Tiny, Beautiful Things: Talking with Rony Vardi and Leigh Plessner About Catbird and Weddings

Rony Vardi and Leigh Plessner All photos by Jane Bruce
Rony Vardi and Leigh Plessner
All photos by Jane Bruce

It’s no secret: Catbird is one of our favorite places in Brooklyn. Not only does the store carry some of the most lovely jewelry, home goods, beauty products, and, oh, everything else we everyone could possibly want, but it’s also run and staffed by some of the smartest, most talented women we’ve come across. We recently chatted with Catbird owner Rony Vardi and buyer Leigh Plessner to talk about the not-too-long-ago launch of the Catbird Wedding Annex, and what they think the perfect gifts are for bridesmaids, maids-of-honor, and, frankly, just about anyone you might need to get a gift for in your life—including during the holiday season.

What’s been the best thing about opening up a wedding-specific branch of Catbird?
Vardi: Something that’s been really interesting and cool to me is that we never lost anything of who we are by doing this; it’s just been so organic a process. We’ve had the opportunity to listen to our customers and listen to what they want and also have them discover who we are, rather than just have it be us simply becoming a wedding store. It’s just been a really natural evolution.

That’s what it seems like; it doesn’t feel like you did anything wildly different from the more typical Catbird aesthetic, more like this is just an extension of who you are.
Plessner: We want to give people what they want through a lens that is still very Catbird.

One of the things that’s so great about Catbird jewelry—particularly the house brand—is how wearable it is. Even the most delicate and beautiful things don’t feel precious, or like you can’t wear them every day. Is this what you think people should be looking for in a ring? 
Vardi: “Just because it’s your wedding day, it doesn’t mean you’re a totally different person. You’re still going to be wearing that ring every day, so it has to speak to who you are.”

Beyond rings for bride and groom, it’s usually traditional for brides to get their bridesmaids and maids-of-honor a little something special. What are some of the pieces you recommend? (all pieces pictured below)
Plessner: There’s our brand new Full Heart Necklace, it’s part of our ten-year collection. We also give 20% of the proceeds to Girl Up, which is a UN initiative which helps foster education for hard to reach girls, certainly the heart sentiment and the donation sentiment is a lovely thing to bring into your wedding.

The Threadbare Ring is a really beautiful bridesmaid gift—simple and about as dainty as it can get. It’s our foundation piece.

Then there’s our Rose Thorn Necklace; it’s cast from a rose thorn, so it has that romantic element, which should be part of all weddings in some way! It’s really beautiful and graceful.

The Majorette Pearl Earrings are by Hortense, and I love the idea of twisting something classic and traditional for a wedding. It’s just something that your ladies could have for forever, and interpret in their own way.

The Ballerina Bracelet for a maid-of-honor gift—classic, elegant, beautiful, and easy to wear. Not all bracelets are easy to wear since we spend all day on our computers now, but this one is.

We also have the brand new Rose Thorn Studs: sharp, sexy, elegant.

There’s the Chained to My Heart Necklace, which sits beautifully on the collarbone with a little bit of drape; the earrings are also lovely and just drape around the ear.

Vardi: And the earrings come in diamond and emerald; the emerald are at a very affordable price point.

Plessner: The Ballerina Earrings are beautiful and can totally morph depending on what you wear it with, an ear cuff, or more piercings.

There’s also the Maleficent Studs: I like the idea of giving your maid-of-honor a diamond stud that’s a black diamond with claws cradling it. It’s good to have something a little dark and a little on edge, even for a wedding.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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