Eloquii, the women’s plus-size online and catalogue company seeking to sustain its growth, has bolstered its team by naming Melissa Gellman Weiss chief marketing officer and Michael Concannon chief technology officer.
Gellman Weiss, formerly senior vice president of marketing at J. Crew, will also hold the title of executive vice president over direct-to-consumer at Eloquii. Before J. Crew, she led the brand marketing for apparel, shoes and accessories at Amazon.com and the marketing and international development for Amazon’s Shopbop.com. Earlier, she worked at Fast Retailing USA and with its Theory and Helmut Lang brands.
Concannon was the chief technology officer at Quidsi, an Amazon-owned e-commerce company. Earlier, he was vice president of e-commerce for Barnes & Noble, and before that, vice president of engineering for the direct-to-consumer services group at Sony Music Entertainment.
Mariah Chase, Eloquii’s chief executive officer, said the appointments reflect the company’s rapid rate of growth and are critical to developing new initiatives. “We are a fashion-first business that takes a pretty scientific approach to the fashion,” Chase said in an interview.
Eloquii specializes in contemporary, fast fashion for women in sizes 14 to 28 and is based in Long Island City, N.Y., and Columbus, Ohio. New collections are shown monthly. Eloquii’s plus-size apparel, wide-width footwear and accessories target 20- to 40-year-olds. The company collaborates with Stone Fox Bride on capsule co-branded plus-size bridal collections. Content on the “Style & Substance” blog on Eloquii.com and in the catalogues is offered and Eloquii has an online community with its #XOQ hashtag.
“Mike’s focus will be leading technology for the organization,” Chase said. “He has a real predisposition for data. He will enable us to further build on our strong digital platform to provide even better service and more targeted outreach while also streamlining our operations.
“Melissa brings incredible brand-building skills,” Chase added. “To date, we have not had someone in the business who comes from a tremendous brand-building background. She’s a skilled, forward-thinking fashion retail and digital marketing executive who brings a clear vision of how Eloquii can more deeply engage with our current customers and attract new ones.”
Chase said both are new positions in the company providing a different way to think about “marrying the art and science of the business” and achieve the next level of growth. Renovata Partners was used for chief marketing officer search, and Strive was used for the chief technology officer search.
“There are a couple of things that will happen in 2017 that have already been in the works for a while. They’re still in stealth mode. We will make announcements in 2017.”
Among the growth manuevers, Eloquii will be launching in September fits for plus-size women who are 5 feet, 4 inches and under, and in October, “Viola” fits for women who require tops proportioned differently from bottoms. Brick-and-mortar as well as showrooming are being contemplated.
As reported last spring, Eloquii obtained a $15 million Series B round of financing to fuel growth. Acton Capital Partners led the funding, with participation from new investors including Wildcat Capital Management and Blue Sky Venture Capital, as well as existing investors Greycroft Partners, Daher Capital and Female Founders Fund. The funding came on top of the $6 million in Series A financing raised in November 2014. Eloquii was launched in 2011 by The Limited, which shut it down shortly after. It was later relaunched by the investors.
Market sources have indicated that last year Eloquii generated about $20 million in sales. There’s momentum in the plus-size sector, fueled by a surge in media coverage and industry innovations as well as changing attitudes about bodies and what’s beautiful. NPD statistics indicate that plus-size women represent the majority of women in America, about 65 percent. Women’s plus sizes is about a $17.5 billion market in the U.S.