MEET THE BRAND: JANE WIN JEWELRY
Our collections are filled with beautiful products from niche brands, each with their own unique story. This week, we're introducing you to the inspiring Jane Winchester Paradis, the woman behind our favorite meaningful jewelry collections.
Below, Jane shares how she took the leap to launching her own brand, where she finds inspiration for new jewelry designs, and how she's spending her summer.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU STARTED JANE WIN JEWELRY?
It’s a bit of a long story. I held positions at Calvin Klein Cosmetics and Barneys New York before starting my own accessory line, Buzz by Jane Fox. We were in over 100 retailers. It was an absolute grind and so much fun. I learned so much, but eventually started thinking that I wanted a little less grind and a little more…stability. Around that time, my accessory line caught the eye of the Lilly Pulitzer team, who convinced me to move to Philadelphia and launch their accessory collection. During my 11 years at Lilly Pulitzer, I launched handbags, jewelry, and footwear, before eventually becoming Fashion Director, where I set the themes and colors for the brand. I later moved into the role of SVP of Creative Communications and Marketing.
Working for Lilly Pulitzer was one of the greatest gifts for a couple reasons. First and foremost: Lilly herself. The spirit of that woman gave me a lot of confidence to be ME. She clearly loved color and print (as did I) but more importantly she held those who were truly "themselves" in the highest regard. That has stayed with me – Jane Win is a unique brand with a point of view. We love connecting with customers through the designs and the meaning behind them, and Lilly would have LOVED THAT.
The second reason working at Lilly Pulitzer was such a life-changing moment for me is that I was "trained" under two Harvard Business School grads (who were then-CEO and president, owners of the Lilly brand) and they took so much time to teach me the "business side of things." We did all the background work to make sure the FUN of the brand was built on a solid foundation of business planning. Without them, Jane Win would not exist; I would not have the business foundation needed to start a brand from scratch if they had not taken me under their wing. It’s such a lesson in paying it forward.
After being there more than 11 years (that’s a long time!) I started to get a little itch. I wanted to create something for me – a brand that connected with people. And that’s where the story of Jane Win begins…
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE YOUR MEANINGFUL JEWELRY? HOW DID YOU TAKE THE LEAP TO LAUNCHING YOUR OWN BRAND?
In 2017, I went to the Women’s March in Washington DC with my two daughters and I realized that, while I LOVED my job at Lilly Pulitzer, I had been there 11 years and I wanted to build something. I wanted to create something from scratch, something original that connected with women…and I wanted my kids to see me do it (and help!).
I knew I wanted there to be meaning behind each piece. I knew some of the words I would use. I knew that I would make everything feel very special, from the quality of the coin to the beautiful packaging. I knew that it would be a company that is predominantly online so I could build a relationship with people across the country.
I started playing with the list of words we would bring to life. I drew the first coins on a trip to Italy. I worked with a caster on Philadelphia's Jewelers' Row to create the samples. We had a launch party in December 2018 where ALL my friends showed up for me and our entire family worked together at the event to talk about the collection (which consisted of only 8 coins at that time!).
I launched the company because I wanted to be a role model for my own kids, so they could see someone build something from scratch. Many ask - why coin jewelry? I was inspired by the Roma people in Europe circa 1900 and their coin jewelry. These nomads created jewelry from their money. It was meant for more than adornment: it was a decorative method of transporting their wealth. They showed off what they had with their jewelry. I realized that my own wealth is based on life experiences rather than my finances. I wanted to "show off" these milestone moments that make us who we are. The coins allow us to mark an occasion and also have something to hold on to. They're a physical reminder of a memory or event.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU?
Well, it always starts with COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE! I would say I have a little bit of an addiction. I like to exercise daily so if I can, I try to start my morning with a quick walk or workout. My daughters are home for the summer, so I am literally trying to spend as much time with them as humanly possible. Ha! So I have a bit of breakfast with them if they are awake. Then I pick out a fun dress and stack on all my Jane Win layers and head to our office/showroom, which is just a few minutes from my house. (This is great for when I accidentally order Doordash to our house instead of the office - oops!). Then it’s more coffee, answering DMs and customer care emails, and the day begins! Right now, we are designing Valentine’s Day product, which is so much fun because I am obsessed with HEARTS! I am such an "office" person - I love being with the team. Our distribution center is connected to our office and showroom, so there is never a dull moment.
I KNOW THIS IS A HARD ONE! WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR VERY FAVORITE JANE WIN DESIGN OR COLLECTION?
Oh my goodness, I cannot pick a favorite! We are most known for our original coins. I started with the Love Coin and I wear it all the time. Then every year we launch a new word. In 2021, we launched the Hope Coin and it was a bestseller right away. The design encompasses our year ahead celebrating the four seasons. It all starts with the newness of spring when tulips bring color to our lives, then the happy blooms of summer sunflowers, fall's abundance of mums, and finally the snowdrops of winter. In 2022, we launched Balance and in 2023 we launched Faith. The Faith coin pendant is embellished with the tree of life design because faith begins with a seed and has the potential to grow into the most beautiful, vast, living, and changing entity.
ARE THERE ANY NEW PIECES OR COLLECTIONS YOU'LL BE CREATING YOU CAN TELL US ABOUT?
We launch new product weekly which is so much fun. For July we have a collection of summer motifs: shells, suns, and coral pieces. In August, we are focusing on lucky charms—think horseshoes, elephant motifs, and our favorite stones and deep fall hues.
DO YOU HAVE ANY EXCITING PLANS FOR THIS SUMMER?
In the summer I live in New Hampshire; it is my favorite place. When I am there, I take the longest walks and hikes. I swim 10 times a day AT LEAST. Jumping off the boat. Wake surfing. Playing tennis. Seeing friends every day.
It is so incredibly active, but it also gives my mind a moment to think. When my dad was alive, we would take very long walks and I would talk through ideas at work and creative things I wanted to do. I miss those walks (and him) so much, but the practice of putting myself in a place I love and allowing my creativity to be in focus is vital to the success of the company - it is where I come up with the next new Jane Win concept. Maybe that sounds silly, but the JW team travels like mad all spring and during times like that, I get so much energy from meeting customers - but it is less creative. When I am here for the summer, I have piles of jewelry that I take outside to photograph for Instagram. I think about what I want to wear, what treasure we should create next. I was just daydreaming of a delivery of all butterflies and bunnies for next spring, with hand carved rabbits in natural stones (think purple amethyst and yellow citrine) with pink tourmaline eyes. I am determined to create more bracelets that allow you to wear your coins in a new way, adding a wrist stack to our neckmess. The ideas just FLOW when I open myself up to them.