Gail sits down with fashion writer, stylist, and jewellery designer Charms Baltis to talk all things Little Joe Woman. See full interview at The Classic Files.
Gail Elliott has been in the front line of the fashion industry for almost 20 years and has worked with some of the greatest names in the business including Cindy Crawford, Yasmin Le Bon, Marc Jacobs, Versace, Donna Karan and Karl Lagerfeld. As a super model Gail is reported to have worked 4 cities in one day, and that’s no small feat, even for a seasoned model!
In 2002 she founded the clothing label Little Joe. Creating a range to fill a personal need for feminine clothes that suited her jet-setting lifestyle, it quickly morphed into an international phenomenon with over 34 independent stockist’s in Australia including David Jones.
I recently met Gail at Little Joe HQ as she was generously donating to a children’s medical fundraiser I was working on with international stylist Brana Wolf. Gail is a tremendously warm and down to earth person and has taken time out of her busy schedule to chat to The Classic Files about her career and life of style.
Hi Gail, Lets start early in the piece…
1. What was your dream job when you were a child?
My dream job as a child varied, one week it was to be a ballerina, the next it was a nurse or an air-hostess. My dance instructor suggested I think about modeling which led me to become a very well established model in the late 80s and 90′s and based in New York for twenty-four years. A natural extension from working as a model with the most talented designers, photographers, magazines and stylists in the world was to create a fashion brand, which is how Little Joe Woman was born.
2. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
In 10 years time I see myself sailing around the Caribbean on a Catamaran with my husband Joe Coffey who is also my business partner and the CEO of Little Joe Woman.
3. When buying clothes for the upcoming season do you plan ahead or are you a spontaneous shopper?
I don’t really shop much for other designer clothing as I wear mainly my own Little Joe Woman brand mixed with my vintage Chanel, Azzedine Alaia, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Prada etc but I do buy accessories – shoes, bags, hats and jewellery and also basics like tees and jeans and usually purchase these for myself when ordering for our stores, as we carry non Little Joe Woman items that compliment our brand.
4. What do you consider your 3 ‘must have’ wardrobe staples?
My ‘must have’ wardrobe staples in summer are a leopard print silk slip dress and a designer handbag & flat sandals and in winter leather pants, silk blazer, a good quality cotton tank or tee.
5. Online shopping is huge and here to stay, what do you feel makes a successful online store?
I feel the key to a successful online store is well-photographed product on the site along with detailed descriptions, speedy delivery and excellent customer service.
6. Has online shopping affected the way you manage your business as a whole, including your bricks and mortar stores?
We are looking into expanding our online store into the international market to capture more business both from Australia and internationally but maintaining our bricks and mortar stores is very important to us as many people enjoy the experience of coming into a store and seeing, feeling and trying on clothing.
7. How has the inspiration for Little Joe developed/changed from its inception?
When Little Joe Woman started with its first collection nine years ago it consisted of six silk slip dresses and six silk camisoles in six colours. The inspiration has changed because we have developed into a brand carrying a full wardrobe consisting of blazers, pants, leather, cashmere and accessories.
8. How do you mentally and physically deal with the competition in the fashion industry?
I mentally and physically deal with the competition of the fashion business by mentally, coming up with fresh ideas for the collections and reminding myself we can’t be everything to everyone – we have a large following of customers and celebrities who love what we do and shop with us often and are supporters of the brand. It’s a very stressful business to be in so physically I try to get exercise walking from Bondi to Bronte a few times a week and doing Pilates when I have time.
9. What does ‘down time’ mean in your home?
Down time for me is cooking dinner for my husband every evening over a glass of good wine, taking long walks together with our dogs, sailing around the Whitsundays, lying around on the deck in the sun reading a book and travelling.
10. And last but not least can you list your top 5 pieces from Little Joe’s current season?
My top pieces from the SS13 Little Joe Woman collection which are perfect for the Holiday Season are: