Female Disruptors: Jordan Dollard of Esther and Elsa Retail

Ashley Couto
Authority Magazine
Published in
6 min readJul 17, 2018

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordan Dollard Chief Retail Strategist of Esther and Elsa Retail, formerly Elsa Fine. Esther and Elsa Retail is a consultancy in Charlotte, NC working with communities and organizations around the region to assess and grow their retail programs.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I’m just five years out of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where I studied Apparel Design and Marketing. My entire life I swore that I would be in the fashion industry and that I was good for nothing else.

After graduating, I moved back to Charlotte, NC where I worked for a year and a half at a small fashion brand representative firm, only to be laid off in a city where fashion has a minuscule footprint.

With my options for furthering my career in Charlotte very limited, I opened a small online boutique, which grew over three years to become a small, but mighty spot for women in Charlotte to shop affordably. In those three years, pop-up shops and markets became a norm in Charlotte and I fell into planning one, small tented market for local businesses, Front Porch Sundays.

I used the event to be a platform for the city’s local retailers to find opportunity, a consistent customer base, and test new markets and products. The event grew tenfold over two and a half years.

After long considering if my shop was forever, I made the bold decision to close its doors and jump headfirst into retail consulting and planning.

After three months of Esther and Elsa Retail being my sole focus, I have a small staff, projects across the state, and consult with one of Charlotte’s largest arts nonprofits.

Why did you found your company?

I founded my original company out of necessity, and let it evolve on its own. I said yes to almost everything when I was a shop, and by doing so, made some invaluable connections that would help make my pivotal decision the right one. I saw that retail was evolving, so I decided I was, too…

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Ashley Couto
Authority Magazine

Art historian turned brand + web designer and journalist. I write about branding, conversion, and growing & scaling a creative business.