Elle et Lui opened its doors in Claremont only 4 months ago. Focusing on Portuguese designer shoes, this stunning store will impress you, as will the two women behind it!
Welcome to the TPC Blog Ladies. You’re both from overseas, how did you end up in Perth?
We both came over to study and loved it here so much that just stayed! We were born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. Alda’s family is all originally from Portugal, whilst Sammy’s family is of Greek and English descent. We have called Australia home for 10 years but do enjoy visiting family and friends in Africa whenever we can. We’re more than just ‘besties’: Sammy married her high school sweetheart, who is also Alda’s brother! We’re family, and to say that we’ve known each other for a long time would be an understatement!
What lead you to opening Elle et Lui Designer Shoes?
Sammy and I are passionate about design and fashion. Our respective backgrounds in Interior Design, Events, and Wedding Styling have led us to greatly appreciate beautiful items that are well made and of great quality. We also both have performing arts backgrounds which allows us to appreciate the drama and decadence of fashion and design. We have always been into fashion, and being girly girls, we especially love shoes and handbags! This is why we decided to bring some of Portugal’s renowned designers to Perth.
We really wanted to create something unique that is not offered anywhere else in Australia. We also felt that it was important to carry quality pieces that are an investment in timelessness and longevity.
We opened our doors in December 2015 and are located on St. Quentin Avenue in Claremont, one of Perth’s premier shopping precincts.
Claremont is an amazing retail hub! How have you found having a store in such a high traffic, high fashion area, rather than just an online boutique?
Claremont is amazing! It is definitely the hub for Perth high end fashion with so many great boutiques around. We love the buzz that the town has- there’s always something going on, be it to do with Art, Fashion, Food or Entertainment!
We love having our store in this area simply because we’re very active with Claremont Town Centre and a lot of their initiatives. We have access to some great local labels that we are looking to collaborate with soon. We’re all about connecting and engaging with not only our clientele, but our fellow business owners in the area.
We’ve found that being personable and taking the time to serve people with care and attention is more valuable to us as a business than just having an online store, which we have also launched this year, giving the Eastern states the opportunity to shop with us as well. In store, people have that tangible experience; they can look closely, touch, feel and try on our collections and find the shoe that fits so to speak!
Where did your business name come from?
Being of European descent, we wanted a name that was European, simple, elegant and had a bit of pizazz.
We chose the name Elle et Lui (pronounced Elle eh Looie), which translates to Hers and His. The name encapsulates us perfectly, because we have something for everyone.
Another reason we chose the name was because European brands carry a certain savoir faire and being in Claremont, which is known for being high end, we wanted to create a brand that was synonymous with the flair of Europe while having the elegance to fit in with what’s already in Claremont.
What are the origins of the labels you carry?
The Portuguese have a very rich history in shoe manufacturing. One of the labels we carry has been around since 1946. Most of our designers have worked in the industry all their lives, having either created their brands from scratch or have continued and improved on their trade through watching and learning from previous generations.
Each designer has their own creative streak that runs through their collections season after season. They are all incredibly passionate about their work and some have won awards for their design techniques.
We are currently stocking the following labels:
* Egidio Alves
* Luis Onofre
* Paulo Brandao
* Carlos Santos
* Armando Silva
* Sir Wolf
How would you describe the style of Elle et Lui?
We would definitely have to say that we embrace colour, we focus on uniqueness and of course, favour high quality design and craftsmanship. We pride ourselves in the knowledge that our clients will be investing in something that is well made, one of a kind, and that will last them a lifetime.
Describe the quality of the leather and design in your collection?
Being that all our collections are designer pieces, it goes without saying that the leathers, embellishments and craftsmanship are all of the highest quality. Portugal is renowned for its meticulous hand crafted goods. Portuguese shoes in particular are the world’s best kept secret. They are number one in shoe manufacturing technology and hence some of the bigger high end fashion houses are now producing their collections in Portugal. Names like Prada, Dolce and Gabanna and Bally are now produced in Portugal just to name a few.
Do either of you have a background in Fashion?
Our backgrounds, as we’ve mentioned have design elements. We have translated our passion and understanding of design into fashion. Alda’s father has owned and operated a shoe factory that was manufacturing Portuguese handcrafted shoes. We have been surrounded by shoes for most of our lives! Alda is also currently completing a stylists course through the Australian College of Professional Styling which she hopes will expand the services at Elle et Lui in the years to come.
Do you both share the business roles?
Sammy and I share a vast amount of the responsibilities. We are both in the store every day and take turns to be out front with our clients, giving the other a chance to catch up on the many behind the scenes bits and pieces, such as the marketing, blogging, buying or financials. That said, we will often fit a client together giving our clients the opportunity to meet us both. Our boutique is our second home now, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!
What do you find is the biggest challenge in owning your own business?
We have found that bringing something new to the fashion market, and making people aware of it, has been the most challenging. Our collections speak for themselves, but it’s just getting that awareness out about who we are and what we do that we have found challenging. We also think because we are so passionate about what we do, that we just want to share this with everyone as quickly as we can!
What is your vision for your business?
We are an exclusive boutique which means that we hold exclusive rights to bring these brands to Australia. We currently only bring in a few sizes of each design so that our clients know they are getting something special and unique that not everyone will have. At the moment, we are only located in Perth, because it’s home and where our heart is. This fact delights our clients no end and they often comment that “it’s nice to have something that the Eastern states don’t yet!” We are aiming to go interstate in the future but for now our commitment is to Perth and making our store and service all it can be for our clients in WA.
What is your advice to WA Women wanting to start their own business or turning their hobby into a small business?
Don’t talk yourself out of it or put it off! So many women have so many roles and responsibilities to fulfil: wife, mother, business owner, daughter, sister. Sometimes it’s hard to put your dreams first. If it is your passion, them commit to making it as much of a priority as you would anything else. Women deserve to be fulfilled in every aspect of their lives. Go for it with all you would invest in every other aspect of your life!
What is your best moment so far in your business?
So far, we would have to say that Launching in December last year was a big highlight for us- after all the hard work of getting the space we wanted, designing and fitting out our store ourselves, down to displaying the collections. Watching it become a reality was just magical.
Another great moment was being selected and featured by Claremont Town Centre as one of the stores to shop in, in Claremont during their latest lifestyle campaign.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or admire for their Business growth?
Oprah Winfrey- what an amazing, inspiring, hardworking and humble woman!
What is your favourite quote or mantra?
“If you do work you love, and the work fulfils you, the rest will come.” Oprah Winfrey
What is your current favourite key piece from your store?
We are in love with the Navy and Yellow Sandal from designer Egidio Alves- this shoe is so versatile and makes your legs look amazing! It’s definitely a statement piece that works well with capsule wardrobes to enhance your look. They’re just a great pop of colour and are unique!
Favourite WA Coffee– The Academy and Lemon Lane Café
Favourite WA Fashion Label– Steph Audino, Natalie Rolt and Aurelio Costarella
Favourite WA Homewares– The Furniture Gallery
Favourite WA Bar– The Flour Factory and Five Bar
Favourite WA Restaurant– Kailis Bros. for seafood, Pinchos for the tapas and Asado for the perfect beef.
Favourite WA Instagram Account– @perthluxury for her versatility in fashion, lifestyle and support of the Perth business community.
@eatsttours for something fun, different and yummy to do in Perth!
@littlemissmonbon for her personal takes on fashion and style
And to save the best for last @theperthcollective for inspiring and supporting all WA based female businesses.
20% off across all our shoe and handbag collections when you use code TPC20 online
Use code TPC20 in store until May 8 for additional specials.
Tim Angell (shop front image only)
Claremont Town Centre