Meet Jane Winchester of Jane Winchester Jewelry! We have many mutual friends from her time at Lilly and when we found out this local Main Liner was making jewelry we had to learn more as we can’t get enough of her gorgeous pendant jewelry. We asked Jane about her business and this is what she had to say…
What Inspired you to start your business?
Starting a company at age 45 is not the
path that many take. Here’s how it happened…I am an easy coast gypsy. Born in
New Hampshire, childhood in Georgia, boarding school in Massachusetts, college
in Florida, many years in NYC and now settled outside Philadelphia. I had a
robust career in design and fashion marketing, working for brands such as
Adrienne Vittadini, Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Barneys New York and Lilly
Pulitzer. I am very (very very very) happily married to Doug (who built this
awesome website 🙂 ) with 5 kids between us.
In 2017 I went to the Women’s March in Washington DC 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 so see me do it (and help!).
Our collection is made up of 8 amulets symbolizing abundance of positivity, strength, hope and luck. I am inspired by the American Gypsy coin jewelry of the 1900’s. Gypsy coin jewelry was functional, spiritual and symbolic — it was a way to transport wealth, show prosperity and express generosity to others. When I started researching this gorgeous antique coin jewelry, I realized that my wealth is not shown in money, cars or fancy homes…my wealth comes from life experiences both good and bad. Finding Love. Marriage. Losing people I have loved and finding peace as I remember their impact on my life. Divorce and finding a new confidence and freedom. Having children and every bit of joy that comes along with being surrounded by family. It is the perfect gift for yourself or for someone who needs a reminder of their milestone moment.
What advice would you give a student or aspiring entrepreneur?
WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN. But wait… first try and visualize your life 😊….no small feat.
I did a lot of work before starting my business. First I took a look at my life and where I saw myself in 10 years. How would I get there – is starting a business a part of that?
Once I knew that building a business was a part of building my future and could work with kids, financial responsibilities, where I wanted to live and how I wanted to work…I spend real brainpower and time on a business plan. I wrote a blog about it here. Having a business plan helps you understand feasibility and gives you the roadmap for your business. TRUST ME – when it comes to that first year in business you don’t know what you don’t know , but forcing yourself to write the plan allows you to set goals and test theories. It is invaluable.
How has social media influenced or helped your business? Do you have an example?
INSTAGRAM IS EVERYTHING. Our business is planned as 70% direct to consumer and 30% wholesale. At first I thought Instagram would drive direct sales – and that’s why we invested heavily in content creation and time/energy posting to build our audience. Instagram absolutely drives sales – but what I didn’t expect is that Instagram would also drive wholesale sales. All the cool stores are scouring Instagram for new brands. I would say 90% of the wholesale accounts and trunk shows we schedule come from someone finding us on Insta.
Who do you admire and why?
WOW. I admire so many entrepreneurs who have started business and have litterly built their brands day-by-day. It takes INCREDIBLE grit. Here are a couple…
-I LOVE hearing stories of other entrepreneurs and how they created their companies. Recently I listened to this podcast on GOOP’s founder Gwyneth Paltrow and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz. Hearing about when their business had nothing – and they thought they wouldn’t make it…that gives me confidence to move forward. So I admire both of these founders…
I remember when Gwyneth launched GOOP with a blog and everyone made fun of her. But she found her niche and she relentlessly build GOOP day by day – and now it is a household name.
If you listed to the podcast you will hear a story Howard Schultz tell a story where his father in law told him NOT to do the business, that he shouldn’t take the risk…and his wife said – DO IT, I’ve got your back. He then goes on to tell how he didn’t have the capitol to buy the first handful of Starbucks (nothing like they are now) and Bill Gates DAD had his back. It takes determination and support from those around you to make a new business work.
Hearing these two talk about what they had been through is incredibly inspiring and I admire the grit and tenacity they possess.
What is next for your business?
First off…After our first year of business we spent time on a 2019 roadmap and for me the ‘what’s next’ is building the brand in the following ways:
-increase quality (we will always strive to make excellent product made in the USA) and bring down cost. We will spend lots of energy on this – not just lowering cost – more importantly we have to always make what we do better.
-double down on digital: more digital advertising to bring in new customers and stay connected with you current customers. Developing exciting content (think photoshoots!) to drive new digital advertising.
AND AS ALWAYS – fabulous new product. We are expanding on our 8 original coins by pulling the motifs in the designs and creating layering pieces for each coin. We just launched a series of hearts to layer and we have some new LUCKY charms coming up this spring.
How would you describe your brand in 3 words?
Optimistic, Meaningful, Unique
Thanks so much, Jane!