Elaine Turner

Designer

Houston

She may be a Texas woman at heart, but Elaine Turner’s classically cosmopolitan style is quickly spreading beyond her home state. Turner got her start in the fashion industry designing for an apparel brand in New York. After gathering some experience, she and her husband launched her eponymous lifestyle brand in April 2000. Beginning with eye-catching handbags that epitomize the classic woman, Turner then introduced shoes — both have been extremely popular. As her accessories business booms, Turner looks to dig deeper in the design world with jewelry, sunglasses, swimwear and even tabletop items. Opening new boutiques is next on the horizon for this Houston designer — New York opened in 2013 with Atlanta and Dallas soon to follow.

  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    What is Elaine Turner’s favorite airline?

    I was a Continental fan, and now I can’t even handle the company. That’s so depressing. I don’t like any of the airlines. I think traveling has become so much that you kind of hold your breath and hope for the best.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    What’s the best trip Elaine Turner has ever taken?

    For a multitude of reasons, probably my 40th birthday trip to The St. Regis, Punta Mita, where we rented a private villa and had my whole family and friends there. I think that was probably my very favorite trip because it was pure luxury.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    What does Elaine Turner bring home from her travels?

    When I travel, sometimes I will end up doing personal shopping if I have the time. Usually if I’m traveling, something that I think is sort of more personal and will bring back the memories is buying a piece of art. That seems to be something that I look for if I’m in a certain place and I see a gallery or something — investing in a piece of art. Then every time you see it in your home, you think of that trip. I think art is a really cool thing to bring back from trips.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    What shops does Elaine Turner visit when she travels?

    It depends on the city. When I’m in New York, I love to go to ABC Carpet Home just to get textiles and color, and all the different floors are very inspiring for what I do and what I design. I always to go to Bergdorf’s when I’m in New York and just kind of go from floor to floor; I love that experience. I love Colette in Paris. I always go there when I’m lucky enough to be in that city. I think those are probably the main places that I gravitate to.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    What are Elaine Turner’s favorite restaurants?

    I would say my favorite restaurants are probably doing boutique Italian in New York because I’m from Houston, so I feel like that’s something I’ve got to always search for. It brings back nostalgic memories for me and my husband when we first met. Two of my favorites in New York are Babbo and Lusardi’s, which is an Upper East Side family-owned restaurant; Babbo, obviously being the Mario Batali restaurant. Lusardi’s is a place I go to almost every time I’m in New York. It’s a neighborhood family restaurant, so again you have consistency, quality and warm environment.

    And then I love Mexican food, and I’m kind of in the bastion of Mexican food here in Texas with Tex-Mex. It’s just something that becomes a part of your DNA. Every time you go away you come back and are like, “Where are my enchiladas?” So, I have several favorites here and in Austin. I eat at a Mexican food restaurant called Manuel’s in Austin, which is downtown. Here, I eat at El Tiempo and El Meson. So those would probably be my favorites: Italian and Mexican.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    What are Elaine Turner’s favorite hotels?

    I’m a huge Four Seasons fan. I’m just a huge fan of Isadore Sharp [Four Seasons founder and chairman]. I just read his biography. He’s very entrepreneurial and inspiring. Like me, he’s an entrepreneur, and the way that they handle that understated luxury but mixed with service and family friendly is a unique combination for a hotel to capture, especially for the size of their hotels being a little larger. They give it a very attentive, boutique feel. And they are very consistent with quality. So I’m a big Four Seasons fan.

    I stay at the one in Austin all the time, and I love that hotel. It’s kind of like home-away-from-home for me. We go to Punta Mita almost every year and stay at the Four Seasons, which is a wonderful hotel. I’ve stayed at the one in Denver; I’ve stayed at the one in New York. It’s kind of the go-to for me. I just feel with the consistency and the discipline of the people and the training, you just know you’re not going to end up being in trouble. It’s like home.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    What is Elaine Turner working on in 2013?

    We are planning on opening three stores: New York [at the end of March], Atlanta and Dallas. The store in Atlanta is going to be in Phipps Plaza. We’re thinking those are kind of our key markets. New York is the one under construction and happening the fastest.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    What are Elaine Turner’s favorite cities to visit?

    I would say New York because that’s where I met my husband, and we have a showroom in New York so work brings me there a lot. Me and my husband can jump to New York and have two days away and do work. We’re getting ready to open a store in New York, so we have a deep connection to the city. For more of an escape city, I would say Paris for getting inspired, fashion, shopping for my business and looking at all the European-chic ideas on the streets there. For a laidback vibe where I just want to get away and feel low-key, it would be Austin, Texas.
  • On March 4, 2013
    Elaine Turner answered the question: Elaine Turner

    How does Elaine Turner stay ahead of her competition?

    I think what’s interesting in this market is how you differentiate yourself, and I think one that we really differentiate ourselves is the customer experience. I think we pride ourselves on not only what she experiences emotionally by being in the store, but how she is treated — service, intimate. We’re really big on an intimate environment and providing her with this experience that’s almost unforgettable from that perspective.

    I think the way we differentiate ourselves is by a really classic yet updated mix of materials and unique details, giving her a lot of value for what she’s putting down. I really pride myself on being accessible. At the same time, giving her a ton of quality where she can walk out and not feel so guilty but feel like she can wear something for two or three seasons. I think it’s a combination. I think it really comes down to people being your key differentiators, people that you hire. I really believe that. I think people respond more emotionally to how they’re treated and how they feel when they’re in a certain store. All those things — it’s product and people.