In 2016, Elle Pugh and Yolande Ellis decided to take on the world of luxury knitwear. As longtime lovers of cashmere, the mother-daughter duo were in want of somewhere to purchase it year-round. After realising there wasn't a retail destination that met their needs, the pair decided to launch Elle + Riley Cashmere, a brand dedicated to purveying pieces of the coveted knitwear for every season.
In doing this, the Auckland-based duo was able to draw on their collective background in fashion and retail with Elle having worked in stores locally and in New York — she also completed a stint in luxury PR in London and Auckland — and Yolande’s former career anchored in styling for editorial and TV. They started with an online platform, and following its success, naturally opened a bricks and mortar store.
Their first was on Auckland’s bustling Ponsonby Road in 2017, followed by a Christchurch boutique in 2018 and a Queenstown outpost earlier this year. While each space offers something slightly different, there is a common theme threaded throughout them all; that of a calm, light-filled space akin to being in someone’s home.
The retail experience for Elle + Riley is tantamount to the product itself with each serene interior creating a warm and relaxed atmosphere. Here, customers are able to browse the catalogue of sumptuous cashmere styles at their leisure. The brand caters to both men and women, with a legion of dedicated followers who embrace a sense of elegance, modernity and timelessness. For Elle and Yo, it has been incredibly important to embody this customer within Elle + Riley's overarching ethos, hence their detailed approach to customer service.
Having recognised a bona fide appetite for cashmere in New Zealand, the duo has embarked on a journey to educate consumers of its many virtues with a humble goal to see people to wear cashmere every day of the year.