In the mid 1970s, I was introduced to one of the most talented people I have ever met, Lynette Epps. I don’t think there’s anything that Lyn can’t do, from jewelry to construction, and everything in-between. At that time Lynette was an airline stewardess aka flight attendant for TWA – Trans World Airlines. I was looking to supplement my new braiding business and thought being a flight attendant would be adventurous and fun. A mutual friend introduced us, but at the time I was wearing my hair in long extension braids with beads so needless to say, TWA did not hire me.
While on a flight, Lynette met an African passenger who approached her going into business with him, importing and selling goods from Africa. Always one with impeccable taste Lynette took her African wares to high-end shows around the city. I still have my collection of tightly woven baskets I acquired from Lyn, forty years later, and they continue to look striking. From there, Lynette and her then-husband Harlan opened a shop in South Street Seaport called Damali. Damali offered top-quality accessories, avant-garde jewelry designed and made by Lynette and Harlan, unique watches, belts, handbags, travel bags etc.
Lyn and Harlan eventually closed their shop and went into construction and contracting business, and were the contractors that built out Khamit Kinks TriBeCa. Years later, Lyn and I became estranged. But as fate would have it, I ran into Lynette this past August on the ferry headed to Martha’s Vineyard. This was serendipity because I initially was booked to take the ferry three days prior, and was upset that I had to postpone my trip. You never know why things happen; that’s why it pays to be cool and go with the flow. Had I not had to postpone my journey, it’s more than likely I wouldn’t have met up with Lyn this time around.
We picked right back up as though 20 years hadn’t passed since we had last seen one another. Give Thanks that the heart heals and forgiveness if real. Lyn loves to entertain, so with the holidays on the horizon, I asked Lyn if I could do a holiday pop-up at her gorgeous home in Inglewood, NJ. She took it one step further, deciding to do a holiday party where I will showcase my wares, and she has ordered gifts for 53 friends and family who will be joining in on the festivities. You read right, fifty-three friends and family, and not just one item per-person, in most instances, several items per person. Before I could make this post live, she had reached out to say more friends have RSVP, so she needs more gifts. Wowzers!
I am just flabbergasted. Talking with Lyn over the phone after she sent me this long list of friends, I was moved to tears. Lyn played it off, saying, “Now I don’t have to go out shopping, and in turn, I can support your business, Anu Essentials.” I’ve never heard of such. I asked Lyn if she purchases this many gifts every Christmas season and she said she does. She likes to give those she knows and love a gift, even if it’s just a little something to let them know even though they may not see each other often, that she loves them and thinks of them. Swoon! How beautiful.
Talking about a big-hearted! No wonder Lyn always has a smile on her face that looks like it emanates straight from her heart. No wonder Lyn has found her perfect soul-mate who treats her like a queen and allows her to live a life of leisure.
When Lynette’s mother passed, she was only 16, but she says her mom knowing she was dying, taught her daughter how to take care of herself, a household, and her younger siblings. Lyn has always had a caring and giving heart. I am so very blessed that our paths crossed again, and we had the opportunity to put gold in the cracks of our friendship and make something even more beautiful out of the friendship we once had. I am reminded of the beauty of giving; I am inspired by Lynette and her huge heart, her generosity, and giving ways. Thank you, Lyn!