Let there be no confusion: The designer’s legal name is Jane Winchester Paradis. Full stop. This detail is critical to fully understanding her journey from an emerging designer in 2017 to a flourishing brand centered on sentimental, highly evocative symbolic jewelry. Yes, it’s turned into a wildly successful enterprise—but the Philadelphia-based designer’s trajectory also involved a pretty serious kerfuffle involving the Winchester Repeating Arms Co., which ultimately forced her to change the name of her brand to Jane Win.
Paradis would much rather talk about how her collection has formed tendrils and evolved and—one of her favorite topics—Valentine’s Day gifts. And we’ll get to that. But first:
“I launched with my first and middle name, filing all the trademark paperwork but not waiting until it received final approval,” explains Paradis. “A long time ago my family started the Winchester Repeating Arms Co., and I am named after my grandmother, Jane Winchester—there have been many Jane Winchesters, and I am very proud of the name. My family does not own Winchester anymore, and [the gun manufacturer] disputed our use of the name. So we changed it.”
It was a bitter pill to swallow, she says, given her robust training in matters of intellectual property throughout her career at top fashion houses (her last stop was at Lilly Pulitzer, where she served as fashion director and senior vice president).
“I will be completely honest, I was blindsided and shame on me for that,” she says. “It was something the Lilly Pulitzer brand takes seriously, and the CEO had ingrained in me: Protect your name. Protect your creative work.”
As a champion of designers, for me the whole ordeal has a deeply unsettling David-and-Goliath tenor to it (and the irony of a gunslinging corporate bully is really kind of too much).
Seriously, though: How does a designer even begin to recover from the injustice of being legally prohibited from attaching the name they were born with to their creative work?
“You know, from the moment that I heard from my attorney that there was an issue with the trademark, I didn’t have a great feeling about the outcome,” says Paradis. “I was scared and sad and probably not dealing completely—I thought, it’s my name. I met with [Winchester Repeating Arms Co.], and they were very firm. When I left the meeting, I called a friend who is a CEO of a large publicly traded company and he said: ‘Run, don’t walk, don’t let this slow you down, change the name and move on. I love Jane Win because you are a winner.’ Honestly saying that now makes me tear up because, you know—you don’t always feel like a winner. And feeling like this giant company is against you is scary…and I had worked so hard to build the name. But I took the advice and I honestly have not looked back. Not once.”
And here we are. The newest coin group to join the Jane Win stable of talismans is a handful of designs that embrace the idea of finding and striking a balance. “This coin is designed to be something that people hold on to when the extremes are trying to take them to the edge, to help them stay centered,” says Paradis.
Later this month, a new iteration of the Hope coin—prettily popped with pink tourmalines at each compass point—will enter the mix. “We launched the original Hope coin on New Year’s Day 2021. The design is a year’s worth of flowers, season by season, looking forward. “Our customer immediately related and loved it as much as we did,” says Paradis.
Various heart-shape jewels have also become core to the brand, an extension of the Love coin’s design codes (pictured at top). “I always have been obsessed with hearts,” says Paradis. “I have a hashtag #heartsfindme because I always see them. Now people tag me in hearts they find in nature, in their food—it’s really funny, I get tagged in hearts from around the globe! So hearts are a surprise element of our core collection coins, and I can’t think of a better evolution.”
Which brings us to the topic of Valentine’s Day.
“Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday,” says Paradis. “It always has been. I am not saying I am an expert on Valentine’s Day, but if there was a contest, I would be in the running. And while I love jewelry (obviously) I do not think Valentine’s Day is about spending tons of money. It’s a little something—a fun, bright red lollipop, some funny racy underwear, maybe some pink sparkling rosé with dinner.
“We have two different kinds of people shopping for Valentine’s Day: Men come in hot about 24 hours before a holiday. So we point them in the direction of the Love coin…it is the best gift to simply say ‘I treasure you.’
“The second shopper—I love her. It is the mom shopping for her daughter. I am 49 years old and have four daughters, and I know firsthand the pull to send your daughter little presents if she’s not at home, or, if she is still at home, the gift you leave for her to find when she wakes up so she knows how loved she is. For that moment, our collection of hearts makes the best gift. We have a tiny plated heart called Besitos (which means ‘little kisses’ in Spanish). We have our extremely well-priced carved hearts in a variety of stones. And for moms who have not bought the Forever coin, the card insert reads: ‘Forever find your way home.’ It makes every mom cry, myself included!”
As Paradis’ story shows, sometimes the way home isn’t a linear path, but something a little more jagged and perverse. So you pivot, refocus, and adjust. Your resilience surprises you. And at the end of the journey you Win.
Top: “I love that the core pieces that we launched with are still our top sellers, and I treasure the connection I have with our customers—it’s a dream,” says Jane Winchester Paradis. From left: Coin pendants in 14k gold–plated silver, from $278 each; Love full-heart pendant in 14k gold–plated silver, $298; Love coin pendant in 14k gold–plated silver, $278.
Follow me on Instagram: @aelliott718Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine