Within months of launching their jewelry-making business, Baltimore
born-and-raised sisters Jill Becker, left, and Jenny Benscher, right,
have already expanded it across the country.
Lema J Design is a
line of bracelets (mostly cuffs)—sold locally in stores like Treasure
House Accessories, Alice Jane, and Ruth Shaw, and stores in California,
New York, and Florida—made from shagreen leather (aka stingray skin).
love the texture, pattern, and inherent beauty,” says Benscher, who
handcrafts the jewelry in her Orlando, FL, home studio, of the unique
material. Lema J Design is unique in its story, too. Becker (who splits
time between Baltimore and Florida) lost her daughter, Cara, to leukemia
Shortly after, Benscher made her sister an orange cuff
emblazoned with a protective eye. “I wanted her to know and feel that I
was always with her,” Benscher says.
After many people
complimented Becker’s one-of-a-kind bracelet, the two partnered as
vendors at a fundraiser. Their stock sold out in three hours, prompting
them to start a business.
Since then, the collection has grown to
offer various styles priced from $88 to $660, with a portion of all
proceeds benefitting the Karma for Cara Foundation, founded by Cara
shortly before her death. Each bracelet is marked with a signature red
“It represents the holes in our lives that we fill with love, empowerment, motion, and adventure,” Becker says.