After three decades of living in New York for his eponymous business, Mish Tworkowski closed his Manhattan office on Bond Street and headed to South Florida, Phipps Plaza in Palm Beach to be precise. While it would be easy to attribute this decision to Covid-19, it took a long time, according to the jeweler.
“Joseph Singer, my life and business partner, and I love the idea of change. It wasn’t necessarily just a business decision, ”said Tworkowski in a phone call from Palm Beach. He and Singer had a home there for years and began exploring the idea in 2018 before Covid upended the status quo model of many small businesses. “We started looking for spaces, but there was never any pressure because they were only available at the end of New York,” he notes.
Additionally, he attributes the move to the nearly four months he and his partner spent in Millbrook, NY during the pandemic. “It was not only a business decision, but also a personal one,” he explains. Being in the north of the state surrounded by nature made it possible to spend a peaceful and calm time on a daily basis to think about decisions rather than “going from A to B automatically”, as was the case with the day-to-day management of affairs. At New York. “Covid has enabled us to make good, solid business decisions that also make lives happy,” he adds. In addition, Tworkowski is a gardener who is inspired by nature. “I like the idea of gardening all year round, drawing inspiration from the colors and the light on the flowers.”
Working with local Sotheby’s broker Jeff Cloninger to find commercial properties, the couple were particularly drawn to the area around historic Phipps Plaza. The plaza was home to prominent neighborhood architects such as South Florida’s Mediterranean Revival designer Addison Mizner and John Volk. They moved into a building that housed Palm Beach’s first department store and housed Bonwit Teller, Brook Brothers and others for the past hundred years.
“Many believe Palm Beach is the most beautiful city in the United States,” he said, noting that the strict zoning laws have helped preserve the appearance of the small island. “It has an upscale clientele with some of the more expensive real estate, but it’s also cultural and educational. Palm Beach ticks all of those boxes,” he notes.
Cloninger, Senior Global Real Estate Advisor for Sotheby’s International Realty, Palm Beach Brokerage, introduced them to commercial properties. Having worked in the area for over 25 years, he recently noticed a change. “The Palm Beach shopping scene has seen a huge leap forward over the past two years. Over the decades, retailers and galleries in New York City, the Hamptons and Greenwich, CT wanted to have a side location here to complement the locations. major in the Northeast, ”Cloninger explains, adding,“ What has changed is that these same companies now see Palm Beach as a primary market for their retail operations, a change from there were. just a few years ago. That’s because many of their clients consider Palm Beach their primary home and spend more time here than the traditional winter season. ” He attributes this residential displacement to several factors; the northeast tax brackets, the beauty and attractiveness of year-round life in Palm Beach, and the realities Covid has brought to the fore. “These have all mixed together to make Palm Beach so much more than its former title ‘America’s Winter Capital,’” says Cloninger.
According to the jeweler, the historic Phipps Plaza looks like a London Square. It’s also a bit of a reboot thanks to the jeweler. The next opening will be the Carriage House dinner club similar to Annabel’s in London, housed in buildings by Mizner and another famous Palm Beach Maurice Fatio. The store was designed by Singer, who worked with local architect Smith Kellogg to execute according to preservation guidelines. It was decorated by New York interior designer Katie Ridder.
Tworkowski came with a knowledge of the region’s rich history. He and Singer have funded the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach for the past ten years and have participated in jewelry and jewelry watercolor exhibitions and lectures on his designs.
“We gathered a clientele there, I suppose because we felt part of the community,” had written notes emphasizing their kindness. “Since the opening, people have left us Christmas presents telling us that they are happy that we are here,” referring to a particularly thoughtful gardening book. “Even though it’s the capital of glamor, it’s a lovely little town filled with people who have time to think about the things that matter.”
On Christmas Eve, a generally busy time for jewelers, they weren’t expecting many customers in the newly opened space. However, at least 15 people attended throughout the day, and it was not due to marketing efforts. “Some we knew, but not as customers; friends and clients referred others. It was all word of mouth. “
Those who cannot get in easily will now find their favorite jewelers online. After hesitating for many years, believing it wasn’t right for their business, the jeweler launched a full e-comm site last June. The results immediately proved that the decision was wise.
“It was an old-fashioned thought, but we’re not old-fashioned people, so we struggled with it,” he admits. “Successful people don’t have a lot of extra time,” he said, acknowledging that their customers were everywhere, “We realized that we were doing our customers a disservice when they couldn’t shop when they were. wanted it. By the time we launched in a few hours, we had 5 or 6 sales in California. “
This has helped the Strawberry Flower collection inspired by time spent at Millbrook resonate with fans of the brand with its uplifting and happy mood. To mark the opening of Palm Beach, Mish launched the Why Knot? collection based on a piece of weathered rope found on the beach in Mauritius. Instead of a chain, gold takes the form of a rope, which makes rings, necklaces, earrings and more. One gorgeous piece is the one-of-a-kind Cabana Charm Necklace in Turquoise that the designer has collected for 12 years.
The jeweler will open an official cocktail party to celebrate the new location at the end of January. A portion of the Cabana Charm bracelet sale will benefit the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach. The Omicron variant could change the course of the event although Tworkowski isn’t too worried. “We have a loggia attached to the building that faces Phipps Plaza so that we can move the event outside,” he says. Certainly not something possible in New York in the dead of winter.