Hand Embroiderer Extraordinaire, Leslie

Hand Embroiderer Extraordinaire, Leslie

One of our team members, Leslie Benigni, is a truly talented embroidery artist. She recently created a custom hand chainstitch heart tee for us. Read on to learn more about leslie's brand, Les Is More 894.

Tell Us About Your Brand

Les Is More 894 has always been about sustainability to some degree, reusing what’s already there, even the name of my brand. The name comes from my own nickname ‘Les’, as in Leslie Benigni; I’m an embroidery and textile artist who also happens to be a Dream Team member at love, and love, Pittsburgh! Growing up without a lot, I’ve learned the importance of not being wasteful and reusing materials whenever and however I can while maintaining a sense of whimsy, and this has transferred into my art practice. Everything that I create, from wall art to apparel to iron-on patches, are all made with 100% recycled or thrifted materials, from the fabric to the floss. 

What Is Your Inspiration?

For a good chunk of my childhood, my grandmother raised me so I was accustomed to being around vintage decor, books, and general imagery. My gram is an inspiration for a lot of what I do in life and my embroidery. She introduced me to the artistry of it, letting me crudely embroider on dish rags instead of her linens, which was smart! Along with her “watching over” my work, I love lithographs and botanical plates; flora and fauna is my jam. I look to the past, nature, history, other cultural techniques and traditions, all creating a collage of what makes up me.

How Do You Show Love to Yourself?

I have quite a few ways! These days, I’ve been working on looking out for my future self by making conscious decisions, especially when it comes to finances. It’s very expensive to live these days, so getting creative and curbing impulses betters future me, and well, current me. When I splurge on anything, it’s typically good food, which feeds me figuratively and literally. I also actively practice being a friend to myself, externalizing myself in a way that I can enjoy my own company and be able to sit with my thoughts.

How Did You Get Here?

Though I didn’t have a lot, I’ve always been ambitious in everything I’ve done, especially creatively. While I didn’t come from a lot and couldn’t afford a lot growing up, to me, that didn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate and be into fashion and art. My grandma taught me how to sew and embroider and since then, I’ve always tried to make my own clothes, or revamp what I already have. I initially started out upcycling jewelry from scrap parts and wanted to make my own little business because I wasn’t finding anything in stores I wanted anyways. To name my business, the phrase ‘less is more’ shifted with my nickname, coming from my mother’s friend as an idea. People now think I’m just misspelling ‘less’ but when I explain, there’s the ‘oooooh’ in understanding. When I first tried to register on Etsy at the age of 12, Les Is More was already taken so I tagged on my favorite numbers to the end. From jewelry, I went to selling vintage clothing. From there, I learned about how extreme textile waste is one of the leading pollutants in the world, so I began mending and adorning my own clothes with the embroidery I learned as a kid. And it was then, I found more artistic satisfaction in embroidery and mending than I had with anything else, so the newest iteration of Les Is More 894 goes back to my beginning.

Now I do custom work, a lot of ready-made products, and some wholesaling, including the Chainstitch tees at love, !

Where can we learn more about you?

My Etsy: lesismore894.etsy.com

my Instagram: instagram.com/lesismore894





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