Tree – 722 Yarmouth Rd, Palos Verdes Estates, Ca
Designer Cheryl Martin
What do you guys think of her designs? 
I’m in LOVE with them!