Started by two young fashion designers from New Orleans, Jolie & Elizabeth is a line of made in USA dresses that gives you the perfect amount of southern charm. With dreams of making it in the NY fashion industry, Jolie Benson started her career working at Betsy Johnson. She later ventured to BCBG where she worked for three years. There, she met Sarah Elizabeth who was interning at BCBG.
Jolie had come to experience the many complications associated in the production process while working at BCBG; such as 600 units of material being thrown away from overseas manufacturers because it was the wrong fabric. Jolie eventually decided to leave NY and move back to New Orleans to embark on a new adventure.
Once she moved back to her native city, she ran into Sarah. The two met for lunch and have been business partners since. Jolie & Elizabeth saw a need for southern dresses that weren’t so trend focused, and wanted to bring back one of the most classic southern styles: seersucker. It was important for them to create a line of dresses that had the traditional southern silhouettes, basic comfortable fabrics and styles that you could return to summer after summer, and winter after winter. And, the best part of all…..is that all of their dresses are made in the state of Louisiana!
We had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Jolie about all of the exciting details behind Jolie & Elizabeth:
What advice could you give to brands about producing in America?
It’s not as expensive as people think. People right off the bat are convinced their profit will not be as high if they manufacture in the US, but that’s not necessarily true. You save on all the hidden costs of manufacturing overseas and cut down on risk. We are successful because of made in America.
What’s the manufacturing scene like in New Orleans?
In the past few years, about three factories have popped up here in New Orleans. It used to be a huge manufacturing city, but when manufacturing went overseas, it sucked everything dry. Now, a resurgence of factories have appeared. We have been able to help local manufacturers double in size and keep their business alive.
What was the biggest challenge you have overcome since creating your brand?
When we first started our business we got a private investor, but he was telling us how to run our business before a single dress was even manufactured. We eventually bought him out, so our company is who we are. Now we get to do it completely our way.
Who would you like to see wear your clothes?
We love seeing that women of all ages can wear our dresses.
Most fun you’ve had with Jolie and Elizabeth?
We have a great office environment. We are all young and have a lot of fun together. It’s a lively office where we are always joking, having fun and creating a great office culture. Our favorite thing to do when we have had a long day is to stop everything and start trying on dresses!
Who is your fashion inspiration?
Strong ladies with classic style like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. We also pull in old southern inspiration like Tallulah Bankhead. We are also really inspired by our own customers and clients.
Can you tell us a little about your favorite spot in New Orleans?
The Columns– a hotel/restaurant bar right on St. Charles, its our classic go-to. Sometimes we have team meetings there and stay all night!