It’s been a busy six months for designer Elaine Turner. It’s also been a challenging six months. The Texas-based designer has made difficult business decisions, taking that whole “fashion is so glamorous” idea and dumping it on its head. But, as is often the case, from struggle comes perspective and newness that reveals possibility.
That newness comes in the form of the Elaine Turner Edit Box, a straight-to-your-doorstep delivery of head-to-toe pieces personalized for the woman wearing them. Unlike other fashion and beauty box services, the ET Edit is a consignment box, rather than a subscription. Keep what you like, send back the rest. Shoppers are charged for what they want and stay in contact with an In House Elite Stylist for styling direction and product questions.
And that busy six months thing?
Turner and her husband and business partner Jim, conceived and created the Edit initiative in January 2018 and launched the ET Edit in June. It was a concept they’d been toying with, but the business of fashion expedited the idea. In that same time frame, Turner was also faced with the difficult decision to close all but three of her brick-and-mortar stores in cities across the state.
“Women have had a fundamental shift in the way they are shopping. It has really gone towards ease and convenience,” Turner says. “That shift has created a complete opportunity to re-evaluate the company, but the hard part is the reorganization. That is challenging.”
Turner shares the lament of many retailers in her hometown of Houston who also saw traffic drop-off after Hurricane Harvey. Coupled with slows in the oil and gas industry and an overloaded consumer, Turner knew the time for a fresh approach was now.
“I have women begging for services, but they tell me, ‘I can’t come to your store. I don’t have time,’ and when they decide to come to my store it’s because she has carved out the time or she’s coming to support a cause that’s important to her.”
Philanthropy is an important element of the ET brand, and Turner’s stores are routinely buzzing with parties supporting wide range of causes and charitable organizations. Maintaining that connection to community is a priority, and her stores that remain open will still be party and shopping central.
Turner and her team also travel to cities where her legion of Elite Stylists spread the pink-fueled gospel of feeling beautiful inside and out, holding fashion shows and pop-up shops benefiting causes important to the women in that specific community. The stylist program is available in 14 states across the country, including California, New Jersey, Florida, and Louisiana, carrying the ET brand beyond the Texas borders.
The convergence of the Edit and the Elite Stylist program combined with the three Texas store locations, gives Turner the opportunity to keep shaking things up, while exploring what’s around the corner.
“We are a complete lifestyle brand. The addition of apparel really rounded out the business and led to the birth of the box. We saw a huge opportunity and decided to take what we have created and deliver it in a new innovative way,” says Turner.
Consider the process a bit like a dating site, sans cringe-worthy pick-up lines. Shoppers fill out an online profile and are assigned an Elite Stylist who is in charge of filling a customer’s box according to her body shape, personal style, and needs. Once submitted, items are pulled from the ET warehouse in Houston and shipped to a customer. Choose everything and save 20 percent on the entire box, or keep only what you want and send the box back within five days of receiving it with an included pre-paid label.
“I really see the Edit as intimacy redefined. You engage in the products the way you want to. In your sweatpants with a glass of wine or try it on for your husband or friend,” Turner says. “You can still have the Elaine Turner experience, but on your terms. And if you need help, our stylists are right there for you.”
Contemplating the brand’s new direction, prompted Turner to take another risk, so she sat down and wrote a book, Breaking the Glass Slipper. It’s a vulnerable and humorous take on her life and the experiences that shaped her.
“My mission is making women feel effortless and beautiful inside and out. I want to bring women together and talk about the hard stuff and still have fun,” Turner says. Her book is slated to be published in 2018.
“I always want to connect with my customers in new ways. Sometimes it’s scary, but I believe in this brand and am excited for the future.”