Lexi Lombara cofounded the jewelry business Colby Davis with her mother, Lia Lombara, and her sister, Taylor Lombara, when she was just 15. Now 20 years old and entering her sophomore year in college, she serves as the company’s CEO, managing web design, accounting, advertising, social media marketing, lifestyle photography and legal tasks.
“Every day, I work to build a business that provides quality jewelry that is not only timeless and beautiful, but also designed by women and made in the United States,” Lexi Lombara says. “I spend countless hours on my laptop working on the marketing and advertising aspects of Colby Davis. Even in my free time or when I am supposed to be studying at the library, I find myself creating a Facebook post or analyzing sales from a certain promotion.”
As a young girl, Lexi Lombara dreamed of opening her own restaurant. “I was very independent and always had a passion for cooking. I knew in my heart that I wanted to be the leader of my own future, to be in control of my career, and ultimately to be my own boss.” However, at age 12, her mother explained how the realities of owning a restaurant meant working long hours, on weekends and holidays, and possibly missing certain key life events. So Lombara gave up on that dream and began looking for another business idea.
Shortly thereafter, Lexi’s mother Lia Lombara revisited her passion for jewelry design and fell in love with glass enamel. Having majored in Fine Arts with a minor in jewelry design at Boston College, Lia has always had an eye for design. She then invited her daughters to become business partners. “My mother saw the potential in my sister and myself to be young, leading businesswomen,” Lexi Lombara explains. “With Colby Davis, she encouraged me to pursue my dream of opening my own business. Working with my family, I have discovered my life purpose in leading a company that brings confidence and happiness into the lives of many women.”
Lexi Lombara offers these tips for succeeding in a family-owned business.
1. Listen to each other.
Often times when you disagree, it is easy to take the roles of parent and child. However, in business, you are equal partners. It can be advantageous to the company to have differing opinions or perspectives, so try to figure out the middle ground.
For example, in collaborating to design a new collection for Colby Davis, all three of us had different opinions about the text that ought to accompany a Celtic knot. We wanted to write something meaningful that would represent the loving bond a mother and her daughter share. Eventually, we came to an agreement.
2. Set aside specific times for family and for work.
This is hard to do, but try!
3. Understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Each person has a passion for certain aspects of the business. It is best to harness these passions. In doing so, you can also figure out how to work with the weaknesses or find out who’s strength might be another person’s weakness.
My mother, for example, is weaker on the business side. Her true passion is art and design. Thankfully, we even each other out! I love the business side — anything related to social media, web design, marketing, and advertising.
4. Allocate a role and job description to each person.
It’s best if you each specialize in what you are the best at and most passionate about. This will make the company run efficiently! I thrive when I can strategically plan, execute and see through a business plan. It’s helpful to state that explicitly in my job description.
While she does not enjoy every one of her daily responsibilities, such as accounting, Lombara does love being the leader of a company that embodies her personal values and desires, and that allows her to live out her life purpose. “My career fulfills my desire to help women feel confident and happy. Plus, I get to work with my family and I am in control of my own future,” she says.
As a young entrepreneur, Lombara has taught herself the ropes of running a business. “I have not had a mentor to look to with questions, but have worked with my mother to learn and teach myself how to grow Colby Davis. I often question if the campaign I am running will be successful or get frustrated when I fail. However, I have come to realize that what I am learning through immersing myself in the real world of business operations is far more valuable and enriching than sitting in a classroom.”
Lombara encourages other young people eager to pursue their passions to find mentors and seek guidance from others. “Any young person can tap into their life purpose through immersing themselves in what they are passionate about, while also listening to the people who mean the most to them,” she advises. “Find someone who you look up to – whether it be a celebrity, family member or teacher. This person may help you identify a part of yourself that you may not see and be a guiding hand in allowing you to find your life purpose.”