Sen. Mitchell welcomes 30th District's Small Business Owner of the Year Onna Ehrlich to Capitol

June 22, 2015

Sacramento - Senator Holly J. Mitchell welcomed the 30th District’s 2015 Small Business Owner of the Year to the State Capitol, in an annual event which celebrates the achievements of entrepreneurs and innovators. This year’s honoree is handbag designer Onna Erlich, founder of, whom Senator Mitchell escorted, along with her husband/business partner Joel Bell and son James, onto the floor of the State Senate chamber to present her a Certificate of Commendation.

Erlich was born and grew up in Nigeria, where her mother, a businesswoman, encouraged her youthful interest in learning to design and make clothing accessories. After her mother’s death while she was still in her teens, she joined her father, the head of an internationally renowned architectural firm, in the United States. Her father rented office space to her in Culver City where she set up her design studio, which has become the headquarters for’s high-end line of hand made, African-accented handbags and couture accessories. Worn by such Hollywood celebrities as Cameron Diaz and Paris Hilton, and frequented by Beverly Hills mavens, the Onna Erlich line of purses and bodyware can be purchased through department stores and boutiques, and have been featured in national fashion advertisements.

Quality and fiscal control remain in the founder’s hands, as Erlich and her team manage the wholesale and retail operations in-house, while handling most delivery and shipping transactions online utilizing sophisticated interactive web applications to track sales and promote the inventory. Erlich and her burgeoning business were the subject of a 2009 admiring article in the Wall Street Journal.

Senator Holly J. Mitchell is proud to honor the personal achievements and professional enterprise of Onna Erlich, a young, Black, immigrant woman who runs a successful business in her district and has become a role model and inspiration for others to build their dreams.