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