STORY BY DAVID CLEWETT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DONNA KERN
LaLa Bend is a unique concept boutique that supplies local art, jewelry and unique gifts that are all made in Oregon. It is the premier supplier of jewelry created by owner and founder Donna Kern of DK Designz Jewelry. LaLa opened its doors this summer and is located at 1030 NW Newport Ave. in Bend.
Kern opened the boutique intent that it would not be like others. She provides a distinct selection of items that cannot be found elsewhere. “When selecting jewelry and items for the store I try to focus on what people find interesting and exciting. I don’t follow the trends. I see what interests me and build jewelry around that. I want to be a trend setter with new and exciting designs that make people talk,” Kern said.
LaLa is a place to find art that pushes the trends forward and items with character. The store is full of items that are different and affordable.
“I have put my creations inside that invoke a little spirit and challenge the trends. I added some local artists with their amazing artwork. The gifts are delightful, the jewelry is bright and beautiful and the atmosphere is quaint,” Kern said.
Kern is the designer and creator behind DK Designz Jewelry which offers designer jewelry handmade from recycled and upcycled materials. Each design is drafted and sketched by Kern and made in the family studio. She creates necklaces, earrings, bracelets and foot jewelry using precious metals with a handmade attention to detail and care.
The space on Newport Avenue was previously home to an event planning and bridal shop business, Majestic Weddings & Events, run by Kern. An electrical fire in 2013 forced Kern to close the business.
Although the disaster was crippling to her business, Kern began making jewelry out of necessity which ultimately resulted in DK Designz and the reopening of her business as LaLa.
“I just couldn’t afford the earrings I wanted. I wanted to look like my colleagues at work but I couldn’t afford to dress that nice. With some ingenuity and items I found at a garage sale, I made a little pair of earrings for myself. People loved them. I sold them three times over. It felt right to make jewelry that people could afford,” Kern said.
Due to the help she received along the way, and her long-term commitment to life in Bend, Kern and LaLa are committed to giving back to the community. Every month she selects three local charities and donates a percentage of profits to each.
“It began with an idea of how to give back to the community. There were so many nonprofit organizations that it was hard to decide who would get our help. We decided on them all. With every customer purchase we donate a percentage of the sales to as many nonprofits and charities as we can,” Kern said.
Kern finds inspiration for her jewelry designs in many forms including industrial aspects of buildings, summers in Bend, the smile of a happy puppy and the sky on a crisp winter night. No inspiration is greater than her son.
“At the age of ten he liked to sit alongside and watch me create jewelry. He then started sketching plans for jewelry designs. Some were very difficult to create and then it all started to come together. We were creating jewelry that really caught attention,” Kern said.