Just as sparkling and bright as her jewelry creations, Miss Ellie herself is also a star. A tall brunette (OK, maybe it’s her stillettos), Miss Ellie is a southern belle chock full of ambition, talent and charm, without an ounce of shyness or shame — even if her birthplace is the heart of the Bible Belt. She's married now, and technically she should be "Mrs. Ellie" by southern standards, but she's sticking with Miss Ellie and her winner-take-all attitude.
The Tennessee-born designer began honing her craft at the age of 16, learning to solder and cast. She is formally trained, earning a BFA from Washington University in St. Louis, where she met her husband, John Mathias, a musician, painter and illustrator. After college the 22-year-olds moved to the Big Apple to "Make it Big."
Ellie's fist job was at Green Design Group in Chatham NJ — a licensing company for active sportswear giants: Adidas, Reebok, and Ellesse. Her duties were less impressive, though, spending the day measuring soccer shorts, getting coffee, and faxing orders to China. But it was a "start" and she learned the trade and then secured a second job as a design assistant at Scott Adams Designs on 25th Street doing product development for hats, scarves, handbags, and promotional items for Lancome, Clinique, The Gap, Victoria's Secret, and The Limited.
Then, in 1997, Ellie got her first business partner and started her first company, Tiara Misu, making trendy hair ornaments, prom and special occasion accessories. Clients grew to include David's Bridal, Guess and Cache. Healthy orders continued and attracted more partners for expansion, and in 2001 they moved from their office in the garment district to a larger distribution warehouse in Hoboken. This new partnership lasted another five years until 2006 when the partners dissolved the company. "Things changed and we had different visions," shares Ellie.
The end was a delightful new beginning for Ellie. Now, she could get back to the grass roots of making her products in the USA, and have greater creative freedom with her own independent label. "It's a really great time to support local industry and American workers," she says. A better product and a greater audience were just a step away.
In New York, she and John lived in posh Park Slope, Brooklyn for 13 years in a two-bedroom rent-controlled apartment with a balcony for just $1475 a month. But big changes were happening, and in 2007 this Brooklyn babe was ready to leave the NY party scene to become a Jersey Mamma. When John and Ellie first visited Asbury Park, they fell in love with the area, the seaside towns and the boardwalk. "We always dreamed about living near the beach. And, Why wait? After all, I still look good in a bathing suit now!"
She continues, "I'm a southern girl, and I like to parade around in big hats, short shorts, red lipstick and high, high heels. Industry women make the streets of New York a spontaneous runway for their street style. And, I see a lot of that here on the coast. But there's more leopard, more lace, and more frosted nail polish... I love the glitter and glamour of the shore! Lets face it, it's hard to walk around NY all day in stillettos. Here it's a lot easier because you can find a parking space!"
They settled on Long Branch when they found a romantic old Victorian cottage, complete with Gingerbread trellises and a white picket fence. About 15 seconds after we opened the front door, I knew that this was it. My husband decided he wanted to buy it before we even walked in the door! Yes, this was "The One," the only one. John and I are both art collectors and makers. We hate moving, and we see ourselves here til we die, literally. We love it here!
Miss Ellie LLC is a boutique business. "Locally we are carried at Depascal Altier in Spring Lake, the Koi boutique in Pier Village, and Chelsea's at The Grove in Shrewsbury. And The Victorian Trading mail order catalog company (based in St. Louis, MO) is a great source of income and inspiration for me, too," Ellie proudly shares.
"The bird on the cover is from one of our most successful collections. I made it when I was pregnant with my daughter, Charlotte. During that time I had a creative estrogen surge and I thought I could conquer the world. I knew it was time to start a family and so this bird collection was born and so was my child." And what a
better showcase for Spring than a bird in flight? "It symbolizes freedom, liberty, getting out from the grey of winter and spreading your wings."
Miss Ellie is having a Big, Amazing, Sample Sale going on right now at: http://missellienyc.com/samplesale/
Order anything from the sale page and get it shipped for free right away! Mother's day is coming up!
Miss Ellie will be having a trunk show during our upcoming green LIFE NJ Inaugural Launch Party this Thursday April 23, 7pm at the Watermark in Asbury Park, don't miss it!