Lela created her animated short titled "Angry Little Asian Girl" in 1994 while she was a sophomore in college but she kept it hidden in a drawer for years because she was embarrassed by the anger expressed in it. In the spring of 1998, "Angry Little Asian Girl" was screened for the first time to an audience. After the screening, members of the audience told her that they loved the ALAG character. This feedback inspired her to make t-shirts with the Angry Little Asian Girl character on them. The next day, with a credit card and gumption, she got 300 shirts screen printed, called up her friends to buy a shirt and sold the rest out of her Corolla station wagon. Someone suggested she set up a shop on the internet. She had heard of the internet in college but had never even used email. She launched a website in late 1998 where she sold shirts and self-published her then titled Angry Little Asian Girl comics. She drew during the day and in the late afternoon, she manually processed orders and walked the packages to her local post office. She began to see that women of all ages and all walks of life understood ALAG's anger and so she expanded her brand name to "Angry Little Girls." In 2005, her first book was published and sold out 4 times over in two months. The success of the books led to a wildly popular line of tote bags sold in malls across the US and abroad. Fans wrote to tell her that Angry Little Girls' products made them feel empowered. This made Lela realize that just as drawing her comics helped her find her voice, her art on products was an important way to help women find their voice too.