The story:
While Leora Goldman was dating Marla Tapper’s brother, it became clear that the two women were destined to be good friends, not even realizing that they would eventually become sisters-in-law!
“We would hang out whenever we could, but the real bonding between us happened on the trips we took together,” Leora recalls. While traveling, the pair would shop the local scene – anywhere from the fanciest stores to street vendors -- and come away with great finds. “Leora is always so amazing at putting looks together,” says Marla.
It didn’t take long for the pair to realize that Leora’s degrees in graphic design, art history and graduate gemology, paired with Marla’s MBA and consulting background, were the perfect recipe for a new business concept.
“Leora and I had been working together at Tapper’s [the Michigan-based jewelry store chain that Marla’s father founded, and where Leora’s fiancé, Mark, had recently been named President], so we already knew that we worked well together,” says Marla. “And once we started brainstorming, the ideas for Marlee’s were flowing and we knew this was more than a vision – it was something we could build together.”
Now Marla and Leora are family (the wedding was beautiful...) and while they share a last name, their new company now has them sharing a first name as well, with Marlee’s being a combination of ‘Marla’ and ‘Leora.’ Since the duo has always loved to travel together, going on business buying trips for Marlee’s is “practically a dream come true,” muses Leora. “How many sisters-in-law get to travel and shop together and call it work?”

The company
Marlee’s takes the concept of style and styling to a different level with an innovative shopping experience created by women, for women. It’s a space where sisters, mothers and daughters or best friends will love to come to shop and browse. Stylists and “look books” are available to show clients how to wear something new and integrate it with what they already own.
Marlee’s offers a wonderful selection of jewelry, handbags, hats, scarves, wraps, belts and other accessories while providing an excellent customer service experience to clients. Close attention is paid to the quality of the merchandise that is sold at Marlee’s. Whether Marla and Leora are looking at jewelry, handbags, sunglasses, belts or scarves, they inspect every aspect of how the item is made to ensure only the finest quality and craftsmanship.
Every item found at Marlee’s is one that Marla or Leora would want to own personally.

As a busy working mom with a one year old (Ari), I have to make sure that I have everything I need when I leave the house for the day. I wanted to share with you a few of my everyday essentials that you will always find in my bag.

1) First and foremost, I have to have a BIG bag! I go between work and family functions and I don’t always have the opportunity to go home. I need something that can hold it all! I’m currently loving this new black leather handbag from Monserat Delucca. It functions as both a cross-body and over the shoulder bag. It also has a large zipper pouch that snaps out. I love this feature because if I’m switching bags I can pop out the pouch and toss it into any other bag and go. (Monserat Delucca black leather handbag, $328)

2) Being on my feet all day, I have to have a comfortable pair of flats on hand to change into. Not only are these flats so comfortable, they’re fashionable as well!

3) I always keep a scarf on hand. Being pregnant with my second child, I go between hot and cold quite often. I find that a scarf adds just the right amount of function and style to any outfit. (Matta scarf, $100)

4) All moms know that having a snack on hand at all times is quite the savior! Ari’s favorite just happens to be Goldfish and these snack size pouches are just the right fit. I always toss in a book for good measure, as well.

5) On the days that I know that I’m going straight from the store to an afterwork function, I always pack an extra change of jewelry. This cute little jewelry pouch from Radish is small and compact and it keeps things from getting all tangled inside my bag. (jewelry pouch, $15)

6) For the same reason above, I always bring my makeup essentials in a small cosmetic bag. I never leave home without my lipgloss, eyeliner, lipgloss, bronzer, lipgloss, and mascara. Did I mention lipgloss? Lipgloss is quite a small obsession of mine and although I always have at least 3 options on hand, my favorite has to be Lancôme’s Juicy Tubes in “Hallucination”. (MZ Wallace cosmetic case, $65)

7) I’m a really big fan of Lollia’s shea butter hand cream in “Classic Petal”.  I prefer this product over others because it acts as a fragrance as well as providing the right amount of moisture. (Lollia 4.25 oz hand cream, $24)

8 ) Since I talk to A LOT of people everyday, Altoids are a must! Just keepin’ it fresh, ladies

9) One word: iPhone. My favorite thing about my phone has to be the picture taking/sharing applications. Instagram is definitely my #1 favorite app. It’s a great way to share photos with friends and family. You can follow me at mjtapper or Marlee’s at marleesbytappers

10) I’m a self proclaimed “list maker” and having a journal on hand is necessary. Yes, I could create a list in my phone, but I just prefer the act of putting a pen to paper. (Fabric notebook, $12. Swarovski crystal pen, $68).