A shared love for fashion is what got sisters Jenny Benscher and Jill Becker of LEMA J Design through the toughest times of their lives.
In the years 2012 and 2013, Benscher and Becker went through a rough phase. Becker lost her daughter, Cara Becker, to leukemia in December 2012 while Benscher’s marriage was on the rocks (which eventually led to divorce).
“I was really down in the dumps,” says Becker. “When Cara died, Jenny gave me a cuff with an illustration of a protective eye. She said, ‘This is like me giving you a hug and to have something to protect and watch you as well.'”
Little did they know that it would signal the fresh start they were looking for.
Newly single, Benscher, who was a jewelry maker, wanted to have creative part-time work. After some discussion, the sisters decided to start their own accessories line, LEMA J Design, which they launched in November 2013.
“I just love that a cuff is just one solid piece,” says Benscher, on why they decided to focus on cuffs mostly. “It’s strong. It’s bold. I love that it hugs the wrist.”
For their cuffs, the sisters mostly use luxurious exotic skins, like shagreen (stingray), python and ostrich. Each cuff is handcrafted in Florida. Their products are currently sold online and through a few retail stores across the nation.
What the sisters are most proud of though is their brand’s charitable endeavor. As they say, 100% of the profits they earn go to the Karma for Cara Foundation, an organization started by Cara Becker herself when she was still alive. Karma for Cara mostly focuses on volunteerism, youth empowerment and helping cancer patients.
“We’ve had an unbelievably fabulous two-and-a-half years,” says Becker. “I think our products speak for themselves, as they look warm and inviting and they can liven up someone’s outfit. I think though that the cause behind the brand is the real reason why we’ve become popular among our clients.”
Retail: $335 to $535
–Eugene Y. Santos