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Our Story

Leah Niswonger, Owner of Leah California


Creating the Leah brand has been a dream of mine for over 20 years - even as a child I had hoped to become a famous fashion designer in Paris. Growing up in San Diego, I always felt connected to the laid-back, ‘California casual’ lifestyle. Through my love of fashion and styling, I combined these influences with a sophisticated aesthetic reflective of my European travels. I discovered my passion for fashion styling, curation, and design throughout my career. I’ve worked as a buyer, in fashion show production, and traveled the world curating and designing women’s hats and accessories. 

A few years later, on a work trip to Mexico City, I was introduced to a woman who runs a small family business of artisans in the mountains of Sierra Madre. The artisans handcraft baskets, bags, and hats through a technique of intricate hand braiding passed down from generations before. Witnessing first hand the care that went into every item, we built a partnership in an ethical trade environment. Since then, the Leah brand has evolved from luxe caftans, to multiple collections of responsibly sourced, high quality palm straw fashion and home accessories. I personally curate and design each item to bring our customers a piece of California style to every wardrobe and living space. 

I would say all of my daydreaming has paid off, in part due to my sense of humor and passion for growing the Leah brand that’s carried me this far. Thank you for being part of this journey with me. It has been a dream come true to partner with and support global artisans, offer a sustainable product, and connect with small boutique owners and customers across the country. 


– Leah