When I first started working at Esqueleto five years ago (crazy!) Rebecca Overmann was the first artist I met. A longtime friend of Lauren’s, she dropped by the shop on a Saturday and though I was a bit star struck at first, I was immediately captured by her warmth and devious smile. She’s become a good friend since then, and I’ve enjoyed watching her collection grow and evolve over the years. Nothing has been more fun, however, than getting to hang with Lauren and Rebecca together. Whether it’s sharing a bottle of wine on a rooftop in New York, or visiting with our favorite stone dealers in Tucson, those two have an infectious energy and sense of humor that make you feel lucky to be in the same room as them. This week, I had the opportunity to sit down with them in conversation. We’re so thrilled to host her 5th annual trunk show at the Oakland shop on December 10th and 11th.
Lindsay: Hi guys! So how long have you been friends?
Lauren: A long time, Lindsay. Like, gosh, how many years, Rebecca?
Lindsay: When did you guys become friends?Rebecca: When Lauren had long hair. Lindsay: Oh my gosh! Lauren: It’s true. I had very long hair. Rebecca: Almost down to her behind. Lauren: Almost to the booty. Lindsay: So that was a reallllly long time ago. Lauren: Actually though, we met at the Gift Show in San Francisco. At the Mosconi Center. Lindsay: And you were living in SF then, Rebecca. Rebecca: I was. Lauren: And I was living in New York. And the way to get into the New York Gift Show was to do the San Francisco Gift Show. So we both exhibited in Accent on Design. Rebecca: You lived on Hoyt Street. Lauren: Actually, that would have been when I lived on Smith Street I think, so twelve years ago.
Lindsay: Rebecca, how long have you had your line?
Rebecca: 13 years? 14 years? Lauren: I think it’s been longer than that, Rebecca. 15 years. Rebecca: And all the gray hair to show for it.
Lindsay: And you’ve always been based in San Francisco?
Lindsay: What did you think when Lauren moved here?
Rebecca: I was very excited. Lindsay: Lauren, we’ve been to Rebecca’s beautiful studio. Lauren: It’s so pretty. It’s what we all would aspire to as jewelry designers, to have a space as beautiful as Rebecca’s. Lindsay: RO, you do everything in house now. Rebecca: I do.
Lindsay: Tell us about your team!Rebecca: We have a team of three jewelers: a master jeweler and two bench jewelers. And we do everything in house: casting, setting, finishing… Lauren: Selling! Rebecca: Selling.
Lindsay: What’s a typical day like in the gorgeous Rebecca Overmann studio?
Rebecca: A typical day starts with lots of coffee, at about 8 o’clock. Lindsay: Oh, wow. Rebecca: That’s usually when we’re there. 8 o’clock. Lauren: You get there at 8 am? Rebecca: 8 am. Bright and early. And then the rest of the crew comes in at 9. And then we end at 5. Lauren: Different than how we do things here. Just slightly. Rebecca: And everyone sort of carves their own path throughout the day. We’ve got casting that only happens on Tuesdays, so we’re doing a lot of wax work on Mondays, cast Tuesdays, and then stone setting and finishing for the rest of the week.
Lindsay: How long has your husband, Doug, been working for Rebecca Overmann?Rebecca: He has been working for us now for about two and a half years. Lindsay: How is it working together? Rebecca: Most of the time it’s great. Lindsay: We all love Doug. Lauren: LOVE Doug. Rebecca: Sometimes it’s a LOT of time together. But it’s nice to have an in-house photographer and he does things that I’m just not good at.
Lindsay: Very cool. So one thing I’ve noticed in the five years that I’ve known the two of you as designers is a kind of shift I’m seeing in both of your collections toward more engagement and bridal jewelry. What do you think about that?
Lauren: I think it’s great! I feel like it’s the path for most jewelers who become established and work for a really long time (like fifteen years, haha). I think that just from the evolution part of things that’s just where a collection will evolve to. Hopefully. Rebecca: Definitely. AND it affords you to work with really big stones. Lindsay: That’s EXACTLY where I was going. Because you guys are the most fun when you’re in Tucson buying stones. Rebecca: It’s pretty fun. It’s addicting.
Lindsay: How do you support each other as business owners?
Rebecca: That’s a great question! Lindsay: It’s one of the things that I’ve always liked and admired about your friendship, is how supportive you are as artists and business owners. Lauren comes to your open studio events, you make the trip across the bridge for Esqueleto’s art openings, we visit each other’s booths at the trade shows, and you travel and do the gem shows together. Lauren: I guess it is a little unusual. Because the diamond dealers will say, “are you sure you want to meet together?” because people don’t really do that. Rebecca: Yeah for the most part a lot of people are really secretive about what they do. Lindsay: The cool thing about you two as well is that your aesthetic is so different so it doesn’t ever feel like there’s a competition there. Lauren: I don’t think so. Rebecca: it’s really nice to have people you can rely on not just in the jewelry industry but as friends. If one of us stopped doing jewelry it wouldn’t stop the friendship. Lauren: No way. Rebecca: I think it’s unusual to find, the older you get, those connections that are developing within the same career.
Lindsay: Do you have any goals for your business?
Rebecca: I don’t have any major goals - Lauren: I can speak for Rebecca! Not only am I her friend, but I’m very bossy. So Rebecca’s plan will be to be part diamond dealer and also open a store in San Francisco that will be more accessible to her clientele. Lindsay: It can be tricky to open a store, but what’s great about you two is that having this extensive experience in the industry, you have all these other outlets: the wholesale, the custom work, etc. You already know the way the business works. Rebecca: I think so too. So much has changed since we started doing this. First it was the Internet, there’s always something that changes in the industry. It’s not a clear path. Lauren: You just can’t stop or do the same thing for too long. You have to constantly evolve. Lindsay: Which is so funny because jewelry has been around forever. Rebecca: It’s crazy. There’s a constant challenge of flux. Always.
Lindsay: So, it’s going to be your fifth trunk show here.
Rebecca: Oh my gosh, really? Lauren: Yes! Lindsay’s been here since we opened, so she knows. Rebecca: Are you going to come to my trunk show? Lindsay: Duh. Rebecca: It’s going to be a good trunk show. Right before the holidays!