#SWAAYthenarrative

Wine not? From Hamptons Flower Child to Startup Founder

People

New York native, global trendsetter, and co-owner of Wölffer Estate Vineyard-Joey Wölffer - is a well-known name among the Hamptons locals. Her family owned winery, called The Wölffer Estate Vineyard, is the summer hot spot for delicious rosé and amazing views.


But, now Wölffer is making her own business with the Styleliner. The Styleliner, which was launched in June of 2010, is the first-ever mobile luxury store on wheels. You can find a collection of Italian leather handbags and unique accessories on this mobile boutique. Last year, she debuted her eponymous collection of handbags, which combines hand-woven leather straps and rare embellishments from around the world. Along with the fashion truck, Wölffer has opened up the first ever brick and mortar store in Sag Harbor, NY.

Following in the footsteps of her great-great grandfather who established one of the leading retailers in the UK, Marks and Spencer, fashion is clearly in her blood. As soon as Wölffer finished college, she jetted to London to start a career in fashion and landed an internship with a well-known jewelry designer.

"While I was an assistant in London, the owner of the company fired her main designer and hired me right off the bat," says Wölffer, “I had no experience, but it was the biggest test and also the most exciting time of my life."

After London, Wölffer headed to New York City to continue her career in fashion. “Having had a fashion career in London made me extremely hirable in New York," says Wölffer. In New York, she joined the Johns group, and worked alongside the trend director, head designers, and the sales department. While working there, she also did a lot of traveling, which is what sparked her idea for Styleliner.

“When I was 26, my dad passed away. That was when I knew that I could not just work in the corporate world forever, so I decided that it was time to start my own business," stated Wölffer. From her background in jewelry to her roots in the Hamptons, all of her unique aspects are incorporated into the brand. “The Hamptons style is pretty relaxed, but people always dress up when they are laying back." said Wölffer. She also incorporates her childhood memories of growing up on a farm into her brand as well. “My brand is free spirited and definitely more bohemian, but also it has its individual style- you are not going to see someone else walking down the street with a similar bag or accessory." Wölffer said.

The first products that she debuted were the handbags. “I love accessories, and I felt that at the time I started, jewelry was over saturated. So, I went with bags, and I knew that the sable bags were going to be a special piece." Wölffer said. Starting with the saddlebag, her brand has also branched out into different categories like jewelry and clothing. As of now, Wölffer has pop up shops throughout the US. “We are opening a new pop up shop in LA in March that I am really looking forward too," said Wölffer. In the near future, Wölffer aspires to have a shop within a shop in big stores like Nordstrom's or Bloomingdales.

5 min read
Self

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.