I’m so excited to share a new installment in my Maison Ray Muse series today — the series shares interviews with women who inspire me in their work, their lives, and their philosophies on what it means to live boldly, unapologetically, and with style.
Today’s Muse is Dee Robbins, the founder of her own consulting firm, Dee Robbins Consulting, where she works with a wide range of professional sports teams on international travel. Dee also happens to have wonderful style (and a growing jewelry collection!), and her travels and verve for life, exploration, and discovery inspire me every time I’m with her. Hope you enjoy the interview!
At what point did you start your business, Dee Robbins Consulting?
I left America West Airlines in 1998 (where I managed the Charter Sales & Service department) to help start Sports Jet. At Sports Jet, I worked with Jerry Colangelo and his ownership groups, who then owned both the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks. In my time there we brought on a 737-400 aircraft in VIP configuration for both teams’ charter travel. This was cutting edge in those days, and our Arizona teams were some of the first to travel in an all-first class configured aircraft. I helped get the company up and running, and then—due to interest from other teams—started my business in 2001. Fast forward 17+ years and here I am, working with a wide variety of sport teams and Leagues for teams’ international travel, an industry which has grown exponentially over the past decade.
Was there a woman that inspired or influenced you to start your own business?
I had several female mentors (Joette Schmidt, VP Sales and Linda Mitchell, General Counsel) during my tenure at America West Airlines who helped me gain the confidence I needed to make the leap to leave the airline I was part of since the inception in 1983 to go on to bigger and better things. I would never have dreamed 20 years ago that I would be an entrepreneur and have my own business.
At what point did you become interested in jewelry?
I’ve always loved accessorizing and bracelets have always been my thing! Meeting Gayle Ray inspired me even more because she is always so “put together” — from wearing jeans with jewelry all the way up to cocktail attire. She taught me to mix and match, pairing old with new, and expensive pieces with costume jewelry.
What inspires or informs your search for jewelry? Do you usually have something in mind or do you acquire what speaks to you at the time?
I have come to appreciate the antique pieces and have purchased several over the years that I love and plan to pass down to my nieces so they stay in the family. Every piece of antique jewelry is both well made and comes with an inherit story, which I love.
What comes first; the outfit or the jewelry?
I think in my case the outfit…that said, thanks to my growing jewelry collection I now have a lot more fun with my jewelry and have learned to branch out and experiment!
What do you consider to be style no matter how much time passes?
The little black dress never goes out of style. You can do so much with dressing it up or down with accessories and jewelry.
Is there a piece or type of jewelry that is your “go-to”?
Being a native Arizonian, I have always loved turquoise and silver Native American jewelry. My new favorite piece is a custom designed inlay cuff with ironwood, black coral, red coral, turquoise, lapis, serpentine, and howelite made by Navajo artist Harold Stevens, Jr.
I’d love to work with you on a custom commissioned work like I’ve done with Dee and many other clients and friends; if you’re interested in having a one-of-a-kind piece created just for you, please send me an email!