“Be clear about your mission and your value proposition and don’t waiver from that.” — Jodi Arnold, creative director, ELOQUII
When we first heard the story about ELOQUII, we were wowed.
It had all the trappings of one of those Hollywood tales: the underdog bouncing back from seemingly insurmountable odds. The plus-size women’s clothing store is truly a “comeback kid,” having been shuttered by its parent company but then resurrected as a stand-alone entity thanks to its vocal legion of fans. Eager to learn more, we spoke with Jodi Arnold, the brand’s creative director, who was on board throughout the entire adventure.
Jodi is a fashionista of the first degree. Years ago, armed with a degree in Fashion Design from Baylor University, the Birmingham, Alabama native made her way to New York City and into the various positions in the fashion industry. Then, over a cup of mint tea in Paris in 1999, she made the decision to set out on her own and launched the press and retail favorite contemporary line, MINT Jodi Arnold. Her next move came after a successful designer collaboration with The Limited; the company hired Jodi in 2011 as Vice President of Design for their then-new plus-size line, ELOQUII. The rest, as they say, is history.
Here’s what Jodi has to share about her beloved brand, standing out from the crowd as well as bouncing back from career challenges:
You’ve gone through ups and downs with ELOQUII. What were a few things you learned from the process? There are too many to name but first would be the power of being small and nimble in a manufacturing business. Second, go with your gut. The plus-size business was one that made so much sense, given our knowledge of the average woman’s shape, and we could not understand why no one was catering to her. Third, be very clear about your mission and your value proposition and don’t waiver from that.
What would you like the plus-size women of the world to take away from the story of ELOQUII?
I hope that plus-size women will be inspired by the passion it took to re-launch this brand for THEM and to finally give them the fashion choices they deserve. Everyone on the team passed up other lucrative job offers and took a risk to do what we really believed in.
So many companies make significant missteps with regard to their online/social media presence. How did ELOQUII successfully negotiate those waters?
We try to be as human as possible and do everything we can to ensure our customers are taken care of. They are our #1 priority. We also stay really nimble – as little pre-scheduled content as possible so that we’re able to react to current events, or even priority changes on site. If she follows us on social, she knows what is happening on the site at all times, and even a few exclusive deals she can’t find anywhere else. Thanks to our in-house social media expert, Sarah Conley, we are able to interact with and react to our fans at all times!
What advice do you have for businesses or brands looking to harness their fan base like ELOQUII did?
If you genuinely care about what your fans have to say, let them know! We do our best to respond to every question and comment, most of the time in under an hour. We’re not going to be able to make everyone happy, but we want her to know that her feedback has been heard and we’re trying to accommodate all of our customers in the best way that we can. If they want personal shopping advice, we’re happy to help guide them in the right direction. If they want us to offer a certain style in another color, we’re going to give it serious consideration. It’s that level of attention to detail that will bring her back to us time and time again.