Confined to the wall of their homes, Angelenos have accepted that their "real" clothes and accessories will stay tucked away until further notice. Nevertheless, many are struggling to put the pastime of dressing up to bed. Gone for now are the days of slipping into something more elevated than athleisure and putting on a pair of pretty earrings to pop by for a visit somewhere. To the rescue is Short & Suite, an affordable luxury jewelry brand based out of Los Angeles that's making wearers feel glam during grim times.
"Launching in the pandemic was really scary. You don't know what's going to happen to your business," founder Reidie MacDonald tells UncoverLA. "I also didn't want to push jewelry on anyone because that's not what we should be focused on when there's something terrible happening in the world."
MacDonald had mixed feelings about introducing her brand to the world. She put her heart and soul into every aspect of it — from the designs to the handwritten note she includes in every order. Beyond brightening spirits, the collection (comprised of chunky rings, chokers, dainty hoops, playful studs, and more) adds an element of luxury to any outfit due to signature crystal gems in bold, beautiful colors inspired by MacDonald's travels.
Despite launching during the second week of lockdown, she rode it out: "Then I realized that just because so many things are happening doesn't mean you don't want to feel beautiful and feel good. So I felt like Short & Suite still sort of mattered and would mean something to people, and that the brand's thoughtfulness is what people needed at the time."
Though hardly a year old, Short & Suite has already seen great success, having been worn by the likes of Zoey Deutch, Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Hudson, January Jones, and Rocky Barnes. Ahead of MacDonald's favorite holiday, Valentine's Day, the brand launched its Love Notes collection ($50 to $130). Featuring a splash of glamour, a touch of romance, and a sprinkle of nostalgia, the line comes to life through polished gold-plated hoops, stud earrings, and a ring all featuring the brand's signature crystal stones.
The line is also heavily inspired by the throwback charm of putting pen to paper — a ritual that the Minneapolis native holds dear to her heart. Not only does MacDonald include a handwritten note in every order, but she also writes over 300 Valentines a year for friends, family, and coworkers.
And starting Sunday, Feb. 8, you can shop the brand IRL when it pops up at Veronica Beard's Melrose Place boutique until Feb. 22. Expect to find a curated selection of jewelry that's ready for V-Day or everyday gifting, including pieces from Short & Suite's Love Notes and classic suites collections. After that, the label will hold court at the fashion brand's San Francisco outpost (tell your NorCal pals).
We recently sat down with MacDonald to learn more about her career journey, the inspiration behind her pieces, the brand's give-back program, and her favorite neighborhood recs. Read on below and shop some Short & Suite for yourself — you deserve it.
When did you launch Short & Suite, and what inspired you to start it?
I launched Short & Suite on March 24, the second week of lockdown. I have always worked in luxury fashion. Right out of college, I worked at a small startup called Cobra Society, a luxury footwear and accessories brand that features handwoven Moroccan rugs on Spanish leather boots. From there, I worked for Missoni, and then got promoted to a position at Valentino. Missoni was under their umbrella at the time, and then I grew at Valentino and ran their sales for the U.S. with my counterpart for ready-to-wear.
I tried to start my own consulting business, but I couldn't do it. Although it was a mix of sales and people, which I loved, it didn't involve of my creativity. While I was doing that, I was offered the position of the head of sales for Brock Collection, where I stayed for two years and then helped them sell it to a licensing group.
From all of my experience, I always knew I wanted to start something. I loved luxury, but it wasn't accessible. I love clothing, but I wanted something that was for everyone. I've always been really attracted to fine jewelry stones that are just so beautiful, but I couldn't find anything in the market that felt luxurious and had that statement piece and was accessible.
I started thinking how I want people to feel part of a story and to incorporate this feeling of luxury into my brand. So I was like, travel. Everyone loves travel. I love travel. When I was at Valentino and Brock, I would travel to Paris and Milan for Fashion Week and stay in these elegant hotel suites, which was so magical. So I thought about it for a while, and I was like, how do I mix the travel and the jewelry? And then Short & Suite was born.
The colors are based off of places I've traveled or places I want to go. They all have that elegance and luxury to them. Everything is completely branded, including the tissue paper, the stickers, and the packaging. And there's a handwritten note in every order from me. It's all very luxurious. So the customer really feels like they're a part of this Suiteheart world.
I made the price point not totally entry, but not crazy, so that the customer could feel like if it's a present to someone, it's a nice, thought-out present. And if they're buying it for themselves, it's equally a great gift for you.
In terms of running it, I do everything. I have the amazing Mallory [Molinksi] of Beverly Bond too. She helps me with social media. But then everything else, I just do it. I've just figured it out.
How did the pandemic impact your launch?
I first had the idea to start the brand in 2019, but it took me that whole year to really get it going. Launching in the pandemic was really scary. I had all of these feelings. I was like, wait, but I've worked so hard and I want this to be successful. But I was like wait, this is just not the priority in life right now. So I had to just ride it out.
When you launch a brand, the first orders you get are from friends and family who support you and love you, but those orders don't necessarily come back. But actually that first wave, everyone really liked it. Then it just took off. It's been very successful so far. I'm incredibly proud. We're doing so well on Intermix, and we're in the Beverly Hills Hotel.
I feel like I have always been pretty honest about how I run my business, who I am, the brand, and how I want people to feel. And so through the pandemic, it's become a little Suiteheart gang that we're all part of.
You've worked with some incredible brands — Missoni, Valentino, Brock Collection. What has been one of your proudest "pinch me" career moments?
As a career woman, I think working with Brock was my biggest accomplishment. When I started at Brock, we were in Barneys and a couple of other retailers. But I grew the business from the ground up with the whole team. There were only five of us there, so I did all the sales and I didn't have anyone under or with me doing it. I was able to grow us, and get us into Net-A-Porter, Neiman Marcus, Moda Operandi, and more than 50 boutiques. It gave me the confidence to be like, okay, I can grow that, then I can grow something by myself.
As brands take a more purpose-driven approach, how has this affected your mission?
That's really important to me and is part of Short & Suite's DNA. Consumers are buying from people that stand for something. It's not just about a piece of jewelry. When you're wearing my product, you're a part of my value system and you're a part of our Suiteheart land where we stand for something. Every month, we do a give-back, whether it's a financial give-back or product give-back.
Girl Powerful is an organization I feel very passionate about, and it helps young girls with confidence, which I think is very important because growing your confidence as a young girl and as a woman is really what's going to help you be a better human in life and feel good. So Girl Powerful has been an ongoing Suite Giving program that we've done for a few months now. The founders are these two sisters, Teddy and Sonia, who are absolute angels.
Personally, I've always wanted the brand to be more, so that you can feel like you're buying something beautiful for yourself that also supports a cause you're interested in. With Suite Giving, we're always open to new places to give to and I always want to learn about organizations that I can get more involved with.
The whole process of Short & Suite is extremely thoughtful. I have repeated customers, and I always remember you. I want to check in with you. I would love people to message me. I'm very much an open person. I think you can feel that in all the designs.
I want it to feel very special, too, because I feel like a lot of brands now are losing that. You can feel when somebody has put in the effort. I know I'm new, so I have the ability to write notes and really get in there. But as I grow, I'll always have that part of me.
Tell us about Short & Suite's most recent collections.
Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday since I was little, and I always write everyone in my life a Valentine, including my best friend, sister, and my fiancé. I start on January 2, and I write over 300 Valentines. I mean, it's like psycho, but it's also cool because it helps me reconnect with so many people that I haven't talked to in so long. It's kind of become a part of me and a thing that I do. Honestly, a handwritten note to someone is the best gift that you can receive. It just feels good. To receive a note of nowhere, just telling somebody you love them or reminding them of a story, or maybe you just haven't talked to them in like a couple of years.
Our last collection was the holiday drop, which includes chunky pieces that feel extremely elevated. I kept seeing all the chains that everyone was wearing, and I thought they were really cool. But I also love stones and color. My brand will always have a stone or the little key clasp. That's my signature. But I just wanted to shake it up. So I was like, how can I create something that's on trend with the chains and that vibe, that is a little bit more updated and elevated and unique.
The choker has completely sold out several times. That's the number one piece right now. Jennifer Hudson just wore two of them stacked. That was a really big collection for us. I feel like it really broke us through.
Before that, our New Age Nostalgia collection was inspired by the '90s and Claire's, like all the stick-on earrings, cute hearts, and little butterflies.
Are there any Short & Suite pieces that you regularly wear?
I always am rotating them out, but my favorite piece are the Suite 22 Multi Drop Gem Earrings. They just make me feel really pretty. Especially during the pandemic when I was wearing workout gear and no makeup, I always just threw those on and I felt beautiful and good. I always say they're my favorite child, but I love all of my children.
What's your go-to jewelry travel case for packing your accessories?
When I traveled, I always had the jewelry cases from Smythson, a British brand. I also would carry my pieces in the Cartier pouches, which is why the Short & Suite pouches feel like a Cartier pouch. When I travel, I put them all in our bigger pouch, and it holds all my jewelry. The pouch is really aesthetically pleasing and it's fun to put in your hotel room or wherever you're staying. Jewelry cases are something that we're definitely going to be launching, probably in a year.
Where do you hope to see the brand in the next few years?
I feel like you should have goals where you're like, I want to be on Net-A-Porter, Shopbop, and few other retailers. But I think boutiques are really important because you can do trunk shows and meet people. You get swept up in the retail world where you're like, I have to be with all these big retailers and then you realize that actually the small boutiques are the ones that care about you and will help you understand your brand and your customer.
I also want to master the different parts of the business that I've never done before, like production. I want to make sure to be mindful, and grow, but not grow too fast. I always say, 'You never know who's watching,' so every time you put something out there, make sure it's really good and you're proud of it, because somebody could come calling. You just don't know.
When you're not busy with Short & Suite, where are some of your favorite L.A. spots to eat, play, and shop?
Celeb facialist Jai Lone — he's the best facialist in LA, and my dear friend! My fave neighborhood spot restaurant is this cute little Italian spot called Amarone in West Hollywood. It's owned by Sandro and his lovely wife. Amazing food and the coziest atmosphere!
Hot Pilates for working out. Best body I ever had when I would go weekly! Shannon Nadj is the best instructor I've ever had! For hair, Aleksey Bishop for the best color. He's truly a master at hair and great friend, I love him!
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?
It's very important to be proud of yourself, to celebrate your wins, and to tell yourself that was pretty amazing, that I did that. I think so often, women are scared to congratulate themselves because it's too much. But that's how you gain your confidence— when you say out loud, 'That was amazing, I did that.' It's not cocky; it's just something that will help build who you are.
For those starting their own business, you have to be really mindful and thoughtful because it's a very long process. It takes a really long time to have an idea and then to launch. I think it's really important to take time on that idea. It's also important to be working on other things too. I didn't quit my consulting jobs until I was almost ready to launch Short & Suite. Just don't be selfish and not do a good job where you're working on the side.
And lastly, keep going. It's not easy. Feel all the feelings from starting something. It's a very emotional journey. You're creating something and sometimes people don't like it and you've spent months designing it and building it and you love it. And I'm always like, 'What? How could somebody not like that?' And then you're like, 'I just have to move on,' and maybe you cry a little, and that's okay. There's so much rejection.
It's important to be able to feel the things and try and keep it moving. I don't necessarily always move on, but I keep moving.