They've reinvented seersucker. They've designed the go-to piece for the New Orleans girl (and nationwide customers who wish they were one). Their dresses have been worn by Zooey Deschanel and featured in Forbes, Southern Living and Daily Candy.
And now, Jolie & Elizabeth founders Jolie Bensen Hamilton and Sarah Elizabeth Dewey have sold their 10,000th dress.
"When we started Jolie & Elizabeth, our main vision was to make timeless, well-made, American-made dresses for women of all ages," Dewey says. "We wanted to make dresses that women would have in their closets forever."
The duo met in New York's fashion industry. Dewey interned for Hamilton, who was a merchandiser and designer for BCBG Corporate. Both alums of LSU's textile design program, the duo had a shared passion for dresses.
"From the start we had a great business relationship and a great friendship," Dewey says. In 2010, they teamed up to launch Jolie & Elizabeth, designing classic, ladylike garments and manufacturing them in a New Orleans East factory.
"We were one of the first individuals to venture into the world of wholesale apparel, based in New Orleans," Hamilton says. "There are very few individuals — especially women — who have started businesses in the apparel design industry in the South, particularly in the avenue of wholesale. Being a pioneer in any industry is always a challenge."
Four years later, the partners have been named among the top U.S. entrepreneurs on the White House's Empact 100 List and infused more than $500,000 into the local economy. This fall, JE will collaborate with jewelry designer Mignon Faget for what Dewey calls "a little Christmas special."
However, Hamilton and Dewey say they are most proud when their dresses make customers feel beautiful.
"The biggest accomplishment we feel is when we see customers in our dresses from day to day," Dewey says. "A beautiful dress makes a woman feel and look beautiful — that is what is most important to us and our company."
Dewey and Hamilton host the 10,000th Dress Celebration party from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 at 523 Gravier St. There will be dress giveaways, specialty cocktails, a photo booth and more.