Today we’d like to introduce you to Vicki Turbeville.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Vicki. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It began as a simple family vacation to the West….we were posted to London for five years and a couple of my English friends collected Navajo jewelry…. I felt homesick seeing this uniquely American wearable art and decided to make it to the West as soon as we returned to the U.S. I bought a few pieces and people began asking me to go back out and buy something for them…. I went out to New Mexico and bought a few things to begin doing small antique shows and selling to friends. I had just launched the website in October of 2004 and Nina Garcia, who was then at ELLE magazine saw me at a small antique show. She invited me to visit her offices and I loaned some jewelry for an upcoming editorial shoot. Surprise! January 2005, my vintage concho belt was on the cover of ELLE magazine on Uma Thurman! There were several other pages inside as well. My sleepy website lit up with visitors and we have been working with magazine editorial pretty much nonstop ever since!
At the time I was living in New York City and another Native American art dealer approached me to take over the small shop space she had as she was retiring. I did and it became the hub for many stylists, editors, collectors, dealers and friends. I was selling at the summer antique shows in Santa Fe where I first met Steve Nelson, my current life partner who was also in the same business. In 2012, I closed my NYC shop and we merged our businesses into his shop in Redondo Beach, CA and a new chapter began!
We have a storefront as well as the website and continue to work with lots of stylists and editors, worldwide.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I didn’t start with a big bankroll so it took a lot of hard work. At one point, I was doing 30 shows a year! Many people were nervous about buying from someone at a show and early on I realized how important good customer service and follow through are in helping customers trust and rely on me.
With careful buying and putting money back into the business I slowly built up a good inventory. I was very lucky that the friend who built my first website made it very easy for me to load my own images onto the site which meant I could save the cost of a relying on a technical person for every change.
Please tell us about Vicki Turbeville.
I specialize in vintage and contemporary Native American jewelry. Authentic, American made wearable art. We offer personal services like ring sizing and necklace repairs. Native American jewelry is a uniquely American art form like jazz. I have contributed to The American Indian College Fund as well as sponsored The Apache Skateboard Team.
We are known for having both classic design as well as offering what’s current and trending in a fashion conscious world. We have something to offer every price point as we know young collectors need to have a place to begin. We encourage everyone to come in, try on and learn about what we have. We learn from our customers!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I feel fortunate that things have turned out the way they have. There really isn’t anything I would have done differently. Starting small gave me the time to ask questions and learn from more experienced dealers and artists.
Starting small meant that the mistake buys I made were less expensive learning tools. A young friend said to me, ‘You’re never not working’ but like the old saying goes, do what you love and you’ll never work a day….
- Address: 304 Vista Del Mar, Suite A, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
- Website: www.vickiturbeville.com
- Phone: 347-256-0127
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @vickiturbeville
- Facebook: Vicki Turbeville
- Twitter: @VTurbeville
All photos by Vicki Turbeville