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Shop-eat-surf sat down with the team from Element Eden to talk about what’s new for Spring 2011, including its new T-shirt push.
Fashion T-shirts are a new category for Element Eden and the company is skipping graphic styles in favor of solid colors in new silhouettes and finishes. The Conscious by Nature premium T-shirt collection is made in the U.S. out of sustainable materials.
“It’s the most basic you can get, yet it’s a staple in everyone’s closet,” said Design Director Wendy Choi. “What sets us apart is that there’s a definite character to every piece we produce.”
To get it into customers’ hands, Element Eden is relying on its relationship with media and an established advocates program, which promotes the company’s desire to make a difference in the world and inspire girls. Among the advocates are artists Amber B and Miya Ando as well as double leg amputee and athlete Amy Purdy.
“They all have passions that are true to Eden lifestyle,” said Marketing Director Vince De La Pena.
Customers can read all about it on the brand's blog, one of several digital tools in Element Eden’s marketing.
“Making that a priority is definitely an investment into who our brand is,” De La Pena said, adding that traffic on the blog has tripled since last year.
The response to social media efforts has also been on the rise, especially that the brand makes an effort to connect to retailers where the clothes are available.
“We want to make sure that they feel like they have a connection with the brand so they can bring that connection to the customer,” said Marketing Coordinator Alexandra Swanson.
But the company isn’t abandoning print advertising anytime soon. Element Eden works closely with Teen Vogue, incorporating digital platforms such as click to buy and iPhone applications to communicate the brand’s message and make it easier for customers to shop.
De La Pena said this approach has been successful for Element Eden in the past year.
Meanwhile, the company is enjoying a good back-to-school season, which bodes well for the holidays, said VP of Merchandising Kim Hall.
As usual, the brand is having success with its fleece and sweaters, but it’s also seeing growth in the knit department. Hall said bookings for back-to-school were up compared to last year.
Like many other brands, Element Eden is looking for ways to respond to trends quicker and regain some of the business from stores such as Forever 21 and H&M.
Hall said they are considering increasing the domestic portion of the line and creating something for between seasons.
“It’s something we’re looking at and trying to figure out how to incorporate that into our business,” Hall said.
With spring orders just beginning, it’s too early to tell if the company is looking at improved sales for the season. Hall said people are more willing to spend money, but buyers are looking to get their assortments as late as possible.
“It feels like it’s an exciting time for Eden,” De La Pena said. “We feel like we’re really well-positioned right now and doing the right things.”