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If you’ve been listening to Making the Brand and following my content, you know about my unapologetic love of the Backstreet Boys…

Even though I was supposed to marry a Backstreet Boy, I had the honor of interviewing Howie Dorough’s wife Leigh and her business partner Charlotte Wienckoski about their new venture, ESLLA.

Charlotte Wienckoski and Leigh Dorough, founders of ESLLA

But here’s the backstory… In the fall of 2021, my paths crossed with Howie and Leigh when they visited my alma mater, the University of Central Florida.

Howie is from Orlando and was there to sing the national anthem before our rivalry football game… and he absolutely nailed it!

This was also the day I peaked — I got to dance with Howie on my school’s 50-year line… I will never be this cool again.

I got to chatting with Leigh and told me she was working on launching ESLLA. And it’s now come to life! I had to invite her on the show to tell us about it!

ESLLA stands for Ethically Sourced Luxury Leather Alternatives and offers gorgeous vegan handbags you can truly feel good about. In the episode, she and Charlotte reveal the surprising material they use to make these stunning bags.


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I’m so inspired by how Leigh and Charlotte are innovating and making a difference with ESLLA. They’re bridging the gap between luxury and sustainability, without sacrificing beauty or style. And we love to see female entrepreneurs making a difference!

“We wanted to make a difference and somehow leave the world a little bit better than we may have found it in our lifetime.”

– Leigh Dorough

Listen to this episode to hear them reveal the surprising material they use to make ESLLA products, as well as the story behind the brand and their incredible partnership.  And in true Making the Brand fashion, expect some fangirling, too!


In this episode, we discuss topics like:

  • Leigh and Charlotte’s careers before launching ESLLA
  • How they met and what inspired them to launch a vegan luxury handbag line
  • The importance of purpose and brand values when starting a company
  • How the bags are made with sustainable leather
  • Building a brand with a strong support system
  • Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

Links from the episode:

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Prefer to watch instead of listen? See my full interview with Leigh Dorough and Charlotte Wienckoski on my YouTube channel!

Check out more Making the Brand episodes here!