Lately, one fitness brand has been making quite the splash via social media among ladies looking for a good deal on cute workout clothing. You know who I’m talking about…Ellie! Originally launched as PVBody, Ellie follows the model of beauty subscription boxes. For $50 per month, you are able to choose two pieces from a monthly collection to be sent your way.
I signed up for PVBody late in 2012. I was getting into a fitness groove, and needed to stock up on a few gym essentials. When I signed up, you filled out a ‘Style Profile’ and based on your answers, PVBody selected an outfit (top & bottom) for you. Receiving my package was a pleasant surprise. Though it took almost two weeks to arrive, I was happy with the pieces selected for me: a tank top (that has been spotted on Alessandra Ambrosio!) & pair of cropped compression leggings from Electric Yoga.
Receiving high-quality, well-fitting pieces made the fact that I had to wait so long for my order and place a subsequent call to customer service to request a missing free tank top easy to brush over. Still, I was a bit wary of PVBody at this point. Their facebook page was beginning to fill up with comments from other customers who had been repeatedly charged for orders that were never filled. I’m on a pretty tight college budget, so as a precaution, I cancelled my account. I didn’t want to experience multiple charges that would take time to dispute.
When 2013 arrived, PVBody again made waves by announcing that they were launching their own fitness brand: Ellie. Instead of receiving pieces from established fitness brands each month, customers would receive new Ellie pieces instead. Ellie claimed that due to such high demand for PVBody membership, it was impossible to gather enough clothing from the brands they were working with. To keep up with customer need, they said they had made the decision to launch their own brand in a matter of weeks. Sounds fine, right? Well…from articles I’ve read, this isn’t the truth. According to pandodaily, launching Ellie was always part of PVBody’s plan. To start Ellie, PVBody did “everything from testing the cost of acquiring customers, to actually launching a disposable, experimental brand called PVBody to gather real world feedback on the product and business model, while ironing out its operating processes.” You can read the rest of the article HERE.
Despite all of this information, when Ellie officially launched in February, I decided to take a chance and place an order. It took a few days to do, as Ellie’s servers crashed upon their launch and no one was able to access the site. When my finally got my order placed, I sat back and waited for my new work out clothing to arrive.
And waited. And waited. Because even though a FedEx tracking number was created for my order a day after my order was placed, it took Ellie over a week to actually SHIP my package. As they use FedEx Smartpost, it took even longer for my order to arrive. In the end, it took OVER two weeks for my purchase to arrive. I was not happy about this at all. However, it would have been at least a little easier to deal with if I had loved the items I received. Sadly, it was a bit hit and miss for me.
The first item I ordered was the Vixen tank:
The material on this shirt is really nice. It is a light, mesh-type fabric, perfect for keeping you cool during an intense workout. My tank appears to be well made, and an XS fit well (I am typically an XS top in brands such as Nike and Under Armour, size 2 or 4 at lululemon) My only complaint about this tank is that the built-in bra does not feature padding or lining of any kind (or a place to insert padding). Basically, if it’s a cold gym…you’re in trouble. I ended up removing some lining from a swimsuit, popped them into the bra, and prayed that they wouldn’t fall out during Zumba class. It worked! I did keep this top, because I like the style and since I have a smaller chest, the lack of support wasn’t a total deal breaker for me.
My second piece from the collection was the My New Obsession Leggings:
I really wanted to love these. The pattern on them is so original! I love being able to wear fun pieces the gym that are still functional, and these seemed to fit the bill. Sadly, they were not usable for me at all. The material was a fabric that I’ve only really seen used in yoga tank tops in the past…that fabric that shows EVERYTHING. Simply put,they gave me the most obvious camel toe that I have ever seen in workout pants. Generally, that only happens to me when I buy pants that are too small. However, Ellie marketed these as an XS/S combination size. I generally am a size XS, so they should have worked for me.
I decided to return the leggings, and am currently in the return process with Ellie. By the time I receive my replacement item, it will most likely be April. My leggings took about a week to ship back to California, and though Ellie has had them for a few days already,I haven’t received a status update. I also learned via facebook that Ellie’s March collection shipments are delayed because they don’t actually have their stock yet.
Based on my experiences, I will not be purchasing from Ellie until I see more efficient shipping and return practices put into place. I am sorry that I can’t recommend Ellie, because I think that their concept is excellent and when I have spoken to customer service representatives, they have been friendly. Sadly, friendliness and a good idea don’t add up to a well-run business. I personally don’t think that Ellie should have items for sale on March 1 that won’t be arriving to their warehouse until March 21 without at least letting customers know at time of purchase that there will be a delay. They also need to work on follow-through. I know that it is tough to keep up with customer inquiries, but if you promise a phone call, you need to call back to maintain your credibility.
I really do hope that Ellie is able to eventually work out all of the issues they have been facing! If they are able to be more transparent with their customers, provide their product in a timely manner, and keep up with their launches of innovative new fitness wear designs, I know they have the potential to be a game changer in the world of fitness fashion.