This week I had to write a ‘bio’ to put my name in the running for a speaking opportunity. I love speaking in front of people – I love the energy and the smiles you see while addressing a crowd, and I love sharing my very crooked line to happiness in order to inspire others to do things their own way. But that’s not the point of this blog. The point is…we are DOING IT. We are 7 months into our new business and we are gearing up for the holidays like a business that is going make it. Writing the bio allowed me to reflect on the post we published 1 year ago when we launched our blog: OMG I RESIGNED FROM LILLY PULITZER
So how did it start? What was the impetus that became such a driving force that I had to leave the security of a really good salary for sleepless nights and tear-your-hair-out frustrations of starting a brand from scratch?
In January 2017 I attended the Women’s March in Washington DC with my two daughters. My daughter’s stepmother was there. My stepdaughter was there with her mom. That was impactful. A family of women, connected by divorce, children and love – were united about one thing – the rights of women, our strength and the need to have our voices heard. Honestly, politics didn’t matter to me that second, what mattered is that my kids and step-kids all saw the women in their lives believing in their own strength. The night before the march I was interviewed by Vogue:
“I’m not going because I’m angry, but because I want something better, and I want it for my kids,” she says. “For me, the bigger picture is that Sabrina, Tiki, and I will remember that we did something together to further women’s rights. Sometimes I think, our generation missed the ’70s and all of those monumental moments, but this is a monumental moment.” Read the entire article here: Vogue.com
And as it turns out, it was a monumental moment. Certainly for women’s rights, but also for me and my family. It was there that I said, I have to build a company from scratch, I want my kids to see me do it, I want them to help, I want to make the product in the US…I want to make women feel special.
…and that was all I knew. I thought it would be jewelry (because I’m obsessed) but more so I just believed – I have to do this.
And you know so much of the story from there because I wrote the blogs. Quit the awesome dream job. Write a business plan. Research coin jewelry and figure out the POV of the company is celebrating life’s milestones. Carefully designing each piece and trying to get the production rolling (challenging). Launching! And then building building building for the last 7 months.
Currently state? Jewelry has taken over the house. We have 8 core styles, but they now come in 2 sizes and we custom make everything in 10k, 14k or rose gold. We have a line of elaborate coin jewelry based off the LOVE design coming in soon. We have launched rings and earrings. I am working on carved set stones and we have added a really cool selection of chains. I am surrounded by jewelry – the line is real. My family is helping with every step. My husband built the website and is my true partner in everything Jane Winchester. The kids all worked the launch event, with Drew ringing out customers as Naomi took pictures, Tiki made gifts for each attendee and Sabrina sold the line. This week Tiki is working all week on JW (mostly because she is grounded but…).
So the company is still a BABY, but it is real. We have sent product to Vogue with hopes that they use it for a shoot. We have local Philadelphia press coming out that we are sooooo excited about. We have stores from all over the US, but especially the west coast - finding our brand through Instagram. We have sent pendants to celebs like Reese Witherspoon and Giselle as well as CEO’s we admire. We have social influencers like @goldfish_kiss posting the most gorgeous shots in our pendants. We are planning trunk shows in Chicago, LA and our first birthday celebration in December (please come! DM me if you want to attend in philly!).
This week as I walked into the office of O Magazine to show-off the line I reflected on women who have ‘made it’. I mean…OPRAH is everything and always will be the queen. Women who have started from zero and become powerhouse successes. It feels like the old-norm was that women fought their way to the top and held ground – not necessarily helping others. But in the last few years the VIBE of female empowerment is – help others, bring them up, share what you know, inspire others. The tidal wave I felt at the Women’s March did change things. It’s a whole bunch of little things that make the whole. A (random group) of the Instagram accounts that in different ways make me feel really good about a universal #girlgang are:
@womeneur My favorite quotes of strength that with a simple Instagram can turn my attitude around and make me want to conquer the world.
@reesewitherspoon NOTE: Don’t you just LOVE watching Reese Witherspoon be COMPLETELY herself while also slowly dominating Hollywood.
@therealaliwentworth Her writing is funny and real, she’s a mom, she’s smart – all the good stuff.
@oprahmagazine Makes me believe I can build a company!
@ashleylongshoreart Funny, real, supportive of others…talented and open to the world!
And of course, my daughter's @thegirlnarrative
DAILY I have women reach out or follow on Instagram or purchase Jane Winchester YES because they love the jewelry, but many times because they just want to see another woman succeed.
So from 7ish months in business we have a shot. We have a line. We have friends out there helping us. And a moment at a monumental march, became a resignation, that became a business plan, that became 8 thoughtful designs, that are becoming a business.