Born in Guyana, Sharmilla Persaud, with a little unwilling help from her mother, discovered her love of fashion at an early age. Finding the perfect artistic playground in her mother’s colorful saris and jewelry, a young Sharmilla went to work cutting and combining them into her own creations. At five, she moved with her family to New York, and now credits the streets of Manhattan for lending an urban edge to her aesthetic as a designer.
As a teenager she was known for pulling off savvy and daring outfits, and for stealing away to off-Broadway shows in her hometown of NYC. She pursued her love of fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology where she earned her degree in Design. After graduation, Max Azria hired her as a designer at BCBG where she excelled at creating fabric trends. Her wholehearted belief in the quality of certain fabrics often convinced even the most skeptical to invest in her vision, with great success.
MILLIANNA is the creation of Sharmilla and her best friend, Arianna Brooke (the name, “MILLIANNA” is a combination of their first names). Both lovers of history, design and fashion, accessories were a natural incarnation of their combined passions. The friends met while working at BCBG Max Azria in 1995 and joined their complimentary professional and creative strengths to create MILLIANNA. While Sharmilla drives design, Arianna, a former Marketing VP, oversees production side of the business which is based in Spokane, Washington.
Per millianna.com, each piece of jewelry is intricately handmade by skilled artisans in the U.S. and are the perfect adornments for those who prefer a sophisticated and worldly aesthetic, delivered in both design and color palette. Many of the artisans who work with MILLIANNA are immigrant women who arrived in Spokane with the World Relief Organization. MILLIANNA is proud to support this organization and these determined women.
“MILLIANNA is an American, female-owned company that makes products for women by women,” says Sharmilla, “We partner with so many talented and interesting people-it’s a lot of what makes our work so gratifying.”