What inspired you to start Cleobella?
A: It started when, shortly after my husband and I got married, we decided to take a leap of faith and leave our jobs to travel around the world for a year. My husband is an avid surfer, so we designed the trip around where the waves were good during specific times of the year. We started in New Zealand, then continued through Australia, South East Asia, India; bought a camper van in Europe and traveled there for 5 months; took quick trip over to Africa. It was really during our time in Bali that I really felt inspired to start Cleobella and began to develop my initial ideas.
Out of necessity, I designed the ultimate Mexicana clutch – fitting my travel itinerary, passport, money, and it was my daytime wallet to throw in bag and evening clutch to wear alone. This later became Cleobella’s signature item.
What’s behind the name?
A: I was with my parents in Bali and my mom’s name is Cleobelle but we’ve always called her Cleobella; as with the rest of our brand, it came about very organically.
What inspires you, overall?
A: Travel is the number one inspiration for our brand. You can’t help but be inspired when you walk the streets of places like Bali and India – the colors, fabrics, textures, decor; amazing.
Also, my mom grew up on the beaches of Southern California in the 60s and 70s; she and those decades have totally inspired our brand. Her style has always been effortless and relaxed, and she is a significant style icon for me, then and now. And, architecture and interior design are great passions of mine, and have had significant influence on what we do at Cleobella.
What does a typical weekday morning look like for you?
A: Well, I’m a mom, so I enjoy the early part of the day with my son and husband, eating a healthy breakfast and, whenever possible, taking a walk on the beach with my little one. This is the luxury of owning your own business! The business can be all-consuming so I work hard to separate and spend quality time with both.
Congrats on store opening! How did that come about?
A: We searched a long time for the right space; we wanted someplace close to home but that reminded us of our travels abroad. We planned to have a storefront, as well as our office and showroom within it. We were fortunate to find a beach cottage on Pacific Coast Hwy built in the 1920s, and it’s full of character and has just the right amount of space, including a courtyard for events. We brought back some of our favorite finds out of Bali to add our flavor and share our inspiration with those who visit.
What is your favorite place to travel, in general?
A: Both, Bali and India. I have fallen in love with those countries. The organized chaos, vibrant colors, and the people are so kind and lovely. India has an especially wonderful way of truly maintain their culture and not allowing Western influences to take over. They are deeply rooted in their traditions, and it’s just so beautiful to see.
Top spots to visit in Bali?
A: I love spending time in Seminyak because of the city life and community of artists. The dining and shopping is fantastic. I also love escaping to Ubud, where I often do week-long cleanses that leave me feeling invigorated and refreshed; bringing life back to me.
Your idea of the perfect outfit?
A: Hmm, what am I wearing today?! I guess a great pair of jeans, comfy t-shirt and a bold statement piece of jewelry; always a must for me. Over the years, my style has become more easy and relaxed – not only being a mom who is super busy, but our bags are such statement pieces that it’s nice to be casual and effortless.
What other collections/lines currently in the market do you love?
A: Rag & Bone and Summer of 78. And I’m really into vintage pieces and what I find during my travels; more one-of-a-kind pieces. Also, Novella Royale does an amazing job of updating vintage apparel.
What advice would you give someone who is starting their own line/business?
A: Trust your gut and do what you are passionate about. As long as you adore what you’re doing, it’s really not work.favorites : Stores in LA, NY and Bali >> LA – Planet Blue. So many great boutiques in Soho NY, especially Matta and Calypso. Bali would be Johnny Ramli – I love everything he does. Skincare >> Coconut oil is a must for me! I also use it as an eye makeup remover. Hotel>> In New York and Palm Springs, The Ace. Our favorite place to stay in Bali is Desa Seni. Sunscreen>>Well, after reading the post you did on Bikini Bird, I am loving DeVita! Swimline>> LSpace and Acacia Photos by Joie lala Photographie visit site here interview by Katie Christensen-Singley for bikinibird