Lisa’s Story

49 Square Miles – Inspiration Behind the Brand

From her earliest memories, Lisa Rissetto was surrounded by strong women who cherished great design: design that was ahead of its time, timeless in its beauty and form, functional in its fit, and ever intuitive and unexpected.

While growing up, at the center of her universe were her mother, her aunt and her grandmother. Fiercely independent, each others’ best friends, generous and very nurturing of their families, they taught her the importance of having an independent vision, a love for things that were both elegant and practical, an appreciation for quality that is enduring and objects that could become heirlooms, and of sharing and connecting with others.

Through them, she discovered the work of Bonnie Cashin, the first pioneer of American sportswear and the first Coach designer who was known for her independent approach in ready-to-wear fashion, using materials and hardware not before considered appropriate for a woman’s wardrobe, and designing clothes that women could move in. This– along with the love of fashion that her grandmother, mother and aunt shared– inspired Lisa’s professional career choice in fashion and accessories.

Her first job was working in the handbag business for a leading accessories merchant in an established, trend-setting retail chain headquartered in Manhattan.

Drawn to California by Esprit and held here by its openness and physical beauty, Lisa found herself further inspired by the innovative, independent spirit of San Francisco’s past and present. San Francisco is a place known for challenging the status quo, embracing diversity, combining things not traditionally combined, and looking to the future, not the past, as a way to grow. Very reminiscent of her mother, aunt and grandmother.

As she developed her own eye and capabilities, Lisa saw an opportunity to build an accessory brand built on the early principles this powerful threesome taught her:

  • The value of having passion and putting your all into it
  • The value of thinking independently and developing a personal point of view
  • Design that is modern and respects heritage
  • Design that is simple with unexpected details that make it innovative and special
  • Design that, at its core, is functional. It has to work
  • Design that is joyful and inspirational
  • Design that helps you express who you are
  • Design that considers its contribution and impact, from all perspectives

49 Square Miles was born out of this love story: love for the proud women who raised her and love for a place whose history and spirit stand for the same thing that her mother, aunt and grandmother stood for.

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