Little Frankie sits at the front of the market stall, luring customers closer, but once they spy Leaarna Sale’s jewellery collection, they have a good reason to stay a while – admiring the intricate silver pieces twisted into all sorts of shapes and styles.
Leaarna Sale had been working in a retail management position for years, doing a job she really loved but got to a stage where she had no work/life balance and was burning out physically and mentally.
“It took courage but I quit my job and made some big life changes,” she says. “I wasn’t really sure at the time what I was going to do. I just knew I loved working with jewellery and felt that with what I’d learned in the industry I could design a range that would appeal to a broad range of Australian women.”
Three years ago, Leaarna launched Frankie Lea Jewellery, partly named after her beloved pooch, Frankie.
“Frankie was a puppy at the time which gave me the inspiration for the name and the logo,” she says. “It’s been so fun having her with me from the start, customers love her and really associate the jewellery with her.”
profile: Who was your earliest influence when it comes to fashion?
leaarna: Probably my big sister. I’ve never really been one to get caught up in celebrities or fashion icons, and as a kid I was a bit of a tomboy. It wasn’t until I was around 10 or 11 that I started noticing my “cool” older sister and wanting to dress like her.
profile: How would you describe your own fashion style?
leaarna: I like to weave together a classic and modern look, I tend to start with something simple as a base for an outfit then accessorise and layer from there. I think fashion is important but believe wearing what suits your shape and your personality is a good base for style.
profile: Where does your inspiration come from when designing?
leaarna: I’m mostly inspired by the people in my life. I look to my customers, friends and local culture. I’m more drawn to what’s going on locally rather than looking too far afield for inspiration.
profile: Why did you choose to have your jewellery made from sterling silver?
leaarna: Using sterling silver means I can offer my customer a product that is affordable yet of exceptional quality. I think there is something beautiful and natural about wearing something that is sustainable and not a throwaway product.
profile: What is your favourite season to design for and why?
leaarna: Jewellery tends to be pretty versatile when it comes to seasonal change, I think sterling silver is especially beautiful in summer though, I love sun-kissed skin, a casual dress and layers of Frankie Lea Jewellery!
profile: What is the current fashion trend you’re loving?
leaarna: I love the geometric shapes that are trending at the moment, I’m seeing it everywhere from jewellery to print and homewares.
profile: What is the must-have fashion item we should all have?
leaarna: Earrings, it doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny stud or a statement ear jacket. Earrings are a must-have fashion accessory – I don’t leave the house without them.
profile: What do you always have in your handbag?
leaarna: Business cards, mobile phone, doo-doo bags for Frankie, eyeliner, zip pouch for jewellery and paw paw ointment.