The Ana Legging – and a Look Inside Ellie’s Headquarters

One of my January picks from Ellie was the Ana legging, which is designed to keep legs warm on cold running days. Out of the sparkly pink envelope it came, and I wore it on my long run (7 miles) in 20-something degree weather on Saturday (as it started to snow, too).

Fit: Once again, I’m pleased with the way Ellie gear fits. There was no bunching or riding up; the leggings stayed in place as I ran. Per usual, they’re a tad long on my 5’1″ self, but that in itself is never a problem.
Feel: Comfortable. They were very comfortable – not soft, but not scratchy at all. It’s hard to describe – they seemed like they would be rough inside, but they weren’t at all. And they definitely kept me warm, comparable to the Under Armour ColdGear leggings I snagged at TJ Maxx for $25.
The Detail: It’s the detail that gets me every single time with Ellie. From afar, the Ana leggings look like plain black leggings. But up close, you realize that there’s careful seaming that makes your legs look stronger and sleeker. There’s a hidden pocket on the inside of the waistband as well.
And last week, I was actually at the Ellie headquarters, where it all happens, and got to meet Mari Tibbetts, the lead designer, and the rest of the crew. She’s so nice and a really wonderful person to meet. The headquarters is really cool, with a lot of exposed concrete brick walls and designs for the next eight months posted on the wall. (There are some very cool things going on, and I’d love to be able to name the collections and write the descriptions!) And everyone was really nice. I got to see where the designers (Mari and assistant designer Brittni) and patternmaker (Yelena) work their magic and drink tea with Mari, despite a lingering case of food poisoning (it is much less fun to travel when ill – I didn’t get to see nearly as much of Santa Monica as I wanted, but the next day, after some solid food at dinner with my parents and a good night’s sleep, I got to run on the bike path on the beach.)
I also got to meet the customer service ladies, who were diligently answering a flood of queries, and the order fulfillment guys, who were busy packaging orders. It’s a tiny operation, really, but they’re all very enthusiastic about what they’re doing and working hard to create an awesome company. It’s why I keep buying from them: the clothes always look good and are high-quality, and customer service does do their best even when flooded. They’re always nice, even when I’m sure they’re frustrated.
Ellie is working toward fulfilling orders faster; they’ve grown more than they anticipated, I think, and are now competing against some serious muscle, including Kimora Lee Simmons’s empire. But again, the detail is what gets me, and it doesn’t bother me to pay a few dollars more. I think of it this way: I’m getting an amazing product from the company. If they don’t raise prices, they can’t produce it anymore, and I won’t get that product. I’m still paying less than I would if I were to buy retail, and let’s face it, most of the retail options aren’t nearly as well-designed.
So there you have it: the Ana legging is awesome, and the company is also awesome. They’re located on 2nd Street in Santa Monica, just one block over from the Third Street Promenade and upstairs from a really cool breakfast place that I went to the next day with my brother.