Aside from the fact that Debi Lynn jewelry is purely incredible, the woman behind the brand is even more fantastic, if that’s even possible. Her main goal in life and for her designs is, “to not only help financially as I can, but to help spiritually; and give women the love and support they need, while showing them that they are in charge of their own path----and that as women, we do need each other!” As a true philanthropist and cheerleader of life, Debi Mattingly is a charitable force of nature whose creations should not be missed. When she isn’t donating to great causes, organizing charity events, or designing for her line, she can be found running her store front, hanging out with her hubby, running around with her grandkids, or traveling the world. Like I said, she’s fantastic.
I hear you are becoming music’s new obsession. Can you tell me about how your designs are hitting the music scene?
Obviously it helps a great deal when you have a great PR firm like CLD that is in the center of the music and fashion scene to help promote your work! Since 1994, my jewelry designs have been seen and worn by people across the world from celebrities to soccer moms….and my work has always been seen as a cross between “western meets rock ‘n roll”.
Why is it that music and fashion often go hand-in-hand?
I believe that music and fashion are the “universal language” around the world….it is what helps “connect” us as the “human race”. Regardless of our culture, religion, spiritual believes, etc----the unspoken beat of music and our relationship with fashion helps us connect as humans. People get a peek into our soul by the music we love and the fashion that we wear---they BOTH make us feel passionate about who we are and where we are in life.
Given that, how do you feel about being featured in mf magazine (music and fashion)?
Obviously I am honored and thrilled to be able to have my work loved and showcased in such an aspiring magazine!! It is a great feeling to be able to reach an audience about not only my work, but why I do what I do and to help inspire others about their dreams, hard work, and “giving back” to their community!
Aside from music, tell me about your other creative influences like your Native American Culture.
I am not only Muskogee Creek, but I am also Cajun/Creole from Louisiana. BOTH of these cultures play a HUGE influence on my work….and not why people would think. Our society has put both of these cultures into a ‘box’ and dramatized them through movies, books, etc….I was influenced by the way I was raised by my family and relatives. Every tribe is different, just like every family is different….both of these cultures have many similarities: Respect for our spiritual ways, respect for nature, respect for our ancestors and most of all respect for all beliefs. My Native ways have influenced me through the respect of the materials I use. They all have a “spirit” from the past and I not only have to be careful with what I use, but I let the stones and other materials guide me as to what they “want to say”. In fact, whenever I find an old piece, I always do a cleansing ceremony before bringing it into my studio. I do this because I do not know the ‘spirit’ that may have created the bead or finding. Then, there is my Cajun/Creole side. My great-grandmother, Meme, was French and black from the West Indies. She studied and practiced Houdoo. So, you can imagine the teachings from that side of my family! Actually, they were very similar to the Native American beliefs. I guess the number one influence from BOTH of these cultures would be “RESPECT” for the past and the lesson and/or lessons that those before us have to teach us.
Wow. That’s a pretty impressive background. Okay, so some other things I’m definitely impressed with are your jewelry. I’m absolutely, ridiculously obsessed with the “Tears of Hope” necklace. What went into designing this piece?
Funny that you pick that specific piece…because it took on a mind of its own when I was trying to create it. I had the ancient Native American medal pendant with chains given to me by my Elders, and I tried NUMEROUS times to create a piece with it, but it just never seemed to work or “feel right”. Then one day out of the blue, as I saw it hanging in my studio….the words “Tears of Hope” came to me. I still didn’t know what it was going to end up looking like and I just let the piece guide me. The meaning of the piece showcases several different spiritual believes….with the Australian rare opal (which is a stone for Hope) the rusted out crucifix for the “tears” of Christ on the cross, the ancient pendant from my Elders, findings from Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, and even the Mayan’s. “Tears of Hope” is a lesson to the wearer to remember to respect all paths that lead to our Creator…..and by living that way, then you become a part of that “hope” for our world.
One of the things I love most about your jewelry is your fusion of vintage and modern. Is that how you subscribe your style?
For years people have tried to put a “label” on my style, and it has ranged in many different titles. I just know that my work has always been about taking our past and bringing it forward into the present. But, I must say, this is the first time I have had my work called “modern”. I really like that! Can I use that….”fusion of vintage and modern”?
Ha ha. If you want to trade it for a gorgeous necklace, I might let you use it. (I joke.) So, where can I buy some of your pieces?
My one-of-a-kind pieces can be found at CLD’s showroom and they also carry “samples” of my limited edition pieces. All my work can be ordered and bought through my marketing reps, at Material Things, Inc. in Denver. They are also taken to markets throughout the US for boutique owners to purchase for their stores. But, they are also available for retail!
Tell me about some of your celebrity customers.
My work was showcased and seen with many celebrities for a charitable event in 2007 with Harvard Business School Leadership Awards Gala in Beverly Hills, CA. Celebrities such as, Sherry Lansing, Alan Horn, Robin Williams, Rob Reiner, Meg Ryan, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, Norman Lear, Ron Meyer, Barry Meyer, Morgan Freeman, Dan Glickman, Tom Hanks, Katie Holmes, Leonardo DiCapprio, Jason Alexander, and others. I must say that it was quite an impressive list of people that now had an original “Debi Lynn” in their hands; and I was very honored. I was even more proud when I received a personal email from Sherry Lansing letting me know that she loved my jewelry! My work was also featured at the “What A Pair” in LA in 2007 to benefit breast cancer research. The celebrities that received one of my pieces was everyone from Jamie Lee Curtis, Lori Alan, Jayne Atkinson, Mary Birdsong, Rosa Blasi, Deana Carter, Loretta Devine, Joely Fisher, Tricia Leigh Fisher, Jasmine Guy, Diana Harris, Marg Helgenberger, Elaine Hendrix, Sharon Lawrence, Vicki Lewis, Jane Lynch, Ann Magnuson, Armelia Mcqueen, Annette O’Toole, Tierney Sutton, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Leigh Warren, and KD Lang.
That’s amazing! Anyone else?!
I started with CLD in late July, 2011 and have been honored to have Demi Lovato and Nicole Scherzinger seen wearing my pieces!! The sweet and adorable Demi Lovato is a huge fan and has been wearing my collection all over lately! I am so proud of her as a young woman and that she was able to overcome all that she has gone through over the past two years. She is truly a fantastic example to other young girls trying to beat their insecurities or going through a tough time! I know she loves my work and I am honored to have her wear it.
How do you feel having your creations worn by so many high-profile stars?
It is nice to have celebrities wear your work, but I truly believe all my customers are “stars” in their own special way. I am just as honored and proud when I run into a customer on the street and see them wearing my work! I can tell in their eyes that they truly “feel the spirit” of the designs---and THAT is what I create for!
Okay, most importantly is the charitable aspect of your company. I understand that you donate 10% of each sale to help women?
At the end of each quarter, I pay my bills, my taxes, etc…and then keep “what I need” for the next quarter and I give the rest to a “woman’s charity”. I DO NOT take a salary or anything for MYSELF…I take only what I need to pay my bills and order future materials and then the rest goes to charity. So actually that “percentage” is much higher than 10%. I also own a fashion boutique in Houston, called “Yaya Chique” and at the end of the year whatever is not sold in the store, goes to a women’s crisis center here in Houston for abused women and children. This Christmas for my annual “Christmas on the Bayou” party, I asked all my customers to bring “new unwrapped gifts” for the women in the shelter. I felt that the children are always taken care of around Christmas, which is great, but the women are not always thought of….so, I wanted to make sure that they also received gifts for Christmas; along with a check for 20% of the net sales that evening.
I bow down to you! You are amazing! Why do you feel it is so important to participate in causes like these?
I have known since I was 45 that part of my purpose here on Earth was to help and give to those that need it more than I do….so that is why I do what I do. I feel EVERY woman has the right to feel beautiful and special. My grandfather had a saying that “women are their own worst enemy---they don’t need men as enemies, because they have each other.” I guess I wanted to prove him wrong, so I tell women all the time that “their success does not take away from mine, just as my success does not take away from theirs.”