Charlotte Kellogg as we know it has been keeping Palm Beach up to date with the latest colorful and elegant yet comfortable wardrobe staples since 1998, but, really, this brand was born long beforehand. A mark of good business is the ability to evolve, and Charlotte Kellogg has done just that.
What started in 1987 as a single private-label order of madras shorts and pants for a catalog grew into a full line by 1991. Charlotte and her business partner produced their first collections solely in New York City’s Garment District. “Working with factories is like speaking a different language, but the challenge and the success inspired me,” Charlotte says. “I hit the streets of Garment Center and learned production in factories. My first order was for $13,000 for madras shorts and pants—a big order at that time. I continued to make orders and it was on this basis that this business was founded.”
Seeing the demand for classic, colorful wardrobe staples, the business expanded from private-label orders for department stores and catalogs to designing three lines a year: Spring, Fall, and Holiday. Charlotte’s design process always starts with color, and is highly influenced by her travels around Europe. She has always been—and still is—an avid traveler who enjoys finding local specialties and resources and bringing them back to Palm Beach. For example, she uses a small, local tailoring shop in India to make cocktail jackets out of vintage wedding saris, which, besides being exquisite textiles, are the sort of fabric that most people here would not come across otherwise. When asked how she found this resource, she explains, “My son heard about them from the doorman at the hotel where he was staying on vacation, so I jumped on a plane and stopped by. This was 10 years ago and I still visit them every year.”
The production part of the design process has been key to the end product; while the first seasons were always produced in New York, Charlotte has since moved the bulk of her production to Palm Beach County. This allows for a high level of quality control and very quick turnaround time, as well as supporting the local economy.
Her first retailer on Worth Avenue was Donald Bruce, and, in 1991 she opened her first boutique in the Gucci Courtyard on Worth Avenue. This store is still the hidden gem—the flagship Charlotte Kellogg store. In 1998, Charlotte gained full control of the company and decided to expand: in 2010, she opened her second store on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island, where she summers, and in 2011 she opened a third boutique on South County Road in Palm Beach, which carries a larger amount of inventory and is a bigger space than the Worth Avenue location. She also participates in numerous trunk shows across the country, and continues to expand her reach. Additionally, with the advent of online shopping, Charlotte created charlottekellogg.com, which features new arrivals and online-only sales.
The founding concept, which still rings true for today’s line, is to make related separates where each piece stands on its own. Simplicity, color, classic lines with a European elegance mixed with treasures from around the globe fill the racks at all three locations, and Charlotte continues to design for the lifestyle that she is so familiar with.
For more information and to shop the latest collection, visit charlottekellogg.com.