A few months ago I stumbled into a pop-up shop in midtown and was drawn to a handbag, I turn around and the two designers, Neely + Chloe are standing right behind me. They point out their shoes they designed as well. The collection is clean, fun and just the right price point to not blow your budget. Born into a family synonymous for fashion (Tory Burch’s neices) these ladies are making a name for themselves from a. pop-up store nestled on Bleecker Street to a chic showroom in the heart of Tribeca. Learn more about how they both left the corporate route in pursuit of something more, and stay tuned for pictures from our event with Neely + Chloe and Crowns by Christy on May 15th.
1. I love everything about your product Neely + Chloe! How did you decide on handbags and shoes and do you have plans to expand to additional product lines?
To us, we believe handbags and shoes are the finishing touches on any women’s outfit. They are what takes your jeans and a white tee from day to night or your little black dress from casual to cocktail. Right now, we are focused on executing at the highest level in these two categories and staying focused on quality. As we grow, we plan to listen to our customers and help them fill the other voids that are missing from their closest.
2. Before there was Neely + Chloe there was the actually Neely and Chloe, how did your current careers lead you to start your own brand?
N: As an art history major, I was always very focused on the design and aesthetic. After spending about a year in the art work, the entrepreneurial side got the best of me and I left to launch a retail concept which laid all of the ground work for launching Neely & Chloe.
C: I graduated from Washington and Lee in 2014 and got a job at J.Crew during my senior year. I worked in the merchandising department for about a year before I decided to leave and come on to work with Neely.
3. You have a pretty powerful last name in the industry. How was growing up with fashion in the family helped or hindered your own brand?
Certainly helped more than hindered. We get a ton of inspiration from our parents and their ability to incorporate beauty into all aspects of our lives. We grew up in a house where design and hemlines were dinner table conversation. Everything they taught us was what gave us the confidence to go out on our own so early in our careers. We would certainly not be where we are today if it wasn’t for our parents influence.
4. You mentioned a cross country road trip in an airstream this summer, what is your favorite thing about interacting with your customer? Have you noticed a difference from state to state?
Interacting with our customers Is what really allows us to understand what is working (and what isn’t working) about the product we designed. We are very focused on where form meets function and try to incorporate any and all constructed feedback we receive. Without a doubt the best way to get this feedback is in person. Each new place we visit, seems to have its own individual interests in the product. We see favorites change from color to color or style to style, all influenced by local weather, culture and demographic.
5. What has been the biggest “pinch me” moment since starting your brand? What would be the next big moment for you?
Opening our own store front in the west village was a pretty exciting day for us! I don’t think we really believed it was happening until the first customers walked through the door. Then we had to play it cool! I think with each new phase of the business, there seems to be a hundred “pinch me” moments– Opening up our first office, features in different publications, and hitting certain sales goals. There always seems to be another milestone on the horizon which is what keeps us focused on the future and determined to accomplish all of our goals.