Kim Shipes shares her and her mom's tradition surrounding AVD Jewelry, her mom's greatest superpower, and why Kim is thankful for the time her mom put her foot down and made her do something.
Kim, how did you first meet Anne and discover her jewelry?
My mom and I were at the Shopping Spree event in Raleigh, North Carolina. My mom bought a piece of jewelry from Anne. It was an antique glass tulip flower with lavender pearls and she loved it! And that just turned into a tradition, we’ve been going to that event for the last 15 years. Anne and Aaron are so kind and so real, we fell in love with them. We buy our Christmas presents there, and now my daughter comes with us so we have three generations shopping together!
How would you describe your style and your mom's style?
I love all of Anne's layering options and I am more earthy where my mom is more traditional. My mom loves the bright colors, so she has the watermelons, pretty purples, and bright blues. My mom has always had a love of fashion, I remember her getting Vogue when I was growing up. Her mother was actually a model for a local department store in Ohio and taught etiquette classes with the white gloves. So for my mom and I, shopping isn’t always about buying stuff, but seeing beautiful things, trying things on; it’s about the experience.
Do you have a favorite AVD piece or collection?
Every time I wear my steer skull necklace, people stop and compliment my necklace. I buy my clothes to match my jewelry. I get excited to get up in the morning and put together my outfit around the jewelry I’m going to wear. I have around 20 pieces from Anne Vaughan Designs, and now my daughter has her first one! My mom has, I think, 40 pieces. She buys mostly one-of-a-kind sets from Anne, but Rustic Creek is my favorite collection.
Do you share jewelry with your mom?
I think about 99% of the time my mom’s wearing an Anne Vaughan necklace. I
have hit her up for this one set that is set in a hammered silver casing and I love it. It's beaded all the way around the chain and there's greens and beige -- and I can't tell you how many times I'm like, ‘mom please, can you please let me wear it?!’ And she just changes the subject! She never bites! She isn't so keen on sharing that necklace.
How would you describe your mom?
Her spirit is so light, she's a positive bundle of energy. You can meet her and you feel like ya'll are old friends. When she talks to you, she makes you feel special, really looks at you and wants to know about you. She looks you in the eye and you feel like the most special person on the planet. She makes you feel seen.
What are your favorite qualities about your mom?
My mom is this beautiful mix of energy and optimism layered with realism. She’s empathetic. And she rides the wave of technology! She's on her computer and on her phone and she adapts to change. She thinks her smart phone is the best thing ever. She coordinated a zoom call with all of our family for Thanksgiving!
What’s the best advice your mom gave you?
If you don't like something that's happening in your life, change it. That advice has guided so much of my life, taking initiatives to try new things and take risks, meeting challenges head on and it has paid off. I completely started over in my career at 50 years old. I went from a job in sales to getting my real estate license.
She also knows there’s a work-life balance and making sure you pay attention to self-care. She’s always saying we need to make sure we eat well and get enough sleep, and also make sure to travel and do all the things that make life rich. You have to make it happen because this is your life and you only have one.
What did you learn from your mom just by her behavior?
I learned a lot about giving back. She spent over 20 years running a program called "Share Your Christmas" through the city of Durham (North Carolina). She worked with families who couldn’t afford the gifts and the expense of Christmas. She connected families with social workers and found donors to buy presents and wrap all the gifts. Every single year she coordinated that program, everybody got gifts and was able to celebrate Christmas. She believes if you have the means, you should give back.
What is your mom's greatest superpower?
Her strength. There were more traditional roles when I was growing up: my mom had to balance the needs of her 3 kids, running carpool for her kids, have all the food on the table, house cleaned, go to work, and she was a confidant for me and my friends. That was a tremendous amount of work! My husband and I both share the work, and it just shows the power and strength she had to juggle everything. An even greater role she took on was caregiver for my dad. The way she cared for my dad when he was dying of Alzheimer’s; she managed it all herself, helped with feeding him and making our home safe for him. When he didn't recognize people, it was gut-wrenching -- but she really did so much. She's a strong woman, and doesn't even realize how strong she is.
What’s a little-known fact about your mom?
She loves the show, ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ and she laughs hysterically every time she watches it! I think she loves the Moira/mother character, the outspoken women with no filter. She would sit and watch that show for hours and finally I had to go watch it and see what she found so funny. She's a big PBS-watcher and travel shows, so ‘Schitt’s Creek’ was a show so out-of-character for her. But she’s a cheerleader for women paving their own way, so it does make sense why she loves it so much.
Did your mom ever tell you “no” and you were actually glad she did?
The night before I was supposed to go to college, I decided I wasn't going. It was fear; I hadn't lived far from home before and my mom identified early on that it was important for a woman to have a college degree, and she said you are 100% going to college and you're going to be fine. And my mom made sure I went. She told me it would be scary, but I'd find my place. And she was right. I fell in love with every element of college. I joined a sorority and I was a leader, and I found out a lot about who I was as a person. I was hell-bent on not going to college and she put her foot down and I'm glad she did. She knew it was important that you have your own experiences and find yourself outside of the family, make friends, and that it would be a valuable experience. Now I'm doing that with my daughter who's seventeen.
What’s a funny story about your mom that always makes you laugh?
One time, we went to Starbucks and she tried a chai tea latte, and I don't know if it was the combination of caffeine and sugar, but she talked non-stop for 2 hours! It was the funniest thing ever! She literally talked and talked and talked, about what she did that week, and what had been going on, it was all about her and it was hilarious! She stole the show, we laughed so hard, and I still laugh about it.
Also, when she tries to use Siri, she gives too many details when asking Siri a question, like it's her personal assistant. I’m always like, ‘mom, Siri needs to know LESS details!’ And now that we’ve hooked her whole house up to Alexa, it's pretty comical to listen to her telling Alexa to turn on the music and everything else. She gets way too detailed and Alexa gets confused. Alexa is always like, ‘I don't understand.’ My mom likes details, but Alexa is not equipped for my mom’s details!
What is something meaningful your mom did without being asked?
Many years back I had a children’s boutique online. I found artists on Etsy and purchased from them and this was my creative outlet that turned into a business. My mom helped me and knitted beautiful baby sweaters and blankets for toddlers. She would go to art shows with me and became my unofficial partner. She just wanted to help me grow this business. She was there for almost every single show and wholeheartedly supported me. Even my dad would come and he’d wear our little candy-color striped apron! I enjoyed it so much more because my parents were involved. For me that was just really, really special.
What is one way your mom shows she cares?
She bakes! She bakes cookies for my son; chocolate chip oatmeal are his favorite and she sends those off with him to college. Everybody asks her for her pumpkin bread. She makes angel pie that is THE BEST! It's a lemon meringue pie like nothing you've ever tried; sweet and tart, it is the most unbelievably light dessert. She's known for this pie. You have to be very special for mom to make angel pie for you because she has to be on her feet for hours to make it. She makes it for my birthday. It's my favorite thing on the planet.
What are your plans for Mother’s Day?
Every Mother's Day we're at my house and do a brunch or party. We make homemade waffles, whipped cream, that's our tradition. I would not be out of town for a Mother's Day; we celebrate it every year. Gifts are not my mom's "love language." The only thing we really give each other is Anne Vaughan jewelry! Really, truly we do give each other Anne's jewelry as gifts! Quality time and personal touches are important to us.
What are you most grateful for this Mother's Day?
We’re all close. My kids are in love with their grandmother and they are a part of each other’s everyday lives. My mom lives closeby and we have dinner every Sunday at our house. It's about being together, honoring her, and once I became a mom, just being super thankful. When you’re younger, you think, ‘I have so much time.’ After having lost a father, you really take advantage of every opportunity. And I'm mindful about soaking in every moment.