Handmade Classics at the Heart of Coeur Cofounder Lisa Elliot-Rosas’ New Line
Even though she is the owner of the eM Productions showroom and cofounder of the Coeur trade show, Lisa Elliot-Rosas has one more talent.
For Spring 2018, she launched her debut clothing line, called Furo, which means flow in Japanese. Now, the showroom owner is ramping up for the Fall season with a full-time team of nine people split between Los Angeles and New York.
With a background in event planning and her e:oh handbag line, launched in 2000, Elliot-Rosas explained that the progression toward designing a clothing line was natural.
The brand’s demographic is women aged 28 to 45 and includes classic wardrobe staples appropriate for work, dinner and downtime. Tops wholesale for $75 to $90, dresses go for $100 to $120, and lifestyle pieces such as blankets and scarves wholesale for $75 to $120.
“For Fall, we are keeping most of these pieces in the line as they are core staples; plus, we added more in tops and dresses,” explained Elliot-Rosas. “We added two jackets and one scarf. We now have a total of 18 refined classics.”
Production for each piece within the Furo line takes three months, as hand-loomed goods cater to a clientele that values classic styles that transition easily through each season. The brand includes partnerships with Kirk Nozaki of Cattywampus Crafts in Ojai, Calif., who designs pieces in collaboration with Furo and sells the line at his store, and manufacturing with Ddev Sedani, whose handloom services in India provide ethical production for the line’s designs.
“Handloomed fabrics and textures are pieces of art to me; they remind me of different cultures [and] traveling. I also loved the styles, easy to wear, unique and pieces that would work well with our collections and could easily be a favorite, treasured piece,” said Becky Buford, owner of Les Amis boutique in Seattle.
This approach to classic styles that are handwoven is resonating with retailers as others are approaching Elliot-Rosas to create Furo pieces that are exclusive to their brands.
“We have certain stores we are proactively working to get into,” Elliot-Rosas said. “There was a creative callout for Lane Crawford. They picked four out of the eight brands from eM Productions and they picked Furo. They are interested in the line and asked if we could do something exclusively for them with special fabrics.”
While retailers might be approaching Furo for exclusive designs, Elliot-Rosas emphasizes the inclusivity of the brand when designing for her target audience. For Nozaki, who has known Elliot-Rosas for approximately 20 years, this line is reflective of who they have become and the easy, down-to-earth lifestyle of living with their respective families in Ojai.
“What has been refreshing for me has been doing simple, clean pieces that are easy to wear,” revealed Nozaki. “It’s a small collection, and we aren’t trying to be everything to everyone. In the past, I worked for some companies that were always chasing what was hot or would sell the most. I’ve always been my most creative when the point was to design something fresh and new with no consideration given to the current trends.”
The ease and simplicity of the brand are features that attracted Laura O’Dell to buy the line for her Los Angeles–based The Odells Shop. “It’s easy and comfortable. I like that you can wear a lot of the pieces with sneakers and slides,” she said.
Marketing for the line began in August 2017. The growth the brand is experiencing seems to have spelled success for Elliot-Rosas. Though this is a promising start for the brand, she is aware that Furo faces challenges that must be addressed properly to maintain this momentum.
“In 2018 there is room for new lines, but it is very competitive. There are several brands that have strong e-com, strategies and social,” she said. “Furo recently launched and buyers said there was an actual need for this product category, so this is a good sign. We plan to do more in collaborations with the women we name items after and more social around this. We plan to launch our own e-com and do more events to build the end consumer.”