I am beyond excited to introduce you to a diversely talented friend, artist, designer, entrepreneur, and creative genius, Jane Winchester Paradis.
Janie and I are actually sorority sisters from a few years ago (long ago) at Rollins College. After years of designing for other brands she has now created a stunning line of jewelry full of heart, sentimentality and history.
These talismans are modern with a nod to the past that can be layered, collected, and gifted. They are the perfect Valentine’s Day gift to give a loved one, friend or yourself.
Enjoy getting to know
What is your training?
Rollins College? Does that count? Graduating with an Art History degree and having worked in galleries and interned at Christie’s I thought I was destine for the art world.
But I graduated and went straight to NYC and into fashion. My training came by the way of incredible female bosses…from learning how to make product at Adrienne Vittadini, to marketing/pr at Calvin Klein and Barneys. N 1998ish I started my own line of accessories called Buzz by Jane Fox and designed, produced and marketed ‘preppy’ accessories for about 10 years. With the notoriety of the Jane Fox line I was lucky enough to receive a call from Lilly Pulitzer and I closed my brand to help Lilly launch accessories. My true training came from the incredible positions I held at Lilly, from launching accessories, jewelry and footwear, to Fashion Director managing print and color and finally building the marketing team as the SVP of Marketing and Communications. LOVED every second but woke-up one morning and knew I had learned so much about building a business, that it was time to do it again for myself, enter Jane Winchester.
What inspires you and your designs?
I have been obsessed with jewelry since birth. After designing the Lilly Pulitzer jewelry collection for a bit, I knew I adored the entire process from vintage inspiration to sketch to production. As I developed the concept for Jane Winchester, I looked through my vintage and realized I had collected so many pieces with coins, so many gypsy-chic looking styles. Think: massive chandelier earrings with little coins that jingle.
So I started researching gypsy-jewelry and fell in love. The nomad would take their money – coins – and sew them onto their clothes and turn them into their jewelry. It was a way to transport their wealth. I realized along the way – in my 40’s and having kids, been married, divorced and remarried…that my wealth does not come from money but from these incredible life experiences. So I designed a collection of 8 coins to commemorate milestones in your life. I took about a month and traveled, sketching the LOVE pendant while in Capri. Drawing the FOREVER pendant in Rome. Coming up with the JOY pendant while surfing with my kids in Montauk.
What is your favorite piece?
IMPOSSIBLE. Because each design comes from a moment I have experienced I literally can’t choose because their meaning TOGETHER – makes up my life. But I adore FREE. When I got divorced I was so sad and then over time I found myself. I had a ‘revenge body’ moment, was so connected to my kids – so driven to build a new life. And I felt free…the butterfly in that pendant is one of my favorite designs and that moment in my life brought me so much happiness out of sadness. I wear FREE layered with a million other necklaces with other charms that mean things to me; a vintage Cartier key engraved with the number 7 and some crystal hearts from a Barneys Jewelry designer names Kazuko. My vibe is always more/everything mixed together.
Wait, and one more. I just designed some gorgeous hoop earrings from the LOVE coin. The Quatrefoil is cut into the hoop and it’s got that gypsy-vibe. I’m just launching these for Valentine’s Day so you’re the first to see them.
How has your area influenced your work?
I am an east coast gypsy and I travel a lot, so influence has some from all over. I grew-up in Georgia, went to boarding school in Massachusetts, college in Winter Park FL, back to NYC and now live outside Philadelphia. I am never in one place long, with lots of trips to Miami, Italy – I’m writing this while packing for Costa Rica. Every place influences me. Philadelphia has been a surprise as I didn’t know much about the area when I moved – ten years later and I am in love with the area and so so PHILLY PROUD. It’s an incredible place to raise a family with tons of history and style.
What is your favorite restaurant in Philadelphia?
Philadelphia has lots of great restaurants, it is a foodie city. Hard to pick just one but for anyone coming to visit, I would say Parc is bustling and fun, located right on the historic Rittenhouse Square.
When I’m in the suburbs 😊 I LIVE FOR PIZZA, and nothing is better than Friday nights with Paola’s pizza at our kitchen island with our five kids and their friends. It’s loud and the service is questionable but I always have the best time.
What is your favorite cocktail?
Peach Bellini. The first time I was overserved (age 15?) was at Harry’s Bar in Venice – their Bellini’s were so soooooo so good. Despite that wild night and shaky morning, Bellini’s are still my favorite.
How do you balance personal life and work?
Such a good question. When I was working at Lilly Pulitzer I outsourced and had tons of help. I got everything ‘done’ but I realized my mind was on work when I was at dinner with my kids…and when I was in a meeting at work I was texting to make sure everyone had gotten home from school. I really struggled with it. As I start this new business I have had more freedom to build my work life around my family life. My youngest daughter Tiki (age 13) is in 8th grade and I pick her up every day. I am allowing myself to be in the moment with her before she goes off to college. I am allowing myself to build meaningful relationships with friends that I didn’t have time for in the past. It’s been magic. I know as Jane Winchester grows I will have to continue to fight to put my family and self first while also devoting huge amounts of energy to the company. So. I balance it as best I can. Trying. Enter peach bellini’s when I get it all wrong.
ALWAYS Capri, Italy. I’ve been visiting since I was a kid and last year we took the whole family. My dream is to rent an apartment there for a month every year. This is a dream I plan on making sure comes true.
Not an exact answer but…
As I have started selling the jewelry I am most rewarded by those who buy the PEACE pendant. It was designed as a touchstone to remember someone you have lost. My Dad died about 5 years ago and I miss him terribly. Having a piece of jewelry that you can hold on to, that makes you feel like that person is with you, gives me great comfort. I have received so many wonderful notes from people who connect with the meaning behind the PEACE design and I am so happy and honored I can help give them something to honor their loved one.
Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?
I loooove love love to give gifts and gift-wrapping is one of my favorite things. So it’s not just the gift, but the time spent making it look special. Ironically jewelry has always been one of my favorite gifts but now that I am selling jewelry I don’t like to give it away. Building off my favorite cocktail, a bottle of champagne and a 6 pack of the Cipriani Bellini mixer is fun, along with a hand-drawn sketch. I also will get the MOST delicious sticky-buns from the farmers market so the hostess can easily serve breakfast; we have got to get over the ban on carbs!
Who is your style icon?
Diane Von Furstenberg for so many reasons – she loves color and print, she knows how to wrap and layer, she wears great jewelry.
Your favorite up and coming artist?
I’m so bad at this one. I don’t know who is up and coming, who has made it and who has faded from the spotlight. I went to Art Basel last year and adored it so much I never wanted to leave, so so inspiring. Some of my favorites are Marcel Dzama
and the Jack Pierson.
What is your most treasured possession?
I can’t pick.
I have a gold and diamond Tiffany barrette from my grandmother Jane Winchester, I am named after her and clearly named my company in her honor. It’s so special and unique. Here’s a picture of it on the Winchester silver along with a note from my great great great great grandmother Jane Winchester, who passed it to my grandmother Jane Winchester.
A quirky runner up? I have a pink carved crayon by the artist Diem Chau. I keep in it my office and a special box I had made to holt it.
What are you reading?
Garbage! I am terrible. I read all the time but it’s all candy-coated history. Please do not judge. I like anything that takes place in Italy 1600’s to 1900’s, anything that involves art history and every love story.
What are you listening to?
Fleetwood Mac always and forever.
What are your favorite blogs / publications?
Check out these beauties…
Jane Winchester www.janewinchester.com
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