Plus-fashion brand Eloquii announced today that it's been purchased by Walmart E-Commerce for an "undisclosed amount." Online-only to Canadians (and shipped from the US), Eloquii was first launched in 2011 by the Limited, which at one point owned Victoria's Secret, Henri Bendel, Abercrombie & Fitch and plus-size line Lane Bryant. In 2014, Eloquii became an independent exclusively e-commerce brand, and just recently began opening storefronts in the USA.
According to an announcement on the blog component of its website, Eloquii has no immediate plans to enter physical Walmart locations, or do anything beyond maximizing their relationship with the retailer to enhance distribution.
"We are the same ELOQUII as always with a commitment to quality. We hope this move allows us, in time, to actually improve our quality and elevate our customer experience even more," says the company via Instagram in response to follower queries.
Reaction to the news is most definitely mixed. Some devotées are excited at the prospect of improved accessibility and perhaps even some lower-priced offerings, and some are curious, willing to see what happens next. But it seems most are worried about a possible decline in quality, or, citing contentious business practices, are outraged that Eloquii has struck a deal with Walmart. Here's a sampling of what's on the Eloquii Instagram page:
From follower @molassesandbread: Hopefully this means less expensive distribution to Canada and easier returns!! I know I would be buying waaaay more if I [weren’t] losing significant $ on returns and customs.
@theamberrachelle: Is this like when Estée Lauder acquired MAC? Walmart will manage the business part, y’all will control the creative part?
@somethingsabouther: Nope. This sucks. I stopped buying from ModCloth when Walmart acquired them. Ugh, I guess. Walmart is not a good company even though they're trying to change the image of the company externally. They still treat their people poorly.
@heatherlynn87: This is beyond disappointing. How can you remain committed to quality and customer service when owned by a company only concerned with the bottom line and willing to treat their employees like garbage? I mean make your coins however you can but don’t expect us to be excited for you. This is bullshit.
@greyroseavl: I’m not going to lie: I’m furious. There are so few plus size stores that I can shop at to begin with, and now my staple for higher end pieces is off the table. I stopped shopping at ModCloth when Wal-Mart acquired them, and now I will very sadly do the same with Eloquii. Wal-Mart has been at the forefront of bad business practices including, but not limited to, keeping their employees in poverty, keeping them part-time so as not to have benefits, etc. It seemed to me that Eloquii was growing at a robust pace; why is this necessary? Why can’t brands stay independent? Why are we ok with barreling to the day when there are only 3 giant corporations left that own everything? What is this urge to always be bigger, bigger, bigger? I’m so disappointed, but I will not compromise my values as a consumer to continue shopping with Eloquii. I’m beyond heartbroken.
@jenniec917: I must say that I am a little concerned with this, but this appears to be a certain side of Walmart. Walmart has excellent supply chains, negotiating power and Just In Time inventory management. If the quality and design remains constant, then I could see this be a positive development for Eloquii. They are still a start-up and don't have the same access to these critical elements like Walmart would.
@shantidjenne: I feel like this is a great opportunity to change how people view shopping in Walmart. Giving the store brands, like Eloquii, that people love and aspire to buy will be great for the brand because of the mass amount of ppl who shop at Wal Mart. Since it’s the Ecommerce side of Walmart I don’t believe their products will be in store just yet. I think this is a great strategy for more exposure to potential consumers for Eloquii, and a great comp position for Walmart, especially with Target.
I know fashion posts on Beautygeeks are rare, but this is big news for women who wear plus sizes and want stylish clothing that makes them feel and look beautiful.
I've bought a couple of things from Eloquii in the last year or so, and while the fit's not always great (I'm an apple shape; most plus clothing is cut for hourglass or pear-shaped physiques), and the returns are painful (shipping + re-stocking fee, all in US funds), I'm satisfied with the items I've kept. I'm keen to see the Jason Wu + Eloquii collaboration that hits on November 1st, but have no hope that any of those limited-edition items will fit me either; Wu, who grew up in Vancouver, Canada, is a wonderful designer, but his clothes aren't designed for apple shapes. 🤷🏻♀️ Still, I'm thrilled that a designer of Wu's calibre – Michelle Obama has worn his creations – is making beautiful things for women who are so often forgotten or dismissed in the fashion world.
Are you familiar with Eloquii? Or Modcloth? (Folks say that brand went downhill after Walmart bought it.) Do you have thoughts about this?