ONE PLUM ASSIGNMENT: The inauguration has come and gone, but New York-based children’s wear brand Iloveplum is still basking in the media coverage.
The direct-to-consumer label outfitted Meena Harris’ two young daughters for the swearing-in ceremony. Founder Alexia Panza first reached out to Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece after she appeared on stage with her two daughters, Amara and Lela at the at the Democratic National Convention. Panza DM’ed her offering to send tutus or other items, with Harris responding affirmatively the next day.
Two weeks before the inauguration, Panza reached out again offering to send sketches for the girls’ Inauguration Day outfits. On Jan. 14, the custom faux fur leopard-printed coats were approved by Harris, and Panza’s designer in Oakland, Calif., worked for three days straight to finish and ship the coats by Jan. 20.
When Harris asked for help finding black turtlenecks, Panza said she and her team sent Harris all sorts of turtlenecks from H&M, Capezio and other brands. Even on Inauguration Day, Harris DM’ed to explain why she couldn’t tag Iloveplum in the photo “because of Facebook with ethics things. But the girls are obsessed. She was just super nice, young and so good to us. She made it happen,” Panza said.
The inaugural coverage has spiked Iloveplum’s sales by “1,000 percent” and 100 units of the $200 coats were pre-ordered and sold within 24 hours, Panza said. Domestically made, the style could not be mass produced. Last year in January the company had 35,000 sessions versus 65,000 sessions this year — most of which were after the inauguration.
Panza started her company in 2019 and now has seven people on the team. Prior to that, she spent 10 years running her own brand agency that imported high-end Australian and European children’s wear brands. Acknowledging how sometimes the company is mistakenly “put into a bucket for not being diverse,” Panza said, “We really are a diverse company. We do tutus for everyone,” adding that dressing Harris’ daughters helped to show that.
She continued, “We obviously had horrible trolls on Instagram because some people will never be happy. But it was a moment in history that people are going to remember. It was such a big deal. No matter what side you were on, people were so excited about a fresh start to a new decade.”
Before teaming up with Harris, Iloveplum had expanded into new categories like jackets and the company is wrapping up a private label program with a major retailer and is closing in on a licensing deal. Working with the Los Angeles-based digital marketing firm MuteSix has been helpful, Panza said. “We’re really hoping to stick with what we’re good at and continue to increase our customer base and how much money we make,” Panza said.