Stacie Tamaki's future career began by accident in 1996,
when a friend volunteered Tamaki to make bridal veils for a boutique.
What followed was a yearlong effort to turn her hobby into a full-time
In 2001 she opened a store in downtown Campbell. Now, when the weather
is nice, a purple mannequin greets customers in front of her store, with
crystal necklaces and handmade tiaras sparkling behind glass doors, and
it all says, "Welcome to Leiko."
whole business started because I was open to the opportunity," Tamaki
said. "I have no business skills to speak of." And what began as a bridal
accessory business has now blossomed into a place that offers a little
bit of everything. But what makes Leiko a success is the fact that Tamaki
can custom-make all of her accessories.
Innecken, whose wedding was on Nov. 23, requested matching jewelry designs
for her bridesmaids, her mother and herself. Innecken was shopping for
a tiara when she discovered Leiko. "I was searching and searching, and
everything started looking the same," Innecken said. "When I saw this
tiara for $500, I thought, 'If I spend this much, I want something just
for me.' " Innecken didn't buy a tiara but instead opted for hairpins
that matched her wedding gown.
customer, Brandi Mincey, who was married in July 2002, requested a custom-made
veil and hairpiece. "She did a wonderful job," Mincey said. "It was a
little expensive, but I'm willing to pay for design work specific to me."
custom work attracts many clients, it presents its own problems, as some
brides will want to do a lot, Tamaki said. "I tell brides there's a fine
line between looking elegant and looking costume," said Tamaki. "I talk
them out of things."
many brides come to Leiko, the store also serves shoppers looking for
everyday accessories, with items such as crystal rings for about $35 and
chokers for $40. The list doesn't end there.
also does gown enhancements and origami cranes. Tamaki also features CDs
by two vocalists and sells products by 10 designers who make things such
as jewelry, purses, candles and greeting cards.
Jordan, who started making jewelry but is now focusing on purses, found
Tamaki while wandering through downtown Campbell. After several visits,
Tamaki learned that Jordan is a designer.
with a regular clientele, and having celebrated her one-year anniversary
on Oct. 31, Tamaki is still hesitant about calling her business a success.
"It's really been one baby step at a time," Tamaki said. "There are difficult,
tight months." Tamaki, who signed her lease in September 2001, recalls
the lack of business during those early months. Part of the reason was
other part of the reason was the name of her store - Happily Ever After.
Tamaki said people would walk by, look at the sign, think of a bridal
store and walk away. So the day she changed the name to something ambiguous,
she began to have more customers.
for Tamaki, who has been an artist all her life, her work is not about
making money. "I like to feel that people come here and can sit back,
breathe a little, and be creative in their own life," Tamaki said. "That's
much more rewarding to me." And what does Leiko mean? Tamaki laughed.
"It's my middle name."