Tastemaker: Brent Neale Winston
How has New York City living inspired your approach to life? I love NYC so much. For me it’s the energy and spirit and resiliency. I think what New York teaches you is that the world is your oyster but it’s up to you what you make of it. So I say chase those dreams.Can you tell me about the first time your mother brought you to a gem show in Baltimore? So my mom is southern and a lover of antiques and she used to take us to all these antique shows. Then one of the hosts of the antique shows was hosting a gem show. She thought I would really love it so we went and she told me I could buy a few strands of beads. I still have the necklaces I made with them one was Ruby and the other was Peruvian opal.
When you were at John Hopkins, did you know you wanted jewelry to be your life? How did your hobby shape your career trajectory? When I was at Hopkins I thought i was going to be a lawyer. I interned for the public defenders office of the state of Maryland for three summers and that’s really what I thought I was going to be. But I loved making jewelry and continued that through college. Eventually I started to sell some to a store in East Hampton. And that’s how I got my first job. A woman came into the store and asked who made the jewelry and we connected and she offered me a job doing product development for her company and I moved to NYC the summer after graduation. I thought I would just use that year to study for the LSAT. But here I am 18 years later.
How do you balance being a mother of three and running your own jewelry line? There is no balance. I’m just trying to stay sane daily.
What’s your favorite Holiday tradition? Family dinners. We are all together my whole family - my mom and sister are terrific cooks ( I’m awful). But I love a beautiful table. It makes everyone feel like it’s an event and something special. All of my kids and their cousins love sitting with the adults - everyone is very noisy and it’s just plain fun.
What’s your favorite India Amory product? Her tablecloths and napkins!
When hosting a get together for your loved ones, what are the three most important components you keep in mind? I want everyone to be comfortable. I want everyone to have food options that they like so I’m very big on sides. And I want everyone to be able to see each other so I’ll test out the seat heights and the flowers or candles and make sure everyone even the littles can see one another.
How would you like to see your line evolve in the coming years? Oh I haven’t a clue. I just hope I’m still having as much fun as I am now - pretty sure I will be:)
What’s your favorite piece of Jewelry you own? My engagement ring because my husband did pick the stones out even though I designed the setting and he did such a good job!!!
What has been the biggest challenge in growing your business? For me the most challenging part of growing my business is keeping up with the rapidly changing retail landscape.
What is something most people don’t know about you? I’m not sure I’m pretty open. Maybe that school was not always so easy for me. But I think having that as a constant challenge ended up benefiting me in the long term!
If you could curate a dinner party with 4 guests (living or dead) who would they be? Would you let them choose where to sit or would you assign seats? Stevie Nicks, Steve Jobs, Frank Stella, Coco Chanel
What single incident has impacted your business for the better? Well I would have to say having my twins girls. When I had them I knew I wasn’t going to be able to work for someone else for a few years. Having three kids under 3 was daunting and I took their first year off from work. It was during that time that I decided I wanted to do my own thing. So I did and here we are!