The day after the launch of her new Fallon B. collection, I met Fallon Bock at her family’s Clearfork Bachendorf’s store in Fort Worth to discuss what it means to carry on a family legacy in business in DFW. I felt especially compelled to meet with her because, now in its third generation, Fort Worth Key Magazine is a local family legacy business, too.
We discussed the rich history of Bachendorf’s and the tenacity of Fallon’s family, most notably her grandfather who was liberated from Dachau during the Holocaust. Fallon talked about her inspiration when designing her own line, the best business advice she’s ever received, the latest brand to be carried at Bachendorf’s (Messika), and a couple of jewelry trends that have got to go.
Bailey Powell Aldrich (Fort Worth Key Magazine): Tell me about Bachendorf’s. How did it start with your family?
Fallon Bock (Bachendorf’s): We were in the diamond business in Lithuania. My family was in the Holocaust. My grandfather’s cousins had migrated to A&M previously, and they were in General Patton’s army, went to get everyone from Dachau, picked up my grandfather, and brought him to Dallas. Then he continued doing the diamond importing. We were the first diamond importer in Texas. We were on Commerce Street right across from Neiman Marcus. We started their bridal business, basically, with all the diamonds. You could walk across the street.
In 1948 we had our first storefront, and Bachendorf’s was established. That was my grandfather, and then my father [began] working in the business and he’s done a phenomenal job. What’s great about it is that he never forced me into it, I kind of decided on my own. I went to [Gemological Institute of America] in New York—graduate Gemologist degree—and then worked for one of our diamond partners there, sorted melee which is the really small diamonds, and then I worked for another part of our luxury jewelry store group in Princeton, New Jersey. I worked under their buyer who is incredible, and then I came back here two weeks before Covid.
BPA: Did you go to college?
FB: I went to SMU.
BPA: Were you wanting to do something with fashion with your degree, jewelry-specific? Or were you just fashion in general?
FB: I had a couple degrees; I was also an anthropology major. With the study in linguistics and migration patterns, originally I wanted to do marine biology and go to Scripps or Charleston. I went to a Vegas show with my dad and we were walking around—this was my first show where I was old enough to realize what was going on—and vendors were leaving appointments to come talk to him and try to get him into their booth for five seconds. That’s how much trust and power and respect he has, and I was like, “Oh, I can’t let this family legacy go. We need to keep this going.” It holds such a power in the industry. Someone needs to uphold it. It was an “aha” moment where I was like, “Okay, this is really important to our family and our roots in Dallas.”
BPA: When you were little, were you a girly-girl?
FB: I grew up in the equestrian world, so no.
BPA: You’re a horse girl.
FB: I grew up in the barn. That’s actually how I know the Clearfork manager, because her daughter and I were in the horse show circuit together. So, deep roots with Fort Worth and the equestrian world. My barn comes to the Will Rogers Stadium, and that kind of stuff. I was very sports-heavy. I did competitive tennis, as well, all through college. I was moreso an athlete.
BPA: So you weren’t playing Pretty Pretty Princess. What’s special about Messika?
FB: We love the brand, and it’s a very strong woman. She does a lot of diamonds in motion. She disrupted the industry with that, where the diamonds were actually moving, which is really cool. There are price points for everyone.
We’re very big on relationships—clients and vendors. You have to love who you’re working around. We want someone who’s trustworthy and we can move forward with, and [Messika is] the perfect partner. It’s something different; we don’t have anything like it in the store, which is something else we look at. It fits in nicely and gives our clients something new that no one else has.
BPA: It seems like you guys keep a very tight edit of the brands you carry.
FB: Yes. That’s definitely on purpose.
BPA: Would you say it’s about a brand’s ethos and integrity, how they move through the industry, and not solely about jewelry?
FB: Yeah! I also think sustainability is becoming a huge topic in the fashion world, and we’re looking to brands who want to be sustainable moving forward. And also traceability, where you can actually know where the diamonds are coming from. Who you’re supporting is huge.
BPA: In terms of sustainability, is that repurposing vintage jewelry? What does that entail?
FB: Whether it’s recycled gold, repurposing—which we do a lot of, or just the packaging they use. Trend has a shelf life; style lives forever. We look to something that’s not just a trend. To me, this style will be here for a long time. Even the paperclip chain, there are talks in the industry of it dying, it was a trend, but it’s almost on the edge of style because it’s lasted for so long. People love it. The 90s are coming back. It’s all cyclical.
BPA: Is there a trend you’ve hated? Pray tell.
FB: The lab grown I think is a horrible moment. This industry’s not supporting it. The prices are going down every week. Last week we got reports in India they’re just throwing them on the streets because they’re worthless. How much it takes to even produce is really bad for the environment. The other thing kind of already died, but laser-drilled diamonds where it’s floating, there’s no setting, I just think you’re destroying something that took two billion years in the earth to form. You’re drilling a hole through it to put metal through it… it wasn’t for me. There are ways of making metal where it’s delicate enough and doesn’t destroy the beauty of the diamond.
BPA: Your line has been years in the making. Did you just launch?
FB: I launched my line October 21, 2021. My new collection [just] launched, and they actually have names, which was hard for me. There are 12 different collections, but the Alice, which is the bi-color bezel set chandelier earrings, are super popular. We kind of have two categories: essentials and glamour. Essentials is your tennis bracelet, your circle pendant, the stuff you wear every single day. Glamour is one-of-a-kind. I don’t know if I can get those stones again to recreate that piece. Glamour, think of more cocktail or night on the town.
BPA: Where does your inspiration come from? Is it travel, are you watching fashion show recaps, are you looking at vintage stuff?
FB: It’s travel… my boyfriend and I go to St. Augustine a lot. It’s the [tonality] from that, the shades of blue obviously work very well in markets like Texas—Cowboys. So, hues of blue. I actually look at people walking down the street and design for their personality. I’ll see someone walking and I’m like okay, if I were going to dress them for an event, what do I think they would wear?
BPA: That gal could use a dangly earring.
FB: Yeah, or her neck is beautiful and long, we should show it off so we put X on her. It’s interesting.
BPA: If you had to describe the perfect Fallon B. girl, who is she? What’s she up to?
FB: Packed schedule—I think someone who goes from in the morning running to grab her coffee to going straight into work, battling the world, taking meetings, getting things done off her checklist, then going right into a cocktail hour, or going from work straight to happy hour. Someone who’s super confident and wants to wear something you can’t find elsewhere, something that’s unique and different… and they’re not afraid of color, something where people will come up to them and ask them questions about it. Someone who’s not afraid to not wear branded moments, not all designer like this (points to Louis Vuitton bag). A touch of “Wow, what is that?”
BPA: Do you have an all-time favorite piece of Fallon B. jewelry?
FB: There are some pieces that are special in different ways because my grandfather actually picked the stones, so they were in a cabinet and now I’m just repurposing them.
There’s actually a collection that’s called the Ashley, that’s my middle name, and it’s just trilliants, which is a triangle. It’s very architectural and meant for light to come in the stone and play, and it looks like they’re floating, almost. It’s been really surprising to me. I do half-bezels—remember the bezel I showed you?
BPA: It’s laborious.
FB: Yes, so it’s halfway around. That’s what’s special about Fallon B. We really worked hard to produce it in a way that no one does to really showcase the color stones more than anything.
BPA: I want to know what your favorite personal piece of jewelry is. An heirloom, or something special.
FB: My great-grandfather, the last thing that he ever set, we have it in the vault, and I think I have to go with that. It’s really cool, it’s almost like a globe of diamonds, it’s like a bubble, and it sits up like this tall (motions high above finger). It’s a ring.
BPA: What’s your next jewelry purchase?
FB: I really like the Messika floating diamond in yellow gold.
BPA: What do you think about mixed metals?
FB: I do it everyday! No rules. I think you should wear what you love, and it shouldn’t matter. I do think for certain outfits, it’s either all yellow or all white, but I think if it’s a casual day, and you’re going to brunch with a friend, you want to wear your watch and these earrings, you should do it.
BPA: What’s your perfect day in Fort Worth?
FB: Have you been to this Mexican restaurant, Don Artemio? It’s so good. We just went there a month ago, very good, the staff was incredible. They have these cactus tacos…
BPA: Excellent call. Okay, so, we’re going to Don Artemio on your perfect day, what else are we doing?
FB: There are definitely other restaurants I want to try, because Fort Worth is so booming in that area. I went to the Stockyards for the first time the day we went to Don Artemio. Botanical Gardens and the museums… I’m a big museum person from the anthropology world, and obviously stopping at Clearfork. I think the shopping center has the best shopping outside of Highland Park Village, and it’s wonderful that it’s outside. Rise is one of my favorite restaurants—LOVE Rise—and obviously, stopping in [Bachendorf’s]!
BPA: If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would you tell her?
FB: It would probably be horse-related (laughs). I would say “Don’t hold the reigns too tight. It’ll be fine, it’ll work out, it’ll be good.” My trainer used to tell me this all the time cause I would be so focused. “Just start singing! Sing a song, and start laughing, and you’ll be fine.” And then it was like, a perfect round.
BPA: Horses sense that kind of stuff, too. They’re so intelligent and special in that way. I love all the work horses can do with people with autism.
FB: We give a lot to Equest. I actually donated a horse to Equest, and that was my bat mitzvah charity. Yeah, don’t hold the reigns too tight. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
BPA: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
FB: I don’t remember who told me this, and I don’t remember the exact verbiage, but it was something along the lines of “let the people who are excellent in that field do that for you,” like, let the pros handle it. For example, if the jeweler is telling me something is not structurally sound, I’m not gonna tell them that I know better than them. I’m gonna listen to them. So I think listening to the people around you is important.
BPA: Letting people, wherever their strong suit is, take the reigns, to go with the horse theme.
FB: Yes! Absolutely.
For more information on Bachendorf’s, visit www.bachendorfs.com.
For more shopping destinations in Fort Worth, check out Fort Worth Key Magazine.