Plus-size clothing brand Eloquii has a new 27-piece collection dropping online and in stores today, created in partnership with Refinery29 but inspired by data collected from 1,000-plus Refinery29 readers.
Just over a year ago, the two brands sent out an email survey to these readers (also plus-size shoppers) asking them what kinds of clothing they shop for, trends they love, voids they see in the plus-size market and so on. Once those results came in the brands selected 29 Refinery29 ambassadors, who had already taken the initial survey, to work more closely with on designing the collection — weighing in on fabrics, cuts, styles and more. Eloquii and Refinery29 spoke to those women through video conferences, usually with multiple ambassadors on the line at once. They also sent 40 product sketches, including pattern swatches and colors. Based on feedback given about those sketches, the brands whittled the collection down to 27 pieces.
“After speaking with those women, we were able to land on the biggest void that we heard loud and clear from these customers. They feel like a lot of plus-size brands are doing really well in things you can wear to go out and wear to work, but they’re struggling with that in-between for the weekend,” said Yesenia Torres, director of design at Eloquii.
That led Eloquii to “The Weekender” collection. Simply put, it’s a collection designed to be worn on the weekend, whether that’s running to the grocery store or going to brunch with friends.
To promote the collection, Refinery29’s team created a custom video that shares all the details of the partnership and a closer look at the design process, while its editorial team will be posting articles around the plus-size market to complement the collection, said Laura Delarato, senior creative at Refinery29. The previously mentioned ambassadors and influencers will also be pushing the line on Instagram. All 27 items will also be for sale on Refinery29’s website, but the publisher declined to provide any information on the revenue share from the partnership.
“A lot of times, in plus-size clothing, there are people who have the best intentions and the things they want to make for [the customer], and there is usually another conversation around what does she want. We thought it was incredibly important to go directly to her to ask those questions,” said Delarato.
Through those conversations both brands learned that one of the biggest problems women in this demographic have when shopping for plus-size clothing is the price point. Mainly, it’s too high. So, Eloquii landed on items ranging from $49.95 to $129.95, which for a standard partnership is a relatively lower price point. That’s because these kinds of partnerships usually require more time and a different range of materials from what the brand normally uses, Torres said.
Part of why the brand was able to sell this collection at a lower price point without skimping on materials is thanks to a handful of wholesale partnerships. Stitch Fix and Gwynnie Bee will carry pieces of the collection while Nordstrom.com will carry the entire collection — a first for Eloquii, which has had pieces picked up by the retailer online and Nordstrom Racked in the past but never a full collection.
“It helps to sell the collection through more partnerships and get more backing around it so the price can stay down,” said Torres.
The key there, said Ivka Adam, CMO at influencer marketplace Heartbeat, is to not let the entire customer base have input on design decision for an entire collection. For example, a brand like Anine Bing has used Instagram to ask customers what color they want to see one of the company’s best-selling shoes in next — red or purple — or even where the brand should open its next retail location.
“You don’t want to give the customer too much choice because you don’t want to alienate someone for not picking something they voted for,” said Adam. “But by bringing people out from behind their desks and the big corporations they are part of and connecting with their consumers, it makes consumers feel like they are being listened to and they are more engaged with the brand.”