Caitlin Covington, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based lifestyle blogger known for her aspirational fashion and travel content, will launch an apparel collection today with Pink Lily, one of the fastest growing online retailers in the U.S.
The collection, which features dresses, swim, separates, scarves and belts, is designed with travel in mind. Every piece retails for less than $100 and is available at pinklily.com.
“Every year I go on at least one big trip in the spring and the reaction from my fans and followers has always been that they love my outfits, but can’t necessarily afford the price point of some of the designers that I feature on my blog,” said Covington, whose blog Southern Curls and Pearls gets 200,000 unique views a month, and 500,000 to more than one million monthly page views. She also has 1.3 million Instagram followers at @cmcoving.
“My goal with this collaboration was to create something for everyone at an affordable price point. Especially right now with so much happening in the world, it shouldn’t cost a fortune to look and to feel great about your outfit. Pink Lily has been the perfect partner for me. I love that they are female-founded, family-run and operated, and have just been amazed to watch their growth,” added Covington.
Pink Lily was founded in 2014 in Bowling Green, Ky., with the idea of community and supporting other women.
Tori Gerbig, chief executive officer and founder of Pink Lily, praised the “power of Caitlin’s influence, reach and engagement” and said she was certain “her community and the over two million women who shop Pink Lily” will be attracted to the collection.
Asked how they got together, Covington explained, “I have always dreamed of having my own collection, and I specifically wanted to do vacation wear because my travel photos always get the highest engagement, likes and comments.” She said she was introduced to Gerbig through Digital Brand Products, the product development arm of Digital Brand Architects, which suggested Pink Lily.
“I have collaborated with them several times in the past. I love their clothes and their audience is very similar to mine. She’s the average woman who loves colorful, fun clothing. They’re affordable, and it just felt like the perfect fit right from the beginning,” said Covington, who became an influencer in 2011.
The collaboration starts this spring and there will be a fall drop as well “with hopes that it will continue on,” said Covington.
Gerbig explained that the Pink Lily customer enjoys going on vacation and dressing up “but only at an affordable price.”
“Everything on our site is under $100, it’s very affordable, it does have the concept of looking high-end,” said Gerbig. “We are very heavy with Southern customers, and we have recently extended to California and also up north,” she said. The clothing is made in Los Angeles, China, Mexico and Pakistan. Sizes range from XS to XXL.
“That was really important to me as well. We wanted it to be size inclusive,” said Covington.
Gerbig said they had their share of problems in the past year due to COVID-19. “It was very challenging. It’s been very hard this last year due to manufacturing facilities shutting down. Once they reopened, we ran into issues with shipping and the ports in Los Angeles, and are still dealing with it. The Los Angeles port is crazy right now. They had 700 workers out with COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago. They had boats just sitting out in the ocean with inventory.”
What attracted Gerbig to Covington was the fact that she was very relatable.
“We have a great relationship with so many influencers. With a collection like this, we’re not going to collaborate with just anybody, it has to align with our brand. With Caitlin, especially, we felt she was a very relatable blogger and her following loves her and loves her clothing that she shares. And they take her advice very seriously on her outfits. She puts her heart and her soul into her blog and Instagram account, and we thought it would be a good reflection on us, and it would align perfectly with the followers wanting affordable prices and high-end designer looks,” said Gerbig.
Gerbig anticipates one of the key looks will be the long leopard kimono, which she styles with her swimwear. “There’s also a blue and white maxidress that is really beautiful for anybody who wants that Easter dress or for spring photos or a nice dress for vacation, I think that will do very well. It looks really expensive, but I think it’s $60.”
As for how they designed the line together during COVID-19, Gerbig said, “Because of COVID-19 and her [Covington’s] pregnancy, we weren’t able to fly her here. We set up Zoom calls with the buyers, talked through the collection and what her goals were. She put together inspiration boards…then she worked very heavily with the buying team on ideas and sampling. We were shipping her things every week, she would try them on and edit it, and it was just a lot of communication back and forth virtually.”
While Pink Lily has a lot of true casual styles on its site, Gerbig said Covington is bringing more “girly, fun and vacation styles.”
The label says Caitlin M. Covington x Pink Lily with a light pink SC&P (Southern Curls and Pearls) as the label’s background.
Covington said she has no background in fashion design, and actually majored in broadcast journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
When she was a junior in college she really wanted to get a job in the magazine industry so she created a blog thinking that would be a good addition to her résumé. She started posting about fashion, recipes and lifestyle things. “This was back in 2011, and there weren’t a lot of people blogging at the time, and Pinterest was a huge traffic driver. I was really one of the first ones on Instagram. It was luck and good timing and a ton of hard work. I never pictured that it would be my career, and I always wanted to work in the magazine industry, but now I feel like I’ve created this online magazine for myself. And the opportunities that have come with it have been incredible, including this one,” she said.
“I am a huge world traveler, and wanted the pieces to be inspired by everywhere I’ve been in the world. So I’ve named every piece after the places I’ve been,” she said. For example, there’s the Santorini striped blue and white maxi for $60, the Mykonos corset detail off the shoulder white dress for $48, the Honolulu ruffle white tube top for $46, the Waikiki Beach floral midi skirt for $40, and the Oahu tie-shoulder cropped tank for $28.
For the launch, they are offering 41 pieces.
As an influencer and blogger, Covington has collaborated with such companies as Nordstrom, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, and Lilly Pulitzer. She models their clothes on Instagram and her blog. “A huge part of my business is driving sales and I’m really into the numbers. I want my followers to trust what I’m saying and purchase the outfits I’m wearing because that’s how I make an income. That’s been a huge part of it. Not just telling stories, but driving sales as well,” she said.
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