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Marielle Shortell & Andrew Shortell: “Joy is not Postponed”

Our tagline is “Joy is not Postponed”. Covid has done a great job of taking away our ability to plan- events, concerts, vacations, reunions, weddings. So we are trying to make sure that Joy is still active in our homes. A simple Tuesday meal or a celebratory Sunday supper, or an important milestone should not […]

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Our tagline is “Joy is not Postponed”. Covid has done a great job of taking away our ability to plan- events, concerts, vacations, reunions, weddings. So we are trying to make sure that Joy is still active in our homes. A simple Tuesday meal or a celebratory Sunday supper, or an important milestone should not be postponed.


As part of my series on the “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marielle Shortell & Andrew Shortell of Hestia Harlow.

Marielle Shortell is the founder of Hestia Harlow and Silver Lining Design Group, an international event design and production company, both based in Bethesda, Maryland. With over 16 years of creating beautiful environments and experiences for clients all over the world, Marielle has become recognized as one of the industries’ rising stars. After leaving her last company just 5 years ago, she set out to create a team that could re-imagine the way events were designed and executed. Within 3 years, SLDG made it to the distinguished INC 5000 list. She believes that her success, and ultimately that of her company SLDG derives from several key core values. Being BOLD, nimble and AGILE while incorporating SOUL into every project. With INTEGRITY at the center of her business philosophy, she likes to think of herself as a pretty COOL innovator and trendsetter that is a perpetual SEEKER of style.

After losing her son Tristan to SIDS in 2014, she has committed to helping others through her pay it forward initiative at SLDG. This program takes a portion of the company’s profits and donates them to research, non-profit groups and individuals helping to make a difference.

Marielle also believes travel has been one of the biggest influences in her work. Seeing the rich culture, architecture and design around the world has helped SLDG stay relevant and allows her to bring a fresh approach to every project. Producing events in cities like Sydney, Rome, Hong Kong, Paris, Los Angeles, New York and Miami has provided incredible inspiration as well as creating an amazing network of production partners around the world.

In 2006, taking full advantage of her broad skill set, Marielle brought creativity and originality to film. As the costume designer on the movie Psych 9 starring Cary Elwes, Michael Biehn, Sara Foster and Gabriel Mann, she curated unique clothing styles for these actors to explore their characters and immerse themselves in the disturbing psychological thriller.

Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband Andrew, children Piers & Sutton. She is a member for the Washington D.C. chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO).


Andrew Shortell is a Washington, D.C. based entrepreneur, live event producer and film director. After moving to the United States after University in England, he embarked on a highly successful career in catering and event production, managing high profile events in Washington, Los Angeles, New York, Rome, Barcelona, London and Paris. While a senior sales executive at Washington’s premiere catering and events company, Design Cuisine, he was responsible for such events as the Republican Senate House dinner, Presidential Inaugurations, Legg Mason Tennis Classic (now CITI Open) and Bloomberg’s White House Correspondents after party. More recently, as Vice President of Global Events at Discovery Communications, he has produced such notable events as Discovery’s Upfront, US Hispanic Upfront, Velocity Network launch, Bear Grylls Premiere London, and hospitality events at the French Open. He also worked extensively with Discovery’s new acquisition EUROSPORT to produce a variety of events across multiple sporting platforms including FIS World Cup Skiing, Tour de France and Grand Slam Tennis.

Looking to broaden his horizons in the creative field, Andrew attended the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles where he directed and produced several critically acclaimed short films including “3 Minutes” and “Pull”. His first feature “PSYCH 9” starring Cary Elwes, Sara Foster, Michael Biehn and Gabriel Mann, premiered in 2010 in theaters across the UK. Distributed internationally by Universal Pictures and in the US by LIONSGATE Home Entertainment, PSYCH 9 also ran on SHOWTIME and THE MOVIE CHANNEL.

Andrew’s latest venture, Hestia Harlow, takes full advantage of his broad skill set and creativity. The hyper-curated rent and return party box company is starting a revolution in the events industry, giving people the inspiration and resources to host beautiful parties in their homes with just a few clicks.


Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My entrepreneurial journey is unique like many others. After college I entered into the workforce to join the World Bank. While I loved the dynamic atmosphere, I was craving a creative outlet. I took a gamble and took an internship at a small local event production company, and soon after I realized this was my passion. I currently own 2 companies in the hospitality and events world- one focused on B2B with larger marketing experiential events and my most recent, an e-commerce B2C focused on making entertaining accessible. (Marielle Shortell)

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I actually think the most interesting part about my job is that each day is different. There are probably a million entertaining stories I could share;) The event industry is a very “colorful” environment. I actually think this year I have learned the most- from launching a start-up, to creating proprietary packaging, to working with our strategic partners and hearing their passion, and lastly work with incredibly talented designers. There is never a dull moment! (Marielle Shortell)

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am really fortunate to be in the business of creating joy. I have done that intentionally so that each day I am surrounded with excitement and celebration. Hestia Harlow is a first to market concept, aggregating hyper curated direct to consumer experiences and rentals that previously had only been delivered through 3rd party professionals. Like Rent the Runway, we are trying to make high end home decor attainable and accessible. Our platform was created to inspire people to entertain at home and give them the resources to do this effortlessly. (Marielle Shortell)

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Fail Forward”. Don’t have an ego when you make mistakes. They are no failures but lessons learned. Our industry like many others requires you to take risks, experiment and try new things. Hestia Harlow is a great example of this. From our initial concept the business model has changed probably 10 or more times as we experimented and honed in on what we felt were the right products and services for our customers. (Marielle Shortell)

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There have been many people who have helped me professionally along the way, but not necessarily one person. I am very grateful for everyone that has helped me get to this point- family, friends, fellow entrepreneurs. In particular, my Entrepreneur Organization has given me tremendous support over the past five years. (Marielle Shortell)

Thank you for that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Our tagline is “Joy is not Postponed”. Covid has done a great job of taking away our ability to plan- events, concerts, vacations, reunions, weddings. So we are trying to make sure that Joy is still active in our homes. A simple Tuesday meal or a celebratory Sunday supper, or an important milestone should not be postponed.
  2. The first is family. It may sound cliche, but it really is the heart of joy in your living space. It is so important to gather all the family, whether for meals, game night, or just fun activities. Having that focus with no distractions is so important for everyone.
  3. Candles. So I am a huge candle person and always have my oversized seasonal Nest candle burning. Having the scent of fall, or Christmas in our living room and kitchen makes me happy.
  4. I like to say that we are like “rent the runway” but for your home. Our goal is to give customers accessibility to seasonal and thematic decor so that they can incorporate these items into your “home decor wardrobe” while not using any storage, and at a fraction of a purchase price. Our team of event designers have carefully curated each look. There is also the ability for individuals to customize their orders.
  5. Bring Joy into your house — make holidays, gathering special, halloween, with our collections. Cohorts — pandemic pods — make everyday special — creating occasions, rentables no purchases — try it and return it

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think Covid has not only had a terrible impact on the health of 100’s of thousands of people, but it has disportionately impacted women. We have clawed our way up the corporate ladder, dreamed to become CEO or C-suite professionals, and founded companies in all industries. Many of those industries were in the creative fields, often impacted first in the shutdown of the economy and still impacted as much of the country (rightfully so) struggles to reopen. In addition, a vast majority of women had to stay home to become teachers and caretakers, often giving up their well-earned positions. While I support the shutdowns and the safety measures, I would love to set up a foundation for these women to support them through this time- beit financially, support groups, creation of cohorts, or mentorship. (Marielle Shortell)

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

100% it has to be Phil Knight- breakfast, lunch, coffee, or 2 min drive by! I have read Shoe Dog cover to cover many times. As a business owner, it can be isolating at times and you often think your experiences are unique only to you. To read and more importantly “feel” the grit in Phil’s words throughout his Nike story, has given me the strength to continue on… even when you feel defeated. (Marielle Shortell)

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Hestia Harlow

www.hestiaharlow.com

@hestiaharlow

Questions — [email protected]

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

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