Susan Shieldkret is a woman of many passions. And, her Newport Coast boutique, The Passionate Collector, combines a majority of them.
“The Passionate Collector is a store that sells jewelry and accessories,” says Shieldkret. “However, I like to think of it as a place where women can really amplify what they are wearing so that they are truly noticed. I think that is really important, and that’s what we do here.”
Shieldkret began the concept for The Passionate Collector nearly 10 years ago.
“It was very different then,” she says. “I was just selling at a couple of fundraisers locally, and then I decided to sell a couple times a year, just out of my home and have big parties that way.”
Which is good, because parties are another passion of Shieldkret’s.
“I love to throw parties,” she says. “My mom always threw great parties. She made sure we had plenty of food whenever people came over. She knew good food and drink is a great way to get people to be friendly and enjoy themselves.”
Shieldkret’s annual shopping parties eventually evolved into securing a permanent storefront, first on Balboa Island and then in Laguna Beach.
“The party tradition is something we have always done. And, it just grew from there.”
Today, she sells exclusively at her location at Newport Coast Shopping Center and online.
“I have always enjoyed finding beautiful pieces that I would like to wear and that I think other people would like to wear as well.”
Shieldkret, who has a keen eye for style, carefully curates the inventory at The Passionate Collector.
“I love all my designers, but my brand new favorite is a line we started carrying called Mara Labell,” she says. “The designer is from Naples, Florida, and she creates everything herself and just has such a beautiful design sense.”
Shieldkret stocks all manner of jewelry, from hand-made, high-end fashion to fine jewelry.
“I don’t care what it costs, “ she says. “It doesn’t have to be expensive, but I want to see that it is a well-made piece and there is a reason for it. It can’t look like every other piece. Women need to have options and most need more than just a few pieces of jewelry so they can optimize their outfits.”
Besides jewelry, you’ll also find a broad range of handbags, belts, umbrellas, watches, scarves and an assortment of gift items. Almost all items in the boutique are hand-made.
“We also have some men’s things like cufflinks, jewelry, watches, ties and our new bow ties and pockets squares, not to mention our custom hand-made Italian umbrellas,” she says.
The Passionate Collector is staffed by a fashion savvy team who are happy to offer styling advice to any client. Complimentary gift-wrapping is always available, and The Passionate Collector even exercises a hassle-free repair policy on items made by their designers. Since opening in Newport almost two years ago, Shieldkret says the reception from the community has been very warm.
“When it is the right store for the person who walks in, they just find a million different things in here to look at and be amazed by.”
And, Shieldkret still hosts big parties.
“I think it’s a good thing because we do the parties mainly at night. When people are done with work, they want to relax and The Passionate Collector can be a great venue for people to relax in.”
Parties happen several times a year, and past in-store events have included a Scotch tasting with gift giving tips for Father’s Day, trunk shows and fundraisers for Circle of Red, Boys Town California, Sage Hill School and Newport Coast Elementary, to name a few.
Shieldkret’s party season kicked off this October with an in-store event benefiting an organization called Traveling Stories. Dedicated to outsmarting poverty, one book at a time, the San Diego-based non-profit, that is also active in the Costa Mesa area, is another one of Shieldkret’s passions.
“As a former librarian (library coordinator in Malibu, to be exact), it is very close to my heart,” she says. “What they do is work with underprivileged kids to help them with their reading. It makes a big difference in the skills of the kids and the lives of the parents if English is not their first language. It is a huge, huge part of their schooling.”
Shieldkret’s work with Traveling Stories will continue through the holiday season, as she collects donations for the nonprofit at her store.
“At Traveling Stories, they request donations of toys and prizes to use as incentive gifts,” she says. “The kids finish reading a book and they can pick a prize, so one of the things we are going to do is have a barrel here for donations.”
Beyond the holiday season, Shieldkret’s plans for the new year include pursuing her many passions while continuing to serve the Newport Beach community.
“We are really different from a fine jewelry store. It’s just a totally different take. And we are definitely in the right community,” Shieldkret says. “I think we can service them really, really well.”
The Passionate Collector, Newport Coast Shopping Center, 21115 Newport Coast Drive, Newport Beach 92657 949.673.0440 | ThePassionateCollector.com