Female management for Lebole Jewelry where mother and daughter team Nicoletta and Barbara act in the background and become market leaders.
A practical visionary, Nicoletta grew up with art and distinctiveness – her father Mario was a collector – then the magic of antiquities took over. Her daily routine is full of beauty that leaves a trail of deep passion that in 1974 drove her to open a Gallery in Arezzo and then a shop on via del Babuino in Rome. Barbara inherited her mother’s talent and the ability to use it, sharing the same objectives they started down the road together towards a fascinating adventure: creating the Lebole Jewelry brand where novelty blooms in the light of an open door on culture.
Aware of the fact that an idea is a predominant part of building success and that hidden qualities are as important as obvious ones, what they created spawned from the innovative and unusual: first of its kind is a collection of asymmetric earrings called Kimono made from silk taken from antique Japanese kimonos placed on a light wooden base. Fabric continues to be one of their favorite essences and in the upcoming “Samarcanda, the silk route” ikat fabric tells us about the Usbeco world.
Nicoletta and Barbara travel around the world in search of ideas and unconventional materials, sometimes coming from distant geographic areas and immense temporal differences, but when they are reunited and reinvented they become unique storytellers and undisputed custodians of a real and authentic calling for a jewel: to celebrate womanhood.
Nicoletta, the Lebole family is know historically for men’s wear, a reality far away from the world of jewelry. How did this change come about?
Actually, I grew up around the innovation my father brought to men’s wear. I have always dealt with vintage jewelry and I produced a creative costume jewelry line bearing vintage elements. These two activities have been together in my work with antiquities, so there has really been no change, rather a consolidation of my ideas and my style.
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Nicoletta, your know-how revolves around two important stages, apparel and antiques, what have you learned from these experiences?
I invented a piece that reflects both apparel and antiques by using antique fabric and a people’s culture.
Barbara, you’ve been able to make oriental culture attractive to western women. Two worlds far away from each other but who become one in your borderless jewelry. Have you just borrowed the orient or is it the starting point?
We want to spread knowledge by capturing the beauty and creativity in a country then developing an object that tells a new story through history and culture. The silk we use speaks the history of that country. We are interpreters of that reality.
Barbara, yours is a Made in Italy product that uses fabric and natural materials. However, competition is fierce in a sector where jewelry is bought online, so how do you rank quality, integrity, and design?
We look ahead taking for granted that online sales is the future and we give it the same importance as quality, integrity and design while being aware that design is what makes a real difference.
We even produce a “Made in Tuscany” that we entrust with professionals in the field but that we monitor personally at all times. We have a number of lines, all with one common denominator: using fabric and culture. Ours is a stylistic imprint that is very distinct. We come from the world of art and fashion that have fused, this is why we believe that the hand of the designer must be recognizable just like that of a painter, even if the signature is missing.
Nicoletta, what role does jewelry play today?
I make jewelry that can be worn like a dress, to flatter a woman. Once upon a time, buying jewelry was an investment, today no longer. Nowadays it is a purchase that is a sign of the times and of changes.
Nicoletta, the market welcomed with open arms your style, although how do you defend your space in today’s scenario and most of all, in tomorrow’s?
My jewelry is full of knowledge, imagination, and Italian craftsmanship and I am committed to defending my space with the guidelines that they represent.
Barbara, Lebole Jewelry is an important entity. Was it hard to get to this point or did it come naturally, based on your product variety?
It came naturally and it still is. We hold on to our products but they keep evolving independently. They are easily understood but not commercial and our retailers sell them because they love them.
Barbara, how important is the commercial aspect of a project?
It has to be well done like all the rest, but I am still convinced that the product makes the company, without it there is nothing to build.
Our communications, whether on paper or online, is just to amplify the commercial value of the product.
Barbara, it’s clear that Lebole jewelry is sold by top retailers. Your themes stray from traditional ones, do they meet with demand from markets abroad?
Right now we’re focusing on the Italian market where we have seen satisfying results; our next step is towards foreign markets.
Nicoletta, one word to describe the element no jewel can be without?
What is in Lebole Jewelry’s future?
Telling stories with every collection, illustrating reality and diverse cultures. We want to say something with a product that is “wearable culture”, that attracts for the history it represents. We are not sellers, we are narrators and those who buy our earrings feels the same urge to tell others the story they are wearing.