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Mom of two (and Lia Sophia) designer, Elena Kiam, test runs jewelry on her little girls

By peoplestaff225
Updated February 04, 2011 02:00 PM
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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.

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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.”

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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