Our Story

Our Story Lela is a contemporary character-led design brand established in East London by designer Rayo Balogun in 2009. The idea was born when a proud father of a beautiful newborn baby girl went out looking for something special to buy for his little princess. He came across a few items of merchandise for young girls with animated characters on them, none of which represented his daughter. After making this discovery he went home to his wife and expressed his disappointment. So, using her creative flair they set out on a journey to develop a character that beautiful brown girls can relate to. The name Lela is of Swahili origin, meaning ‘black beauty.’ Our aim is for Lela to be an inspiration to children from all walks of life, encouraging them to feel good about themselves. 

Lela began her journey as a lovingly illustrated character on a little pink backpack with cute feminine floral details. We now make a host of products featuring our Lela character from backpacks to t-shirts and essential accessories.

At the heart of Lela’s design ethos is the celebration of diversity, playfulness and excellent quality! All of our products aim to achieve a healthy balance between stylish design and promoting a positive image for children of colour, helping children to feel good about themselves. We ensure that both the parents and children are happy, by developing products using high quality materials and that each item we produce is of practical usage. Made with the kind of care and attention that means they bring joy and inspiration that lasts a lifetime.

“LELA is embarking on a whole new chapter – and as we expand our unique offerings and add new characters, we want our customers to be as passionate about our products as we are, because the best part of the Lela story is you! and nothing brings us more delight than hearing from our customers about the stories, children’s reactions and the positive impact that your Lela products have provided as they continue their journey through the world with you.”

Rayo Balogun, Creative Director