Welcome toSecond Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who’ve made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear, each episode gives you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you get your podcasts to stay tuned.
When hearing the name Lele Sadoughi, you can’t help but immediately think of the iconic knotted and bejeweled headbands that practically went viral a few years ago. The design revelation came when Sadoughi herself, the founder and designer behind the brand, became a mother and found herself opting for her daughter’s headbands out of convenience, which led her to realize the gap in the luxury headband market for women. Initially launched as an assortment of jewelry, today, her namesake brand has become quite the headband phenomenon, garnering the attention of esteemed women like Kate Middleton, Lady Gaga, Nicole Kidman, Mindy Kaling, and Naomi Campbell, who all share the same love for pearled and polished hair accessories. Sadoughi’s one-of-a-kind designs are also stocked in over 150 global retailers and two brick-and-mortar locations, with a third set to open in Manhattan later this year.
Since the headbands’ debut in 2018, Sadoughi has evolved the brand beyond into a wide range of accessory categories such as eyewear, handbags, belts, hosiery, and winter weather–approved pieces like wool hats and scarves and exclusive collections such as bridal and mommy-and-me. And during the pandemic, Sadoughi—like many fashion founders—knew she had to make an intentional pivot into designing face masks as a part of her collection. Similar to how the headbands served as personal style statements, the face masks became a way for her consumers to express their style, finding a small silver lining in a dark time. Impressively, Sadoughi sold over 500,000 face masks.
Prior to launching the beloved bejeweled accessory brand, Sadoughi spent nearly a decade in the fashion industry designing for brands such as Rebecca Taylor, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, and J.Crew; in fact, in 2006, she launched the first-ever jewelry collection for J.Crew, working alongside Jenna Lyons designing signature pieces that are still sold today like that bubble necklace. Then, in 2012, she was working as the jewelry design director at Tory Burch before she took the leap to commit to the Lele Sadoughi brand fully and enter the world of entrepreneurship.
Listen to the latest episode of Second Life to hear how Sadoughi’s past life in jewelry design led her to create one of the most beloved contemporary headband-and-accessory brands. And keep scrolling to shop some of the brand’s best sellers and latest collections.