PEABODY – The mother-daughter team behind the designer jewelry brand Colby Davis of Boston shared the story of their company’s amazing growth and offered some pieces of advice to an attentive audience at Thrive’s annual Fall luncheon at the Peabody Marriott on Sept. 28.
Marblehead’s Lia Lombara and her daughters, Lexi and Taylor began their company when the girls were teenagers at Masconomet High School. In the decade since, the company has seen its sales soar due to an expanded wholesale business, word-of-mouth and glowing customer reviews.
As Lia noted, the idea took shape on a family vacation to Greece. The girls, along with their brother PJ, are triplets, and their parents told them that they needed to find summer jobs. After sending out applications with no responses, Lexi said she and Taylor took their mother up on her suggestion to start a business together. They were 15 years old.
The Lombaras’ goal was to create jewelry that is sophisticated and timeless, as well as meaningful and unique. Today, Lexi handles business operations, development, and strategic marketing efforts, while Taylor supports the sales team at their flagship store on Newbury Street in Boston, which opened just a few weeks ago. Lexi and Taylor balance their work at Colby Davis with their outside careers.
The designs are the brainchild of Lia, who has a Fine Arts degree from Boston College and a jewelry minor from the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston. Her passion for art and jewelry began at a young age while she grew up in Longmeadow. In 7th grade, she won her first award for a bracelet she created.
Prior to starting Colby Davis with her daughters, Lia worked with her mother, Dorothy Davis, and together they operated a home decor store in Newburyport.
Lia noted that she draws inspiration from her every day life, whether it’s a garden in Marblehead, or a nautical theme. Together with her daughters, they create the inspirational sayings on the back of the pendants. If they find the phrase meaningful, Lexi said, they believe others will as well.
“Anything can inspire me; I [draw from] what I think the line needs, and what I love,” Lia said.
Each pendant is individually fired to capture the originality and craftsmanship that goes into making glass enamel jewelry of the highest quality. Colby Davis jewelry is 100 percent made in the United States.
The mother-daughter pair touched on what it is like working in a family business. Communication skills are key, Lexi noted — not just what your message is, but also the timing of when you deliver it. She knows her mother, after working all day, won’t want to discuss business when she gets home at 8 p.m., so they make a point to discuss business in the morning.
Establishing a healthy work-life balance is also important, the pair told the audience. Taking a break from work to be with friends or pursue an interest is instrumental to stopping burnout. And, Lia said, always remember your own worth. It’s easy to become disheartened by rejections, and you must believe in yourself and your talent.
Chamber member Nancy Mantilla, of Flores Mantilla, donated a gorgeous floral arrangement, and the Lombaras donated a stunning Colby Davis of Boston necklace, that were raffled during the luncheon. Proceeds from the raffles went to the Thrive initiative.
The luncheon was sponsored by Platinum Sponsor, Institution for Savings, Gold Sponsor, Windover Construction; Silver Sponsors, Beauport Hospitality Group and Silver Linings Solutions, and Bronze Sponsors Salem Five, North Shore Bank, Groom Construction, and Communications INK.