I’ve lived in Chappaqua for 23 years now, but I’ll always be a Jersey shore girl at heart. The Boss runs in my veins. As a kid, my dearest memories are of biking to the boardwalk with my sisters and cousins. Playing Pac-Man for hours at the penny arcade, working the beach window at Mcdonald's, hanging with the hot lifeguards, and picking starfish off the jetty. It was all so uncomplicated then!
Nowadays, as the founder and owner of shortyLOVE, I make my home and design my bags here in Chappaqua. References to my past pop up in my shortyLOVE collection — the arcade, the jetty, the boardwalk, the tillie. To people who aren’t from around here, those are just the names of my bags and accessories. But to me, it’s extremely personal. These names are a tribute to the world that shaped me.
My superhero origin story doesn’t begin until after 8 years of cutting my fashion teeth in NYC. By 2002, I finally had the chops to become a senior designer for the Marc Jacobs Collection — this was huge. Three years later, I moved up to design director for the Marc by Marc Jacobs Handbags and Accessories for the next decade. I learned what it takes to create a high-end bag from design through manufacture, traveling the world to source the best fabrics and hardware — my dream job! Because I truly love what I do, I kept working after my husband, Rob, and I started a family. But I realized I wanted more control over my time, so I moved on from Marc Jacobs.
The idea for shortyLOVE came about organically. As I was doing independent design projects for various brands in the city, it dawned on me that I could do this for myself. So I studied what was out there: an endless array of luxury, designer handbags that are beautiful but uncomfortable to carry, that force you to dig through them to find what you need. The kind of bags I wanted in my own daily life didn’t exist — softer, smarter, more organized bags that are stylish but designed for real life. I just had to create them.
In 2018, shortyLOVE launched as a dining room table startup, meaning orders would come in online, and I would literally pack them for shipping right on the table before dropping them at the post office. Over the past five years, we’ve continued to add to our original line of 5 bags. We’re now at 12 styles ranging from crossbody bags to totes, belt bags to backpacks, and wallets to phone bags.
I run shortyLOVE with the help of Rob and select outside help only when I need it. It’s a family affair! Frequently pulled in for testing, inspiration, and modeling are my sister, Blake, who’s minutes away, and my sister, Quinn, just an hour away. I can’t imagine doing this without them.
Getting a business off the ground and being there for my kids’ school events, lacrosse, and field hockey games was tricky! I have to credit my family for being very supportive, especially Rob. Our daughter, Tate, is in her junior year at Horace Greeley High School. Our son, Sam, who also graduated from there, is a college freshman. OMG, we’ll soon be empty-nesters — how did that happen?
Our sales have grown by leaps and bounds, and, for sanity’s sake, we graduated from the dining room table to regional fulfillment centers. Being an online-only retailer became a huge advantage during the pandemic when shoppers were stuck at home. Our loyal customers first discovered us through Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. The social networks that were instrumental in bringing people together also brought us word of mouth from repeat shortyLOVE bag owners.
People come to us from around the world not to collect pretty handbags but for help in solving everyday problems stylishly. Let’s say a typical customer chooses one of our lightweight crossbody bags to ease their office commute or make trips to the gym hands-free. They quickly see there’s more to that bag than just a sleek exterior — they can trust the quality, and it’s designed inside and out to make their day just a little easier. Then they decide one of our ultra-light, organized backpacks or zipped-up totes would be the perfect carry-on for their next trip. Now we have an ongoing relationship!
People ask why I named my business shortyLOVE. Shorty was my first dog. That little Boston terrier was with me through my Marc Jacobs years and into my early sketches for my own bags. A whole lot of love from Shorty brought me to shortyLOVE.
Over the holidays, I opened an office/studio in downtown Chappaqua less than a mile from home. Close enough to walk to! I plan to hold events from time to time this year. I love our little community so much and can’t wait for my friends and neighbors to pop by. You might even get to meet Fred and Otis, our fur babies!