Interviews

The Interview — Jane Winchester Paradis, Founder of Jane Winchester

Founder of Jane Winchester

Meet Jane Winchester Paradis, the founder of Jane Winchester. After working in fashion design and marketing for 20 years Jane left her corporate job with a dream to design beautiful jewelry with meaning. A Jane Winchester piece is a talisman for milestone moments and a reminder to focus on all you hope to achieve in life. Her collection is made up of 8 amulets symbolizing abundance of positivity, strength, hope, and luck. Jane currently resides outside Philadelphia with her husband and five children. For more on Jane and her gypsy-inspired coin jewelry, be sure to follow @janewinchesterjewelry on Instagram!

May 10, 2019

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R&S

How did you get started in your career and what led you to launch your own jewelry line:

Jane

I started in fashion what seems like a million years ago (think fax machines) and was lucky enough to work for Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Barneys New York, and then Lilly Pulitzer…incredible training. I started my jewelry line Jane Winchester when I realized that I wanted to start a brand from scratch and for my kids to see me do it—so they know anything is possible. 

R&S

Biggest challenge you faced when first starting your business and how did you overcome this obstacle:

Jane

Just one big obstacle? There have been a million. But I guess it is the thought of constant obstacles—and having to be resilient. There was a time when I became negative and let the issues get in my head. That was wrong. I learned about a year in that you have to push beyond the negativity, the nay-sayers, the rejection, the blunders. You have to learn from the experiences and move on. Think of the future brand and build it step by step. Every once and a while look back at how far you have come, and you laugh at the small obstacles that felt like such a big deal.

View Jane's Essentials

R&S

Walk us through a typical work day:

Jane

I have THE BEST DAYS. I wake up early, make two eggs for my daughter Tiki (the youngest of 5, everyone else is away at school), drive her to school, go to the gym, get outside for at least 30 minutes and then—work day starts. I spend lots of days in NYC choosing stones with the lapidary, working with casters, developing new pieces and managing production. Every day I write notes to customers that I include in the shipments going out. It’s my favorite part of my job—a simple note of thanks to every customer. And then… I crash. Make dinner, read, bubble bath, fall asleep standing up.

R&S

What inspires your designs:

Jane

I have always been an artist, and I create illustrations constantly. I started with eight coin designs inspired by gypsy coin jewelry. So it’s a marriage on my illustrations, put into coins (that means double-sided) and developing them into pieces to be treasured. 

R&S

Who has had the biggest impact on your career:

Jane

There was a consultant that I worked with while at Lilly Pulitzer named Gordon Thompson (in his past life he was creative director at Cole Haan). I was a handbag designer at the time but starting to lead more within the company. I had a sign on my computer that read ‘I’m too pretty to do math’…and he turned to me and said: "Janie don’t play dumb, because you are not." And I think as a ‘girl’ I thought I should be cute and funny—but not smart and savvy. What he said changed me and gave me the confidence to stretch my brain, assert myself, and teach the women I would lead later in my career to do the same.

R&S

What do you love most about your work:

Jane

I love when people connect with a pendant. It literally makes me cry. I was working at a trunk show and a woman held my hand and said, "I have been looking for a change and this pendant (the compass design) is my touchstone to finding my center and moving forward after loss." I am very lucky because people are connecting, and I get to hear their incredible stories.

R&S

Favorite piece of jewelry you own:

Jane

Impossible to pick a favorite. My grandmother Jane Winchester wore an 18k gold barrette with six diamonds and gorgeous etching, it’s from Tiffany circa 1920. It’s more like hair jewelry, but it’s so special and unique. And my everyday Cartier trinity band... I adore my husband so much—it’s the perfect wedding ring for me. 

R&S

Your go-­to power outfit:

Jane

Always a dress. Something feminine, usually printed and flowy. I add a cool colored shoe or studded belt. I layer on loads – of – jewelry. I think the ‘power’ comes from the jewelry.

R&S

What apps and gadgets can’t you live without:

Jane

I’m an app addict. My Google Keep keeps me from forgetting anything (my brain is a sieve). Latest download? The Dawn Chorus – designed by the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburg so you can make custom bird song alarms. I’m a bird nerd.

R&S

What’s the most exciting thing in your life right now:

Jane

I am feeling like the best mom I have ever been. I adore being the mom of teenagers and I think I’m better at it than babies. It feels really good. I was so scared of teenagers—and that was a miss. They are really fun.

Professionally—wow. Business is doubling, and I see it tripling. We are shipping our gorgeous jewelry all over the US every single day, and people never want to take off their pendants. It’s TRULY EXCITING.

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