Your name: Michelle Elise
Business or organization: Ellipse (apparel & accessories boutique) and Michelle Elise (alterations and repairs) and Polly & Ester’s (Etsy shop)
Occupation: Fashion designer
What makes your approach to your business or occupation that makes you unique?
Everything in my store has an element of vintage or beautifully salvaged. My own designs follow this ethos, as well as the other designers and artisans I feature, and my business partner’s hand-painted furniture, Michael Francis Creations. I have hand-selected intact vintage pieces, restyled vintage, new garments and accessories from reclaimed fabrics or recycled fibers, and unique jewelry and other accessories made from such unexpected materials as guitar strings, vinyl records, brass bullet casings, and bicycle parts. However, I pride myself on the fact that everything in the store is so cleverly crafted that the design alone stands on its own merit, and the story of its origins is often indiscernible at first glance.
The services side of my business is all about great fit and extending service life, both of which I am excellent at.
My Etsy shop is for all the vintage polyester kitsch that comes my way which doesn’t make the grade for getting onto the retail floor, but there is still a market for that. I have some unique finds on there. I find a use for just about everything!
Where are you from originally?
New Hampshire. I got a full helping of Yankee ingenuity, and a side of Canadian grace from my mom.
What brought you to the Kingston area and what keeps you in this area?
I came to Kingston after a couple years in the city for my fashion degree at FIT. Prior to living in NYC, I had spent 6 years in Jackson, WY, and had experienced a few other locales as well in my time with the US Coast Guard Reserves. After a diversity of community experiences, I knew what I was looking for. Kingston is completely self-sufficient; you can live, work, be entertained, and interact with nature, without even getting into a car. My bachelors degree is in environmental science, so that’s a big part of my lifestyle choices including where to live. What KEEPS me here, however, is the people. Aside from the fact that my daughter is here and thriving at George Washington Montessori, which is amazing and completely underrated, the friends and contacts I have made here over the past eight years have been like nowhere else. I have been welcomed, supported, challenged, loved, educated, inspired, and, let’s face it: often quite amused, by my Kingston neighbors. Thank you all.
What is your favorite hangout in this area and why?
Uptown, in general. I have always lived uptown, and love it for its walkability, and it just keeps getting better and better.
When you’re not in Kingston, what’s your idea of a wonderful city to visit, and why?
Nothing beats NYC. It is pretty much the Capitol of The World.
Tell us something we never would have guessed about you.
I’m pretty darn good with a rifle 😉