For the love of Cashmere
In 2016, mother-daughter duo Elle Pugh and Yolande Ellis took on the world of luxury knitwear. As longtime lovers of cashmere, the pair recognised that there was nowhere to purchase it year-round. They subsequently launched Elle + Riley, a brand that purveys pieces of the coveted knitwear in styles that are suitable for every season.
The Auckland-based duo has a collective background in fashion and retail with Elle having worked in stores locally and in New York — she also completed a stint in PR in London — and Yolande’s former career anchored in styling for editorial and TV. Following the success of their online platform, the next natural step was to open a bricks and mortar store.
Their first was on Auckland’s Ponsonby Road in 2017, followed by a Christchurch boutique in 2018 and a Queenstown outpost earlier this year. While each space offers something slightly different, there is a common theme threaded throughout them all; that of a calm, light-filled space akin to being in someone’s home.
The retail experience for Elle + Riley is tantamount to the product itself with each serene interior creating a warm and relaxed atmosphere in which to browse the catalogue of sumptuous cashmere styles. Catering to both men and women, theirs is a customer who embraces elegance, modernity and timelessness and this is successfully reflected in the brand’s overarching ethos, particularly in their detailed approach to customer service.
Having recognised a bona fide appetite for cashmere in New Zealand, the duo has embarked on a journey to educate consumers of its many virtues. With an end goal to see people to wear cashmere every day of the year, Elle + Riley has established itself as a brand to watch.