Elizabeth Smith is the founder of Lesetta, sourcing unique curated travel essentials for consumers not looking for trending products worn by the masses.
Though the pandemic slowed down her startup slightly, it didn’t stop her from persevering in making Lesetta a global brand.
Elizabeth Smith / Lesetta Interview
We love the name of your brand. How did you come up with the name Lesetta?
Lesetta is a derivative of my name in Italian – Elisabetta. When I started Lesetta, it was naturally born on one of our trips to Italy, where we had lived years before. However, I did not want to lock the company into seeming like it was a brand that only offered Italian goods, as I knew I wanted to seek out designers from all over the world. Therefore, we felt this was a more generally international name.
Describe your brand in 3 words.
You curated some beautiful items for your Travel Essentials. Impressive. What’s your process in selecting your products for your clients?
I have always searched for designers that offer well-made, stylish pieces of the highest quality. It is easy to find independent designers in Europe with access to the best schools and the finest raw materials. This exists in many other countries as well.
I search for brands that create wearable yet unique pieces that are influenced by where they live and fashion-forward. Honestly, I try not to dress like everyone else and believe that true style expresses one’s own taste, and I wanted to offer that to my clients.
How do you know which products will resonate with them?
Like many other retail brands, I gauge the success of what my clients want by offering different pieces from new designers each season and rely on their feedback and sales to make sure I am continuing down the right path. It has to be evaluated and tweaked constantly.
There are certainly best-sellers like any pieces by Úna Burke and Lovat & Green scarves. But I think people seek out Lesetta for access to things that aren’t mainstream and therefore are excited to see new designers and collections introduced by the brand.
What are some of your challenges as a business owner?
I launched Lesetta in October of 2018. Therefore, it was not even a year and a half old when Covid hit. That indeed postponed my growth plans, as it did for every startup, I’m sure. However, my biggest challenge as an online brand is finding the audience that wants to shop this way.
Tell us about where you grew up as a child.
I grew up in the upstate of South Carolina in Spartanburg – not exactly a fashion metropolis, but a lovely mid-sized hometown. The community is close, and the loyalty to the city lives on. Even though I live in Charleston now, Spartanburg, or “The Sparkle” as we call it, is still fondly in my heart.
Did your upbringing inspire your business mindset?
No. Although my father owned his own business, it was not an interest to me at all. It wasn’t until I reached my thirties that I realized I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. It took me a while before I did that, but Lesetta is my plunge into that world.
Your personal style is beautiful and chic. Is Lesetta a personal letter to self?
Thank you! I think, in many ways, it is. I have lived abroad, and our family spends most of the Summer in Europe every year, and that is always when I would shop. I was constantly looking for unique pieces that I would not see on everyone else when I traveled, even before Lesetta.
I was shopping for Slow Fashion before Slow fashion was a thing. The very nature of small production, high-quality; fewer but better, has always been my goal.
What are your Top 3 places/countries you love traveling to during your travels outside of work?
That’s a little tough because I am constantly sourcing for Lesetta when I travel; however, my favorites currently are Puglia, Italy; Oaxaca, Mexico; and Montreal, Canada.
What does family mean to you?
Everything. My husband and two children, and I are very close. We started showing our kids the world when they were young in hopes of opening their minds to places beyond the tiny bubble they live in.
My kids are growing, and we only have a few more years with them at home, so now more than ever, I savor our travels together. My husband is a dedicated career teacher. We use his Summers off to be together and build memories with each other. I know how fortunate I am to get this much time with them.