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Lia Sophia’s Elena Kiam Is Inspired by Daughters

02/04/2011 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy Lia Sophia

For Lia Sophia‘s Elena Kiam, days are part jewelry design, part mommy duty.

Sitting at the helm of the company — the largest direct-seller of fashion jewelry in the world — she oversees more than 30,000 women who sell the line’s wares to stylish clientele.

But at home, it’s all about Sophia, 14, and Lia, 11, who give mom their fashionable input on a daily basis.

“They’re different in terms of their own style,” Kiam tells PEOPLE Moms & Babies.

“Sophia is more classic and elegant, while Lia is more whimsical. But I watch their reactions. I’m not devoted to what they say, but if both of them like a piece, I figure it’s a keeper since it resonates with two different audiences.”

And a broad appeal is important: Lia Sophia’s jewelry is sold strictly by representatives, who throw jewelry parties and can sell door-to-door.

“A lot of mothers who have worked before, or who’ve never worked, are selling,” Kiam shares, adding that the company’s top earner stands to make $4 million this year. “They need to get out of the house, be in the company of adults and get some gratification from doing something that’s not completely for their kids. It allows them to get dressed up and feel transformed.”

Kiam knows that balance well. “In between moments with my girls, and late at night when the day’s thoughts have settled in, I come up with marketing ideas, to-do lists and doodles, and write them down in my notebook,” she says.

Courtesy Lia Sophia
Courtesy Lia Sophia

Many of those ideas make their way from her notebook to the red carpet, where celeb moms including Rebecca Romijn, Kate Moss and Cheryl Hines have sported the company’s designs (other celebrity fans include Katy Perry, Sienna Miller and Oprah Winfrey).

At a much lower price point are Lia Sophia’s catalog pieces, a collection of 500 jewels made available twice a year, that take what’s happening in fashion and transform it into affordable looks with an average price point of $26.

“It’s important to appeal to a broad range of women,” Kiam says. “It’s nice to be able to say that you can wear the exact pair of chandelier earrings Sienna Miller wore, and you can afford them, because it’s fashion jewelry. That’s what it’s all about right now.”

Courtesy Lia Sophia

It’s also about expansion: originally formed as Lady Remington in the late 1970s, the company has majorly evolved over the years, recently expanding to Canada and soon, to Europe.

But that fast growth won’t mean Kiam has any less time for her little ladies.

“If you saw my house, you’d see that there are lots of prototypes around, and that I have a jewelry wall with my favorite pieces,” she shares. “We have a lot of fun trying those on together.”

Kate Hogan

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PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 9 comments

Brenda on

I absolutely LOVE Lia Sophia jewelry. I have at least 5 pair or earrings and several rings, necklaces and bracelets. Reasonably priced and very classy looking…..Thank you

Shannon on

I never even heard of Lia Sophia. Might have to check it out!

Dee Murphy on

I recently joined Lia Sophia as an advisor. What a wonderful company! The jewelry is stunning, and the opportunity is amazing. You set your own schedule, party with fabulous women, wear breath-taking jewelry at a hefty discount, and oh yeah…make money while you’re doing it.

I love it! If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact me.

Jessica on

I’m an advisor and I LOOOVE my job and the jewelry!

CelebBabyLover on

I guess we know where she came up with the name Lia Sophia for her jewelry line. :)

Jen on

Overpriced costume jewelry – at least the catolog and party stuff. Feels like plastic coated in metallic paint. I go to these parties as an obligation to friends but wish that more women would make and sell their own stuff or buy from local artisans. Support local to support women!

LaDonna Noack on

Jen, your words are magic to my ears. As a handcrafted artisan jewelry designer, mass marketed jewelry like this really affects my ability to sustain a business. Luckily I only design jewelry part time because of companies like this. I agree about the quality of these Lia Sophia pieces. It is even worse when you are participating in what is supposed to be a handcrafted art/craft show and a Lia Sophia booth pops up 2 booths down from you. I try to look at it this way, you get what you pay for. I don’t do shows anymore for that reason. I wish more people felt the same way you do.

Jilliane on

I’ve bought Lia Sophia jewelry in the past and it was junk. Overpriced tacky junk. It isn’t even sterling silver, the rings will turn your fingers green and stones fall out as if they were set with dollar store elmers glue. Buyer beware!!!!!

LQ on

Eh, charm bracelets are so elementary school.. Not loving the pieces, but then again, I’m highly selective in the jewelry that I wear. Also, what’s up with that hair? She truly knows how to give Snooki a run for her money! That being said, I do like the name of the jewelry line.

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