Photo: Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media
Longtime Greenwich resident Nancy Parmet Cook describes herself as a mother first, but the impulse to push herself as a businesswoman lingered after having children.
The Columbia Business School graduate and former HBO vice president of marketing needed an outlet after leaving her job to raise children full time, she said. “These years are so fleeting. I really want to be there for my children,” Parmet Cook said. “But I want them to see me doing something, producing something.”
That desire has led her to write a novel and run a lifestyle blog. Most recently, it has turned into a burgeoning jewelry business, Eleanor Stone NYC.
“This puts together everything I love,” Parmet Cook said at her in-home studio while showing off leather bracelets that fuse antique and modern styles. On her display table is a sign with the phrase “Do what you love.” The message pervades how she runs her business.
It started when she was a girl exploring her grandmother’s jewelry box. “I would pretend I was a princess,” Parmet Cook said. Those experiences instilled in her an appreciation for how jewelry connects family as it is passed down through generations and ultimately served as the foundation for Eleanor Stone NYC, which took its name from Parmet Cook’s grandmother.
Several years ago, Parmet Cook began taking jewelry-making classes in Manhattan. From those, she took the technical skills to design her Eleanor Stone pieces. But they left her wanting . She realized she didn’t just want to make jewelry, but cultivate a business.
Soon after, she came up with what has become her current business, which provides a way for Parmet Cook to give her grandmother’s vintage brooches new life. Her bracelets are designed as a thick leather cuff with a thinner leather strip on which the vintage broaches she finds slide off and on with a custom-made buckle. She scours estate sales, auctions, online platforms and friends’ jewelry collections to find “interesting, beautiful and memorable” brooches, Parmet Cook said.
“I know it when I see it, but I’m looking for high-quality, one-of-a-kind pieces,” she said. “I love the search.”
Parmet Cook frequently sells her bracelets, which start in the low $200 price range and go to above $600, at trunk shows and through her online store at Eleanorstonenyc.com. The leather cuffs come in several colors and customers can buy any number of diverse broaches to switch up the style. “I look at them like jeans,” Parmet Cook said. “I want them get worn and beat up so they looked more lived in. That’s the way I like them.”
The toughest part of running the business, she said, is trying to keep the operation small. That craving to make everything the best drives her, but she does not want it to distract her from raising her three children, who are 10, 12 and 14. “I always want to be there every day in the pickup line after school,” she said.