Christina is the founder of Elu, a clothing company that makes custom made-to-measure dresses for plus sized women.
Tell us about your project:
Elu is a made-to-measure clothing brand for plus sized women, using smart technology for true-fit style. Elu invites the customer to be the co-creator of their looks. Elu was really born out of the need to create a solution for plus sized women, keeping their bodies in mind. In general, retail clothes are usually created for smaller women. There’s no proportional scaling as sizes increase. Women of all different shapes carry their weight – their beauty – in different ways.
If the base of the garment isn’t created with that woman in mind, it won’t fit well.
Christina is proud that she’s created something with a plus-sized woman in mind, that treats her in a way that she isn’t used to.
Elu is size agnostic – every garment is crafted to the unique measurements of the individual shopper. This is the first time that this consumer has been invited to control her apparel experience. Elu liberates her from prescriptive fashion and standardization.
The customer can control the neckline, sleeve line, length, hemline, colors, and embellishments to flatter and accentuate the parts of her body she’s most confident about. She can create something that will work for her body.
How did you decide to do what you’re doing?
Christina wanted a solution for all plus sized women and the company was born out of her own pain point. She didn’t have clothes to wear that looked the way she felt about herself.
As a teenager, she was dressing as a mature adult. Teachers loved it, but didn’t realize she dressed that way because the juniors section didn’t have clothing that fit well in her size.
In her 20s, Christina was working with high profile Marketing clients who invited her to high-profile events with people who looked amazing. She started to opt out since she couldn’t find clothes in her size that made her look and feel the way she wanted to.
Christina said that it started to weigh on her, and she started to feel self-conscious. In a way, she felt like she was being marginalized by the fashion industry. She couldn’t enjoy the fashion the way her same aged friends could enjoy.
Her breaking point was going to an all-white dress yacht party and a bunch of women were wearing the same low-quality white dress. Awkward! These women were dressed identically at an event where it was supposed to be all about showing off.
So Christina sat on the idea for maybe 5 years. She went back to business school, became a corporate buyer at Target, then worked at a consulting company that helped designers launch their lines. She did the homework of how to bring it to life, and it was a lengthy journey.
How long did you contemplate starting your business before actually starting it?
It took her a while, because there were so many different possible ways in. From the time she had the idea until today, it’s been about seven years in total. She knew she had to craft a plan to get from her former life to a new life that could accommodate her plan. She wanted to feel confident she’d have what it took to make this successful.
Besides the idea itself, being successful is all about building a brand. There’s a lot at stake in terms of what can make or break your business.
What does the future look like?
Very exciting! Christine has so many ideas for how to make her target consumer excited about their options, and feel good about what she’s wearing while enhancing her confidence.
She’s proud to have a pipeline of options to keep the experience fresh for the customer, and build out their wardrobe with more. She’s looking forward to working out strategic partnerships with other designers. She’s excited to see how the platform will evolve over time.
Not every woman knows what she wants, so Elu will help curate that experience. Customers can look forward to more bells and whistles, like 3D scan capabilities. There’s a lot more tech that will be implemented in future to enhance the process and make it easier.
COming soon, Christina is taking Elu off on a roadshow. She’ll be hitting up major markets to launch and talk about the brand.
- NYC Full-Figure Fashion Week and CurvyCon on June 18
- New Orleans Essence Music Festival on July 3
- Finally, a stop in Atlanta, then back in Chicago later in July
What are you working towards?
The Elu team is working towards building a brand that matters and is relevant to the customer.
For Christina it’s not just about fashion, but building a plan that is meaningful in the landscape of apparel. Elu wearers have confidence and courage. She says that when we feel good about how we look, we’re a little more audacious about what we do. We want to be the customer’s accomplice in that.
Finally, Elu is a brand that endures. The business model is to help the customer as she evolves, like if she loses weight. Women who lose a certain amount of inches will get a free alteration on their dress. Everything else in closet has a certain shelf life, but Elu wants to evolve with that women. Different than other brands
Women who lose a certain amount of inches will get a free alteration on their dress. Everything else in her closet has a certain shelf life, but Elu wants to evolve with that women.