When the covid19 pandemic reached Trinidad and Tobago in the aftermath of Carnival in March, Caribbean menswear designer Ecliff Elie had only five months earlier opened his new design house at C3 Centre in San Fernando, south Trinidad.
His atelier in Woodbrook, Port of Spain maintained its market position. He never expected the pandemic, which brought great uncertainty and many lessons, and Elie has had unwavering hope for the industry.
“There have been wonderful lessons learnt by the Ecliff Elie team in the past nine months,” he said, explaining that business equates to risk and one must be strong, enduring and fearless to combat the effects of such risk.
“This period, while extremely daunting for many, opened my eyes as a business owner to many things, and I’ve weathered the storm very well. I have been able to keep all of my employees over the past nine months and that came with the implementation of more effective business strategies.”
Restrictions imposed as a direct result of covid19 in TT and across the Caribbean have certainly affected sales to some degree. However, Elie says he remains steadfast and resolute in his belief that this storm of sorts will soon pass.
“Weathering the storm requires a lot of patience but it also demands resilience. What we’ve done during this period proved effective for the long-term business strategy. Virtual consultations, available at www.ecliffelie.co may have been overlooked prior to the pandemic, and it’s actually an effective method of reaching clients around the world.”
In fact, he’s seen increased regional sales during over the past months.
Elie said the male client, his target demographic, continues to be the focus of marketing, particularly during the Christmas season.
“While we understand that for many, these are some tough financial times, we also feel that men require emotional support during this time.
“Because men are often required to be strong in the face of hardship, the man’s emotional pain can be overlooked. In the same way a woman feels good when she purchases a new pair of shoes or a new dress, we believe men should feel comfortable releasing their stress with a little shopping from time to time.”
Ecliff Elie’s southern branch offers off-the-rack suits that can be altered for fit on the spot.
“While dinner parties and New Year’s Eve events may be very limited this year, we’d like to encourage our Caribbean men to boost their spirit and feel good despite the effects of this pandemic. It’s been a tough year, but we must have the right attitude heading into 2021, which will ultimately determine our altitude. For some reason, stepping into Ecliff Elie has a way of changing attitudes,” he said.