Meghan Markle’s Lifestyle Brand Could Be So Much More

Meghan Markle could expand her creative vision to transform her American Riviera Orchard brand into a thriving social hub for Hollywood’s elite, a new episode of Newsweek‘s The Royal Report podcast has discussed.

Though the duchess has shown no hard plans to do so, the brand, which so far has yet to develop its output beyond 50 jars of strawberry jam and a number of trademark applications, has the potential to grow in the private members club sector, chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston, has suggested.

Meghan soft launched American Riviera Orchard back in March, with her jam jar PR strategy being unveiled in April. Fifty of the duchess’ close associates and contacts received jars which a number posted to their millions of followers on social media.

The duchess is seeking to trademark the name in connection with a host of products and retail ventures, but could a physical orchard somewhere in the lush wilds of Montecito in California soon be on the cards to welcome visitors?

“We had an idea for where Meghan could take this brand that would, I think, make so much more sense,” Royston told Royal Report listeners of American Riviera Orchard. “I think it would be fantastic as a private members club.”

Meghan Markle
The Duchess of Sussex in Austin, Texas, on March 8, 2024. Meghan soft-launched her American Riviera Orchard brand in March.

Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images

“There could be a real orchard attached to a wonderful house where you go and stay and meet all your high-class high profile, executive guests and so on, maybe in the tradition of Soho farmhouse. Meghan actually has contacts at the Soho House [members club] group, specifically, her friend Markus Anderson.”

Meghan has been a longtime member of Soho House. She previously praised the members club network in her lifestyle blog, The Tig, and she had her first dates with Prince Harry at one of its exclusive London locations.

“If Meghan teamed up with someone like Soho House, it would be a fantastic networking opportunity for her,” Royston suggested. “Even if she didn’t do it with Soho House, but she did it as a private members club, she could use it to meet the great and good of Hollywood and really kind of spread her wings and get herself out there, but also on her doorstep in Montecito.”

“Meghan’s been sending these American Riviera Orchard jam jars out to all her celebrity friends who have been posting them on social media, which is fantastic advertising if you’re doing private members club because look at all these big names and celebrities who have already signed up,” he continued, suggesting that Meghan’s star power could be enough to float such an enormous undertaking as a new or established club.

“It would be a great symbolic way to say, ‘If you sign up, these are the famous people, you’ll be hobnobbing with, they’re already sharing the jam,’ so it would work for everyone,” he said.

So far, no plans for an American Riviera Orchard club or a location have been discussed publicly.

Newsweek has approached representatives of Meghan Markle via email for comment.

American Riviera Orchard has grown its online following since its soft launch in March. As of May, it boasts an Instagram following of more than 600,000, counting among them celebrities such as Mindy Kaling and Abigail Spencer.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

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