Artwork for podcast Be Well by Kelly Leveque
228. Living in Gratitude & Creating Sustainable Fashion with Cleobella Founder, Angela O’Brien #FabulousFriends
Episode 22820th January 2023 • Be Well by Kelly Leveque • Kelly Leveque
00:00:00 01:17:37

Share Episode


Angela O'Brien is the founder and designer behind Cleobella, a California-based, sustainable, and ethically made fashion and accessory brand that works with artisans and small factories around the world to produce some truly amazing, authentic goods. 

As her brand grew, the bags became beloved staples for celebrities like Halle Berry, Vanessa Hutchins, and Kate Hudson. With a global team of talented collaborators, Cleobella now produces amazing textiles and dresses, and the brand is even expanding into swimwear this year!

She is someone I look up to personally, as a female entrepreneur, and as someone who, in a very saturated market, decided she could break in to create something new and beautiful to share with the world.

From California to Bali, India to Hawaii – Angela has a fascinating life story going from a model to world traveling entrepreneur, and now as a mother of two young kids. It's a pleasure to welcome my friend, Angela O'Brien, to the show.

We also cover…

00:02:15 — Catching Up With Angela O'Brien

  • Taking a trip around the world as a young newlywed 
  • Falling in love with Bali and India
  • From traveling to launching a growing business
  • Building resilience to rejection as a young model
  • Bootstrapping from LA Farmer’s Markets
  • Evolving from hand bags into clothing and retail 

00:26:26 — What Goes Into a Sustainable Fashion Line?

  • Working with local artisans to create GOTS certified clothing
  • Strategy behind having limited availability of organic materials
  • Using cut-to-order fabrics to limit waste and create demand
  • Ancient process of block printing (NY Times)
  • How the brand embodies “perfectly imperfect”
  • Celebrating 1,000 employees in India 
  • Angela’s gratitude for her global team

00:39:10 — The Entrepreneur's Journey 

  • Diagnosed with Epstein–Barr at 16
  • Challenge, loss – and keeping up hope
  • Diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 30
  • Leaning on her support system 

00:45:50 — How to Prioritize a Work-Life Balance 

  • Cold plunges, sauna, and making movement fun 
  • Kundalini and breathwork
  • Sleep is medicine 
  • Saying ‘no’ and keeping boundaries 
  • Juggling it all as a mom
  • Slowing down and checking in with yourself 

01:01:18 — The Future of Cleobella

  • Nurturing the femininity and global inspiration of Cleobella
  • Swimwear launching in 2023
  • Growing in the resort space
  • Spending more time doing less 
  • The power of connecting with female entrepreneurs 
Connect with Kelly:

Be Well By Kelly is produced by Crate Media.

Mentioned in this episode:

Vuori | Get 20% off your first order of Vuori AND free shipping on orders over $75 at

BWBK Protein Powder | Get $10 off your order with PODCAST10 at

Athletic Greens

AG1 | Get 1 FREE year of Vitamin D immune support along with 5 FREE travel packs with your first purchase at