About the Artist: Skibell Fine Jewelry owner Lyn Skibell is as multi-faceted as the diamonds in her namesake Preston Center shop. Carrying on the legacy of her late husband, Charles, was her initial incentive to take the helm of the beloved family business. But it’s her passion and drive that makes readying the store for the next generation a true labor of love. Renowned for its exemplary customer service, the store features an exceptional mix of fine and estate jewelry and luxury timepieces. It’s also Dallas’ go-to for custom creations and appraisals.
N.G. We appreciate your participation! Before we begin, our audience is curious to learn more about you. Could you please share your “backstory” and what inspired you to pursue this career?
L.S. To be honest, being a business owner was never on my radar. But when my husband, Charles, passed away in 2019, I had a decision to make: Could I take over the generations-old family business? The challenge was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. The real test was when our lease ended in 2020. Should I keep the business running or shutter its doors?
Ultimately, I decided Dallas needs Skibell Fine Jewelry and we need Dallas. And at that point, I was all in. When I commit, it’s either 100% or not at all. Needless to say, the last four years have been an incredible learning experience.
Unlike Charles, who grew up in the jewelry business, my background was in sales. Fortunately, many of the fundamentals are the same: Innovative thinking, follow-through, attention to detail, and, of course, flawless customer service. My experience in team building has also been beneficial. It’s so important to keep staff members excited and motivated.
And truth be told, I’m a bit of a hippie at heart. It’s my Austin roots. I believe in a higher consciousness that helps us become the very best versions of ourselves. I also love my early-morning spiritual time when the world hasn’t started, and I have time with my thoughts. And finally, I love creating something out of nothing – walking into the store and thinking, wow, I can’t believe we did this.
N.G. Tell us more about your clients and what they appreciate most about your collection. Are you able to accommodate custom orders as well?
L.S. At Skibell Fine Jewelry, we’re all about customer service. It’s part of our DNA. We pride ourselves in being able to provide a certain comfort level that people just won’t find in a mall. And while we’re luxury, we’re not a stuffy jewelry store; we sell extraordinary jewelry, but we do it within a fun and light environment. Fine jewelry is a feel-good purchase – it’s a want, not a need. From start to finish, our goal is to make every Skibell experience a memorable one.
Many of our clients have worked with us for decades. I recently helped a man who was buying a 25th anniversary gift for his wife. Turns out, Charles had sold him the engagement ring 25 years before. It’s so gratifying to see that come full circle. It’s what Skibell Fine Jewelry is all about.
As for custom orders, I feel confident saying it’s one of our specialties. Because of our generations-deep connections, we’re able to source pieces customers can’t find anywhere else. We also have an amazingly talented in-house designer who can create a piece from scratch or repurpose jewelry or gemstones a client already owns. My motto is jewelry belongs outside your jewelry box; if you don’t love it, why not transform it into something you’ll wear and enjoy?
N.G. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by emerging artists?
Setting realistic goals. Don’t let the inevitable twists and turns in the road get in your way. Burnout or frustration often occurs when there is no agenda, no sense of progress, or no driving purpose. The key is developing – and following – a doable plan. If the end game gets overwhelming, break it down into smaller pieces. And I can’t emphasize this enough: Don’t discount the small wins. Instead, celebrate them.
Managing their time. It’s all too easy to get lost in your art and forget about deadlines.
Building self-trust. There are many ways to define creativity. Once you understand your definition, it’s imperative to trust your artistic skills and show what you have to the whole world. Don’t let self-doubt or insecurity get in the way of reaching your goals.
Enjoying the journey. Stop. Breathe. Repeat. Take a moment (or two!) to appreciate your talent, your accomplishments, and of course, your uniqueness.
Skibell Fine Jewelry wows the crowds at Dallas Fashion Week with its stunning collection.
N.G. How is Dallas Fashion Week helping your business?
L. S. Networking! I think we’re all guilty of getting so consumed in our day-to-day activities that we neglect this inimitable, business-building opportunity. It’s invaluable to actively experience the give-and-take; to listen, learn, and be open to new ideas. The end result offers a multitude of benefits, from increasing your visibility to building your reputation.
Dallas Fashion Week is also a great way to showcase and market your brand. In the case of Skibell Fine Jewelry, we want to get our goods and services in front of as many people as possible. As a small business – especially one that’s as relationship-driven as ours – it’s essential to keep extending your reach. Sales is a numbers game. The more people you touch, the better.
An added benefit: Dallas Fashion Week gets you in front of the right audience. For networking efforts to pay off, you need to be strategic. Here, you’re connecting with both established designers and emerging talent – win, win! An added bonus: You never know who is going to be your next best client!
N.G. What are the key considerations for Fashion Designers participating in their First Fashion Week?
L.S. Showcase your strengths. Know what you do best and make that the focus of your presentation. And don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. The same-old is exactly that – the same-old.
Establish your point of view. You want people to know what your brand stands for.
Use social media to your advantage. Take advantage of the opportunity to spread the word that you’re participating in Dallas Fashion Week. Make it a priority to create a compelling feed that will draw customers in and encourage them to interact with you.
N.G. Share with us your favorite brands and what makes them stand out in your opinion?
L. S. Certainly, the designers we bejeweled at Dallas Fashion Week are among our new favorites. For example, Salvador Medina’s work is sophisticated, feminine, and creative. His emerging brand is definitely one to watch.
N.G. Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving, with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.”
I love this quote by Maya Angelou. It rings true in so many ways. Carrying on the Skibell legacy after my husband died was huge. And earlier this year, I lost my dear friend (and work-husband) Clyde to cancer. Experiencing loss was never about simply surviving – it was learning to thrive; to overcome grief – even when it didn’t seem feasible – only to emerge stronger than you were before.
Plus, there are so many relatable words in that quote. For starters: passion (the driving force in moving forward with purpose), style (always keeping it classy), and humor (the saving grace in just about everything). Even more meaningful: compassion, generosity, and kindness. I’m so grateful. There’s no reason Skibell Fine Jewelry should still be standing except for the people who wouldn’t let me down. Our team, our vendors, and our customers have made this next chapter possible.
I have another favorite. Marilyn Monroe said:
“Keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
I want to end the interview with three things that make me smile.
Being silly with my friends.
Mentoring young people. I especially love watching members of my team shine.
Helping clients find that perfect piece of jewelry. The look on their face says it all.
N.G. How can our readers follow you online?
Tik tok: @skibellfinejewelry
Venue: Christopher Martin Gallery, Dallas Fashion Week Opening Night
Models: Alesandra Baylee, Teresa Parker, Arianna Gonzalez
Photo: Jana Champagne
MUA: Capelli Salon
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