Interview with Leslie Yang of feistyelle

We are so excited that one of our favorite local jewelers will be joining us in the studio this Saturday for SFMade day. Come early and snag some beautiful jewelry along with Hello!Lucky goods. We chatted with Leslie Yang, the force behind feistyelle, about sustainable design, how she got her start, and what she loves about style in San Francisco.

When did you start feistyelle and what's different about your designs and materials?

I started making women's accessories out of felted merino wool in 2005 but over time felt (no pun intended!) that it wasn't scalable as a business, meaning I was working too hard for too little. I took a year off, told myself to be open to new ideas and ways of making things. Near the end of that year, I discovered how to lasercut wool felt based on my own designs. The Dahlia design was one of my first designs and it's still our bestseller!  Feistyelle designs are different because we're deeply committed to using eco-friendly materials like vegan suede, wool felt, and bamboo ply throughout our jewelry, accessories, and home decor lines. No one else really is making and mixing sustainable materials specifically in jewelry and accessories quite the way we are. Our jewelry is above all else: playful! All of our pieces are colorful, fun, super light, AND you can stack, swap, and flip our earrings.

 How does creating in SF impact your final product and design? 

I make a very conscious decision to make as much of my product and packaging in San Francisco. It matters to me that I can meet the vendors I work with, see their employees' working conditions, as well as make sure that the money I put into our community stays in the community.

 Tell us about your new collection. 

We just launched our new collection: Glimmer & Cream. I'm ridiculously excited about every piece! Featured throughout the collection is the new material of our dreams: vegan suede. Our vegan suede is incredibly light, soft and, like leather and suede, thin but strong with a touch of stretch. Made from recycled polyester film and plastic bottles, this is our most eco chic material ever.  Our new Stacked Lotus earrings come in a selection of creamy pastels and coral, which we screened with gold water-based ink on one side making reversible earrings (6 earrings in 1). We also screened neon pink and yellow on light gray vegan suede for that neon pop to your color block (outfit). We also have some new long necklaces, perfect for wearing every day over tunics or shirts.

What do you love most about style in SF?

I love that everyone in SF celebrates holidays as an excuse to put on a costume. Along that same vein, there's a lot of love for color, individuality, play, and rule-breaking. We're not terribly snobby about our style and because of our microclimates, we're pretty cozy chic and clever with our layers. I'd say SF has been a good influence on feistyelle!

You can meet Leslie and snag some of her beautiful goods this Saturday, May 12th from 11am - 5pm. Visit us at 977 Howard Street between 5th & 6th.