Meet the Creative Mind

Behind a Global Luxury Jewelry Brand

“Diamonds are a girls’ best friend.” That sentiment has always evoked emotions and excitement. 
There is a unique feeling that you feel inside of you when you get a beautiful piece of jewelry. 
Jewelry is very personal for many people; whether it is who the item is gifted from, the occasion 
of the gift, or the designer of the jewelry. Jewelry becomes a part of a collection of which many 
become part of family heirlooms to be passed along to family generations. 

Coastal Drive Magazine talks with Lepa Galeb-Roskopp, Founder and Designer of Luxury Jewelry Brand, Misahara, about her journey creating her brand and her passion to be different. 

Lepa Galeb-Roskopp |Founder and Designer | Misahara | Jewelry Company

CDM: Your jewelry designs are so elegant and unique! When did you start designing jewelry? 

LGR: Misahara was born out of an unusual circumstance, but I love to tell this story because I believe it speaks to my essence as a designer and really wanting to be different from everyone else. My husband, Rob, would gift me jewelry over the years, and while I loved the gifts, I felt they weren’t personal enough and quite frankly they were styles that I saw everyone else wearing. So, I decided to visit a local goldsmith and began re-imagining the jewels. I found a passion for jewelry design during this process and with the support of my family and friends decided to start my own brand. Misahara began in 2014 and it has been a long, wild journey since inception. 

CDM: Did you always have a passion for artistic design? 

LGR: I think artistic design evolves as you go through different stages of your life, and it comes in waves of passion based on what you’re experiencing.  I was very fortunate that I had an aunt that was in the diplomatic corps, and she was stationed around the world, so I was able to visit her often. The most memorable time I had was visiting her in Paris and it really sparked my love of fashion, art and design at a young age.  I spent a lot of time in Paris for four years on and off every summer and I think that my artist mindset really formed and I have loved design ever since. 

CDM: One thing that makes Misahara so special is its unique and creative designs. What inspires you when you are creating each collection?  

LGR: I am honestly inspired by life in general and although it may seem like a cliché, Mother Nature is truly what sparks most of my design inspiration. Nature tells a story to me, and the beauty of our minds is that we interpret what we see differently. When I experience nature it evokes and inspires jewelry designs, whether it be using colored gemstones to depict a sunset or etches in the gold to embody a sunrise. It is so important to me that whatever I create is not based on what everyone else is doing, I design based on my authentic experience in nature or whatever circumstances evoked the design or collection. 

CDM: Many artists and designers tell a story through their creations. What story are you sharing with the world through Misahara jewelry designs? 

LGR: I like to believe I have a unique and special view of the world just based on my circumstances. 

Although I was born in California, I live and am inspired all over the globe (literally) with homes in California, New York, South Africa, and Montenegro. When I’m in California and designing I find myself using vibrant colors and easy effortless silhouettes that evoke the ‘Cali’ lifestyle. When I’m designing in New York, the fast-paced city induces structured and architectural designs. Our Chain City Collection, a customer favorite was inspired by the concrete jungle. Africa is an exhilarating design location, and our Serengeti Collection came to life from the never-ending stars in the sky to the rawness of the land that is depicted in the raw diamond beads. Montenegro is a landscape of colors and mountains that touch the sea, and our Adriatic Collection was born in that region. My creations are really inspired by my experiences living in different areas and traveling the world. While my journey inspires the designs that we create and that are available to customers; it is the person that wears them and loves them which becomes their story and that is most important and what we love. I have a story for all the collections and what inspired them to come to life, but it is what happens after a customer receives them that matters most. I hope that Misahara jewelry will be heirlooms for generations, that women will wear their jewels on special and meaningful occasions and remember it fondly. Those are the stories that are being told with my jewelry designs, the story of the wearer. 

Lepa Galeb-Roskopp |Founder and Designer | Misahara | Jewelry Company

CDM: You travel to many places around the world which is such an amazing opportunity to see so many different cultures. Is there one place in particular that inspires you more than others? 

LGR: Now this is a great question because yes, I travel the world and I love to experience different places and cultures. I love to see how people dress and behave in their truest surrounding environment.  If I had to pick a place that really inspires more than anywhere else, it would have to be Africa. The vast terrain, the animals, the uniqueness of the ecosystem. I’m awestruck by the fact that there’s a rainforest and dry desert and then plains like the Savannahs and Serengeti. Especially as I get older, I find myself in love with regions like this that are all encompassing of Mother Nature at her finest. 

CDM: Now that we know your inspirations behind some of your collections, do you have any specific collections that are particularly meaningful to you and why? 

LGR: Really every single collection that I have designed is special and meaningful to me. What I love is that I can reflect back on a collection and remember the trip, the summer or circumstance that inspired it so they are all attached to a really great memory for me. I also believe our jewels are timeless and that means they will never go out of style and can be enjoyed forever. Most of our pieces you can dress up or down. You can wear it to a gala, you can wear it to a luncheon, and you can wear it to work.  If I had to pick one collection that I wear nonstop, it would be Chain City and our Diamond Charms right now, but that is for the moment. Then it may switch to something else, but I always go back to wear pieces from previous or existing collections because obsessed with them, and will be forever. 

CDM: Are there any new collections coming out that you can share? 

LGR: 2024 is going to be exciting because I am designing a capsule collection from all our existing silhouettes and design motifs. There will be everyday pieces and more diamond encrusted pieces. I’ve got Rose de France gemstones on my mind right now and really am in love with the color and essence of them. There will be gemstones mixed with diamonds and I’m bringing in beads because I love working with beads. It’s going to be upscale boho chic sexy designs. 

CDM: You have established a brand partnership with the iconic Italian luxury sports car manufacturer, Ferrari. Do you have a personal passion for sports cars? 

LGR: I’ve always had a passion for the highest quality craftsmanship in anything, whether it be haute couture jewelry or in the car industry.  The ethos between Ferrari and Misahara remains clear and consistent and our values as luxury brands are aligned. Of course, Ferrari is a brand that everyone recognizes and has been around for 78 years however and I believe their longevity as one of the world’s greatest luxury brands is in part because of their mission to always be the best. I look at Ferrari with an aspirational mindset because they are an example of where I want to be as Misahara continues to grow. As far as driving their cars, I mean let’s face the facts, once you’ve driven a Ferrari it is hard to even imagine driving another car.  The roar of the engine is like music to your ears. I’ve had quite a few Ferrari’s through the years but it’s hard to open a Ferrari on the streets. I wish I had more time on the racetrack with them. I will always have an affinity for Ferrari and their overall presence as a brand in our society.

Misahara | Jewelry Company

CDM: Now that we have heard about the cultural inspirations in your life, do you have any inspirational quotes or mottos that you live by? 

LGR: I honestly live by one motto, and I really do believe that you have to follow your journey. I’m deeply in love with Mother Nature and I talk about it so much I think my kids think I’m obsessed. Einstein did say “look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” And I believe Einstein was correct. 

CDM: With your love and deep connection with nature, what is the company’s sustainability strategy? 

LGR: I love this planet and want to help preserve what has predominantly inspired my designs. We make every effort to remain sustainable by using recycled gold, repurposing stones, and reimagining designs on a regular basis. All of our gemstones are sourced from ethical mines where the workers are treated fairly, and the communities are supported. A great example of this is our partner Gemfields, a UK based emerald and ruby mine. They make tremendous efforts to give back to the local areas in Africa where the incredible gems are sourced. I will continue to create beautiful jewelry in a way that in consciously protecting our environment, and honestly I do this in every aspect of my life with other businesses and personally. 

CDM: Are there any nonprofit organizations or foundations that you are involved in or have a passion for? 

LGR: Over the years Misahara and myself personally have been involved with various incredible nonprofits and we continue to support them to this day. Currently my primary focus in the nonprofit space is with the Breakers FC, a soccer academy that I own with my husband and other partners in California. The company is a 501c3, and our mission is to help children from socioeconomically underprivileged backgrounds play soccer and provide opportunities to them for a better future.  We are building out a stadium with state-of-the-art facilities to support the academy as well as developing a professional soccer team in the Monterey Bay area. In this community there is a large group of youth that have been left behind because of the segregation in the Hispanic community of all our farm workers. These families are amazing and have struggled in the very expensive state of California. Aside from regular schooling it is an additional challenge to give their children access to play soccer at the highest level. Our foundation is providing this opportunity to these deserving families and their talented youth with a passion for the sport. The Breakers FC is creating a player pathway for them whether it be furthering their education or playing professionally.  In addition, we have a partnership with Albright College in Pennsylvania that will be giving them free online college education. If you look at my history of philanthropy, you’ll see a common theme of helping children, I really aim to give back to children in need. The Breakers FC is another channel of giving back to underprivileged youth, but I am doing it in a bigger and better way by building it myself, with the help of some amazing partners. 

CDM: You have accomplished so much with your company and all that you are doing to help give youth a brighter future. Congratulations on such amazing accomplishments! Starting a business is not an easy task. Can you share any details about starting Misahara as a woman owned business and any challenges you may have faced in your journey and how you overcame those challenges? 

LGR: I could say that owning your own business is a forever challenge.  Does it ever get easier? Some aspects make it easier, but you always have challenges and you always have disappointments. I think for me as I’ve evolved and going on this this journey with Misahara, I’ve learned that it’s imperative to understand your market and what makes up your core customer. The challenges never stop coming because being in a luxury space means that our business is determined by the economic climate, and it changes, as we all know. Pivoting and evolving is key. Some of the most challenging times have been when 46 of my jewels were confiscated in Moscow from customs and we’ve struggled to get them back. We found out that they illegally took the jewels, and it was an inside job. I’ve also been burglarized at my home in California as well and it’s traumatic when everything gets stolen, but I guess the one thing that I always use was Carlo Ponte’s quote to Sophia Loren when she got her jewels taken and he said to her “do not cry over something that cannot cry over you” so it’s been a life lesson.

Lepa Galeb-Roskopp |Founder and Designer | Misahara | Jewelry Company

CDM: You started your company through a personal passion and dream. What advice can you offer other women looking to pursue their dreams?

LGR: The first piece of advice is that no matter what you do, no matter how you look at life and how you think there’s a big learning curve. I do believe that you crawl before you walk and if you haven’t crawled, you’re not going to be able to walk. The thing I would say is take your time to understand and it’s great you think it may be your passion but once it becomes more business oriented you lose your passion.   Kind of like a marriage or a relationship you’re so excited in the beginning; it’s there and it’s everything, your stomach turns you get so excited and then it gets more normal and then as it as life really evolves, you’re like ok, I really got to work at this.  For me Misahara is so beautiful, but there’s so much work behind the scenes that sometimes I’m just so tired, so for me to tell someone is it as great as it is fun all the time no. It is such hard work, but your passion will get you through all that hard work.

CDM: You are a truly admirable women! I am personally obsessed with your designs and I know that our readers will be obsessed too! Where can all of your fabulous Misahara collections be purchased? 

LGR: You can purchase Misahara online through our website at misahara.com, via phone or through a personalized, modern virtual shopping experience. We also have wonderful wholesale partners around the country, Atelier d’ Emotion in NYC and the Four Seasons in Maui are two current locations where we are now. We have a trunk show model where we have pop up showcases for a few months at a time throughout the year in different stores around the USA. In December, we were at the iconic Bergdorf Goodman in NYC and next month who knows where we will be. It’s a unique model because we get to be in front of new customers all throughout the year. Finally, if you are part of the Ferrari community you can shop our jewels at a variety of their events throughout the year. About once a month we are either at a Ferrari Challenge race or a dealership party selling our jewels to the incredible Ferrari community.

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