She's a legend in the industry, and a favorite of Editor-in-Chiefs.
Every so often you meet someone you like so much—and admire so much—that they make you question literally everything about your life and recommit to living it better. Not “better” in a healthful way, necessarily, but in a happiness way. That woman, for me, is Brooke Garber Neidich. You might remember her daughter-in-law, Alessandra Brawn, from this, and some of her brand’s rolling bracelets from this. But I’ll always remember her as the chicest woman I’ve ever met, who, after having breakfast with me just once, subscribed me to a “Hot Sauce of the Month Club.” But that was just the first window into seeing how terrific she is.
That first time we met, we also had an extraordinarily open conversation about the political climate (she campaigned fiercely for Hillary and is staunchly opposed to Trump’s hateful rhetoric) and about the need for everyone to have access to the arts. Despite being one of the fanciest people I know, she’s incredibly thoughtful and warm, and that sense is evident in her approach to her business.
She took over jewelry line Sidney Garber, which started in her hometown Chicago, when her father passed away—though initially she didn’t want it. “I didn’t want a store, I didn’t want the trunk shows, and I didn’t want a jewelry business,” she said. “But I had eight employees in Chicago, and what were they going to do if I sold the business? So, I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to keep the business, and I’m going to give away all my profits.’ So I gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal magazine, and my accountant called me and said, ‘The next time you give an interview like that, you might want to give me a heads-up because I don’t want to read that you’re giving away your profits.’ I said, ‘You know this is really the right thing—I don’t need this money.’ And he said, ‘Brooke, you have no profits.’ [laughs] And it was like, ‘Oh!’ My heart was in the right place, but my mind was empty. Now I have profits, and in the last three years I think we’ve given away $600,000 and hopefully it will just continue to grow.” Yep, all of her profits from her ultra-luxe line go to the Whitney Museum, the Child Mind Institute, to the Lincoln Center Theater, and 52 (!) other organizations.
When I asked her about the power of buying a piece of jewelry for yourself, this is what she told me: “I don’t think possessions make you happy, but I do think there is something to saying, ‘I know I want this—I want this next to my skin, it’s going to be my talisman, it’s going to be my signature, it’s going to be something I’m giving to my daughter and I’m not even married.’ Jewelry has a sense of permanence.” Sidney Garber jewelry has permanence—it’s the heavy sort of stuff that totally transforms your look, but also becomes, like she said, your signature.
And as to who exactly is buying these power pieces? “Ninety-five percent of my business [is women buying for themselves]. Isn’t that amazing? I think a lot of it is gold, although they’re buying a lot of diamonds for themselves also. In five years, it’s completely different. I can’t believe the difference.” The second we’re able, we’re going to march directly into her Upper East Side boutique and buy ourselves a talisman. Here’s to growing up to be just like Brooke.