L&E: How did you two ladies meet?
ELLE: We met at boarding school in NE Philadelphia suburbs in 1978 and became fast friends.
CARRIE: We met in a Philadelphia suburb boarding school at the age of 16. Both our parents also attending the same school and they also maintain their friendships...both married 50+ years to their boarding school sweethearts.
L&E: You we both in the corporate world. What sparked the adventure into fashion, working together and opening your own store?
ELLE: I had been laid off and resisted returning to corporate recruiting. I was at a point in my life that I knew if there was ever a time to take a complete departure from my some what unfulfilling career path and instead create what I truly love...the time was then. Carrie was in a similar place, so together the decision was made to be "all in". stepping through the fear and leaving what I once believed to be safe career choices has been a test of every aspect of who I am. Not one day have I woke up regretting our decision to create and grow CarriElle's Closet.
CARRIE: I have always loved clothes! While wearing a traditional business suit on a daily basis, I found ways to elevate a navy or black suit into a fashion "yes"! I used scarves, jewelry, shoes and handbags to add color and texture. Mixing and matching colors and prints came naturally as I learned that when I felt stylish and pretty on the outside, I felt beautiful inside which carried over into a successful career.
After moving to South Florida, I opened my own company. Maintaining a strong friendship over the years, Elle moved South to work for my company. In the employment industry, preparing people for interviews involved teaching the art of landing the job. This involved coaching on how to dress from head to toe.
While still in corporate, Elle and I decided to take our love for clothing and style online. We knew our love for clothing/accessories partnered with our love for thrifting made sense...business sense! With a successful online store, we became actively involved in women's empowerment networking groups allowing us to elevate our brand personally. We soon purchased a mobile boutique "The Pink Glambulance". This led to personal shopping and styling women. Within a year, we opened a brick and mortar store.
L&E: What's something that makes CarriElle's Closet unique?
ELLE: We knew that for us to be happy and successful we wanted to create an environment that welcomes and is ready to serve all women, petite to plus. We provide superior customer service by providing a concierge experience, followed by chit chat and laughter...lots of laughter. Our brand message "Where your experience is as unique as our clothing" is our mantra.
CARRIE: We provide a customer-centric concierge service to each and every person that walks through our door. We get to know our customers intimately, learn about their style, understand their frustrations and embrace them for who they are while we design a wardrobe for they are proud of.
L&E: What's the biggest lesson you've learned since starting your business?
ELLE: May sound cliche, but feeling passionate about my work has been taken to a whole new level. A clear vision and really loving what you do really does impact the success of a company. Not sure I believed that until birthing this baby!
CARRIE: Laughing!!! If you don't make mistakes in business, you will never grow. Mistakes teach us how to be and do better. I skin my knees daily but get up smiling.
L&E: Best fashion tips?
ELLE: Fashion does not have to be complicated, show stopping or cover-shoot photo ready. Fashion comes easy to some and yet many find it intimidatingly daunting. Fashion first starts with you and what makes you feel good. It's really that simple. Also, know your best feature, understanding color, balance and proportion. We always say to our customers ...Know what lights you up and what doesn't. This is the kind of thing we work with our customers on a continual basis.
CARRIE: Every woman is unique to herself. Dress to be beautiful and each day will be a walk on the runway.
L&E: Life hack mottos?
ELLE: Assume the best intentions from others
When someone shows you who they are...believe them ---thank you Oprah & Maya
When you know better, you do better. (thanks again Oprah & Maya)
CARRIE: Stay true, love hard, listen and laugh a lot!
L&E: What's your dream and plan for the future with Carrielle's Closet?
ELLE: We expect to expand into more locations in the coming year. We believe we have something unique and needed. "fast fashion" and minimal interaction with the customer is becoming increasingly normal. We want to bring old school back where shopping is a luxury and customers are treated as special guests in our home.
CARRIE: Multiple stores in multiple locations while maintaining a traditional one on one personal shopping experience-Your "experience" is as unique as our "clothing"......holding this as our brand and never letting go.