Owner and President
Hi, I'm Jay Villemarette, owner and president of Skulls Unlimited. My Wife Kim and I started Skulls Unlimited back in the summer of 1986 after I was laid off as an auto body technician. 1986 was the end of the oil boom in Oklahoma and I found myself without steady employment. Back then, I was selling a few skulls as a hobby, so I had the idea to try selling skulls as a full time job.
Most people didn't believe I could make a living from selling skulls. I remember running into friends that I hadn't seen in a while, they would ask me, "So... How is the skull business doing?" are ya "Selling any of those skulls?" Well, let's just say that many people have said I've created a market where a market hadn't existed, but I don't think that's completely true. I think I have brought skulls and skull collecting into the main stream market as well as making skulls and skeletons available to the educational community.
Back in high school, my wife once told me, "Follow your dreams!" and I have done just that. Not many people can say they get to do what they love so much, but I can. Providing osteological specimens to the world is just what I want to do. Some days when I get frustrated about things, I take a step back and ask myself what else would I rather be doing? Well, I have to say, I'm doing what I love so much; selling and collecting osteological specimens!
Why do you work at Skulls Unlimited?
I work at Skulls Unlimited because this is my way to be an educator. I married and started a family young, so I never was able to continue on to officially become an educator. Providing skulls and skeletons to the educational community is my way to be just that, a teacher. Our products have been teaching people for nearly 25 years and this is my contribution to the world.
What are some of the challenges you face at work?
Being the President of the company, several of the challenges of the job are making sure the customer is always happy. Our products are such a niche item, it is important I find how you can utilize them in the classroom.
I considered my staff to be more than just employees; I think of them as my family, so I also strive to be sure they are satisfied with their duties.
What do you like most about your job?
The most rewarding part about my job is when a customer comments on our services and products. It’s very pleasing to hear how they use our product line in the classroom.
What are some of your favorite hobbies and why?
It goes without saying skull collecting is my passion, in addition to this though, I enjoy most outdoor activities. I enjoy traveling to different countries and experiencing the adventures that come with it.
What was your first vehicle?
My first car was a 1973 puke green Mustang. I paid $600.00 for it. I had earned $400.00 from my job at Safeway and borrowed the difference from my parents.
What was your first vehicle?
My first car is my only car, my trusty 2002 Honda Accord
If you didn't work at Skulls Unlimited, what would you be doing?
Most likely if I didn’t start the company, I would have followed what I was trained for during high school which was an auto body technician.
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I’m not much into the whole “who you know or whom you’ve meet” but I enjoyed meeting Mike Rowe, he was great!
My parents tell me I was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and then in 1977 my family and I moved to Oklahoma to be closer to our family.
Favorite Travel Destinations
I have traveled to several destinations in the world, but I think my most rememberable destination was in the summer of 2007, my family and I spent 17 days in the Amazon Jungle of Peru.
Favorite Musical Genre
Considering I grew up in the 80's, it goes without saying I was a big fan of the heavy metal hair bands.
I’ve watched a fair amount of movies in my day, but I think my favorite movie would probably be The Warriors "Warriors, come out to play-ay."
Misery by Stephen King is my favorite book right now, but a close second is The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater.
I’m not much of a novel kind of guy, but if I had to choose anything it would be Walker’s Mammals of the World. There is nothing better than curling up with a good mammal book.
When you have had the great opportunity to collect as many skulls as I have, it's hard to choose just one. If I had to choose just one I would probably have to lean to the gorilla or babirusa skull, even though whale skulls come in a cool second.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." ~Baba Dioum
Favorite Sports Team
I’m not much of sports guy. I never had in interest in sports; I would rather spend my time in the field looking for animals and skulls.
Do you have any pets?
Currently we have 2 dogs, and a marmoset monkey.