At eight years old, when most of us were hawking lemonade in our front yards, Winifred Grace Gundeck was selling her hand-painted barrettes, decorated with balloons or whales, at a chic children’s boutique in her hometown of Miami. “I just went in there one day with my mom and said, ‘I made these. Would you want to buy them for your store?’” Winifred recalls. “I even remember getting my first check. It was for like $9 or $13, and I never cashed it. I still have it.”
Winifred’s juvenile design empire soon expanded to silk hair combs and rhinestone-studded shirtdresses, made out of her dad’s old oxfords. Years later and all grown up, feeling unfulfilled at her job designing logos and book covers in Chicago, she walked into her favorite local boutique wearing a necklace she had made out of an old charm of her grandma’s, and the owner inquired and got Winifred thinking about her jewelry-making future.
About a year later, in 2003, her line was born. Since that day, Winifred’s business has evolved from pieces embellished with all kinds of beads and leather to minimalist bronze cuffs and necklaces based on geometric shapes and constellations. Part of that shift comes from her having her first baby, Alexander: “I was really looking for a way to streamline my business and simplify things,” she explains. “I can sleep in these pieces!” —raquel laneri
Behind The Scenes
Three Design Books That Winifred Grace Can’t Stop Flipping Through Hear that? It’s your coffee table calling.If a picture is worth a thousand words, Winifred Grace’s design-book collection is worth a mill. “I see something different every time I look at them,” says the Chicago jewelry genius. Take a look at the trifecta she reaches for over and over again. —alisha prakashHouse & Garden’s Complete Guide to Interior Decoration“I have always said that if I weren’t a jewelry designer, I would be an interior designer. I share this passion with my mother, who I st... READ MORE »
Winifred Grace’s Style Muse: Her Grandma Coolness most certainly runs in the family.Winifred Grace grew up in an art-loving family—her parents were both avid collectors—but it was her grandmother who really pushed her into the creative life. And, damn, was this is the jewelry designer’s grandma stylin’. Get a load of her look below. —raquel laneri“My grandmother was an artist, and she had this amazing style. I don’t want to call her a hippie—because she was more sophisticated than that—but she was a bohemian. This picture of her was... READ MORE »
Winifred Grace’s Partners in Mexico Designed in Chicago, produced in Cuernavaca.Until very recently, Winifred Grace and her assistant made every single piece in her just-tough jewelry line themselves. The trouble? Scaling. So, when she randomly read about a workshop in Cuernavaca, Mexico, that employed local women to make bronze jewelry, she got in touch ASAP. “When I got my first set of samples from the workshop it was like Christmas: Every piece was more beautiful than I could have even imagined,” she explains. Meet the south... READ MORE »