You’ve probably heard of Wendy Mignot. Her pearl and leather jewelry has graced the cover of Vanity Fair (and is currently featured in Redbook), been worn on the necks of stars like Steven Tyler, Alice Cooper, Zac Brown, and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line and her vagabond lifestyle prior to settling along 30A has been written about in countless publications. But what you might not know is that at the heart of this wildly successful business is a mom who was determined to figure out a way to stay home with her kids.
She began her business shortly after her daughter Violeta was born. Always a creative soul, she was inspired, in part, by her time spent living in the Caribbean with her husband, Jean-Noel.
“I made jewelry as a hobby, but when I became pregnant it became serious,” she said. Since the sea has always called to her, she began working with pearls. She chose fine Tahitian and South Sea pearls and cut and conditioned the leather herself. As demand for her bracelets and necklaces grew, she soon found her home workshop (housed in the laundry room) spilling over onto her kitchen counter and table. As her daughter grew, and with the birth of her second child, Zak, her business continued to soar. The small pearl case that had always housed all of Wendy’s beautiful creations inside of Café Rendezvous, was now not large enough to keep up with the demand of her collections. The doors of La Vie Est Belle opened in June 2007 and the family became intertwined with its success. The business was family driven and the Mignot’s were the face of their brand, appearing in many ads and social media campaigns
Wendy shakes her head now at how fast time has gone by. The little baby that began it all is turning 18 and college beckons. Wendy’s eyes fill with tears just talking about it. She said she recently turned down a yoga retreat because she couldn’t bear the thought of missing a weekend with her kids.
Creating all of those countless bracelets, necklaces and earrings over the years has taken a physical toll. Her hands show the stress of knotting and cutting leather, but she has no intention of slowing down.
This holiday season she’s donating profits fro
m the sale of four custom freshwater pearl necklaces to organizations that speak to her heart and have touched her personally.
A heart-shaped pearl necklace benefits American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, two necklaces with star-shaped pearls benefits The National Center for Victims of Crime and “TaTa shaped” pearls benefiting Seymour Pink, her hometown’s non-profit organization for breast cancer
“It takes a village to raise a child and I picked the perfect place to raise my family. I’m a true believer in that you need to give or it’s not going to come back. I care about my village. As this area grows, what are you doing to make our community a better place?”