Whether it was rearranging and painting her bedroom furniture as a child, or, as an adult, helping her church friends “fluff” their homes, Jackie Skinner was always the type of person who had an eye for improving things. After years of friends calling her to help them shop for furniture and decorate their homes, Jackie dreamed of a “one–stop shop” where she could continue to help friends and take on more clients.
With encouragement from family and peers, she opened a small storefront in downtown Tuscaloosa in 2007, carrying home decor, accessories, and some furniture. In 2009, the store moved to a strip mall in Northport, AL, offering more square footage and the footprint to carry custom upholstery as well. In 2019, Jackie purchased the building and surrounding property of a nursery and landscaping business that had been a long–time staple in Tuscaloosa, and, after renovating, opened the new 15,000 square foot location in early March 2020 – the week COVID shut the world down. Despite an inopportune opening date, Jackie of All Trades is flourishing, and the retail store and showroom have expanded their offerings to more design-focused products. Located at 251 Rice Mine Road NE, shoppers can find custom window treatments, custom rugs, fabrics, wallpapers, lighting, artwork, home decor, and gifts. “It has been a fantastic move for us, and the new location has increased our walk-in traffic and future opportunities to expand tremendously”, states Allison Thomas, a designer at Jackie of All Trades Furniture and Design.
In addition to changes in location and merchandise over the last sixteen years, Jackie’s team and client portfolio have evolved, as well. With three full-time designers (Jackie, Allison, and Libby) and multiple retail staff and design assistants, the team is now taking on long-distance projects in addition to local jobs. “We stay busy at the coast, and we have completed projects in Lake Oswego, OR, Manhattan Beach, CA, Greenwich, CT, Orlando, FL, Ardmore, OK…the list goes on!”, reports Thomas. Many Jackie of All Trades customers engage design services for second homes whether they are game–day condos in Tuscaloosa or vacation homes at the beach, farm, or mountains, where the client cannot always be onsite to oversee every detail. Thomas is quick to point out that, if desired, Jackie of All Trades offers truly turn-key services from beginning to end; upon the completion of one such project, their customer remarked, “All I had to do was flip the light switch on when I arrived!”
A major passion project for Jackie and her team has been a partnership with the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes’ ministry. In 2017, Jackie was connected to the new Family Care Home in Mobile, a state-of-the-art facility where single mothers and their children can live while they get back on their feet. Jackie of All Trades helped furnish apartments and common areas for “Grace’s House of Hope”. Then, in 2019, when Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes was renovating their Birmingham office and expanding the facility to include a Pathways Professional Counseling wing, Jackie of All Trades stepped in once again to provide office and conference furniture, artwork, and other design elements. Their partnership stands strong today.
At the root of every project – whether big or small, near or far, secular or missional – is a strong emphasis on personal relationships. Initial design clients often tend to become repeat design clients for secondary homes or offices due to the staff’s seamless communication and go-the-extra-mile attitudes. Clients become friends (with high referral rates), and this applies to showroom customers as well. Thomas shares that “it is so beneficial for us to have familiar faces working when ‘regulars’ come in. We strive for personal relationships with our customers and hope they are greeted by a familiar and friendly face who knows something about their style and preferences each time they come in.”
From a small living room refresh in Tuscaloosa to revamping the Tri Delta house at Samford University, from furnishing office waiting rooms to an entire vacation home installation in Jackson Hole, Jackie of All Trades can do it all!