Leila is a tenderhearted handy boy who, with her loved ones, is always scheming to co-create the world she wants to live in. Leila comes to her design commitments through her training as an occupational therapist and community organizer, embodying a desire to make the spaces in which she circulates more just and accessible.
TunaTone, a loving gesture to Leila’s deceased cat, Tuna, came into being in 2015 when in Leila’s words:
“I was so deeply heartbroken that I found myself spending time in abandoned factories because being surrounded by environments that mirrored the way I felt somehow gave me comfort. One day, I took some pastel coloured drawers from a derelict laboratory to the bicycle shop that I volunteered at and made a chest for them out of plywood and two-by-twos. Making something out of objects that had been left behind was a turning point in my grief. I sought out more and was blessed to find Brad Geortz, a furniture builder who spent four years generously teaching me the fundamentals of woodworking. After Brad left the shop, I found myself wanting to continue learning under close mentorship so I asked my shopmate and friend Dion James if he would teach me how to build an electric guitar. We’ve been working side by side since. Building and personal growth have always been closely connected for me.”
Leila is deeply committed to guitar building as a site of collaboration and design justice. With the love and support of her friends and co-conspirators, she continues to build guitars that center the experience of those rarely prioritized in the guitar industry.