At heart, Alex Lippin is a matchmaker, connecting people and starting new relationships. While her initial career was in publicity, she now does that for jewelry, helping people find the perfect piece that compliments not only their style but also their lives.
“I fell in love with jewelry by accident,” says Lippin, the senior vice president at Elyse Walker, a California-based luxury fashion retailer. Lippin, who has run Walker’s jewelry business for more than six years, recently masterminded the brand’s jewelry-concierge launch.
The jewelry concierge is a complimentary service that provides customers a one-on-one consultation with an Elyse Walker jewelry expert who will find the perfect piece of fine jewelry. This could be for a special occasion, a gift, or just because, Lippin says.
This jewelry love affair is a recent thing. Lippin started in a very different place, working mainly in public relations. Her parents both worked in entertainment, Lippin says, and as an only child they wanted her to do anything BUT the family business. Lippin’s father is Dick Lippin, owner of Los Angeles–based PR gurus The Lippin Group.
“From the time I could understand, I knew I had to find my own path,” Lippin says.
In high school, Lippin says she dabbled in television and postproduction, but she realized she was “too gregarious and talkative to be in an edit bay.” But the seeds of creating something from scratch were planted. She graduated from college with a communications degree and started working mostly with consumer-driven companies.
Lippin and a friend started a company that did product placement for television shows, and that experience introduced her to jewelry. Companies like Harry Winston and Hearts On Fire were instrumental in sparking her love for fine jewelry, Lippin says. “I started to be drawn to sparkly things,” she says.
With this in mind, LIppin says she suggested her father add a fashion division to his company that she could lead. It clicked, and Lippin says she developed this segment of The Lippin Group to include brands such as Mikimoto and Jennifer Fisher.
Around 2006, Lippin was introduced to Elyse Walker as part of Walker’s Pink Party event. Lippin’s mother had died from cancer, which had deeply affected her, and Walker’s mother also had died at a young age. Lippin and Walker worked for years on this fundraising event, which benefited the women’s cancer program at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
Walker hired Lippin away from the family business, and Lippin says she was ready to learn something new.
“There is no better teacher than Elyse, who has built a tremendous business,” Lippin says. “She’s a great merchant, but she’s also a great stylist.”
Walker told Lippin she was doing PR, but she also had to learn how to work in the stores. That meant learning how to sell, how to fold a pair of jeans, and how to work with clients on selecting the right outfit or the perfect accessory.
“It really helped me gain insight. It’s made me a better buyer,” Lippin says. “People come into the store and they want a bag, but they also need a pair of shoes or they’re interested in updating their denim. People don’t come into the store necessarily because they need a piece of jewelry, but it’s something they’re drawn to. There’s a connection. It’s emotional.”
Helping a customer find their match in terms of a piece of jewelry for a gift or for themselves is where Lippin says the new jewelry concierge comes in—Walker and the brand’s employees want people to find something to wear that they’ll love, not put it in a drawer or forget about in a jewelry box.
Like most people who become surrounded with fine jewelry, Lippin says there is no going back.
“It’s truly become such an area of joy and happiness for me,” she says. “Jewelry is something you never knew you needed, and then it becomes an integral part of you.”
Top: Alex Lippin brings a wealth of fine jewelry knowledge to her role with Elyse Walker, building up the brands and services the luxury retailer offers to its clients who want style with substance, Lippin says (all photos courtesy of Elyse Walker).@jckmagazine
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