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).
“I 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 in 2012.
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 dot.
“It represents the holes in our lives that we fill with love, empowerment, motion, and adventure,” Becker says.