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Ellington brand poised for growth despite recession
May '09
Ellington, a lifestyle accessories brand established in 1986, is poised for growth despite the economic downturn. A series of business initiatives, starting with the recent re-launch of the brand with a new logo and upgraded website, will boost brand awareness and position Ellington as a leader in handbags and travel accessories. With strong financial backing from Chicago-based private equity firm UIB Capital, Ellington is able to confidently invest in these brand-building initiatives in a time when many companies are pulling back.

Ellington CEO Mike Edwards, formerly CEO of lucy activewear, initiated the brand re-launch immediately after joining the company in January 2009. "Now is the time to invest in building our brand. We are positioning Ellington for long-term, global growth by focusing on innovative product development and exceptional customer experiences at every touch-point," Edwards says.

Understanding that good product is paramount for the success of any brand, Ellington is investing significantly in new designs. "We're developing our value proposition with signature leathers, unique fabrics, thoughtful design details, and products that combine fashion and function, all at moderate price points," Edwards explains.

For Fall/Winter 2009, Ellington will introduce a new collection of classic-chic handbags in its signature Docina leather, as well as an expanded line of nylon bags that move seamlessly between travel and everyday use. The brand will also launch a new line of handbags made with Ellington's signature Eco Leather, which is produced in an environmentally responsible tannery. Says Edwards, "The goal is to serve both the traditional handbag markets as well as the casual lifestyle and travel segments."

Ellington is also working to improve the consumer experience on all levels. A new website, launched May 1, 2009, includes new branded content, improved shopability, more product photos, and a clean, crisp design. This is only the beginning of the brand's push to become a leading e-commerce handbag resource, with plans for further upgrades throughout the year.

"Many companies in the fashion industry don't take the time to create extraordinary online experiences for customers," Edwards says, going on to note that he sees significant growth potential in the online aspects of the business, both with consumers and for buyers. In light of this, the new Ellington website supports shopping not only for direct consumers but also for buyers, who can now place orders online at wholesale prices. With new accounts on Facebook and Twitter, the company is also investing in online social networking as a means for building brand awareness and connecting with customers.

Another important consumer touch-point is the Ellington Store. Located in Portland, Oregon, the store is currently being expanded and remodeled, with a weekend of Grand Re-Opening Events planned for May 28-31. "We're aligning the store with the overall brand re-launch, making it the ultimate Ellington shopping experience," explains Edwards. Though the store will have a fresh look, it will still retain elements of Ellington's heritage, as the remodel is almost entirely based on re-using materials already present in the Ellington Store and offices.

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