Metro Detroit’s luxury market has grown in the last two years — Gucci opened its first Detroit boutique in August; Hermès opened a location in the Somerset Collection in 2021 and brought its traveling Hermès in the Making exhibition there in June; and Louis Vuitton also opened its doors at the Somerset Collection last year.
While these familiar high-end houses have made noise in the area, a much lesser-known luxury personal shopping and styling company has been quietly leaving its mark in the region for a decade.
Launched in 2012 by Ella Abdul, EliteUSA specializes in seeking out hard-to-find designer apparel, handbags, jewelry, and more and buying them on behalf of its clients. The Bloomfield Hills-based company also provides wardrobe and styling consulting.
While EliteUSA has customers around America, Abdul says most of its clientele hails from the Middle East, including Kuwait (where Abdul is from), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
In the Bloomfield Hills office, a small team of five to seven runs the global enterprise. The company employs personal shoppers in New York and Paris; logistics teams in Delaware, Kuwait, and Frankfurt, Germany; a marketing team in San Francisco; and an app development team in Los Angeles.
“I noticed that there was a gap in the luxury market between the customer and the boutiques,” Abdul says of the reason why she started her company.
Indeed, a brand’s product offerings vary across markets; goods sold at a designer brand’s stores in Europe may not be available at its U.S. shops, and vice versa. EliteUSA aims to change that — with its global team, the business can bridge that gap by securing, buying, and sending items to anyone anywhere.
In 2012, a friend of Abdul’s from Kuwait was looking for a pair of Valentino Garavani Rockstud shoes not available in the country (“They were
so trendy,” Abdul says). She found the shoes by calling a Valentino boutique in the U.S., purchased them, and mailed them to her friend. That transaction sparked the idea to start a personal shopping business.
“I went ahead and opened [an Instagram] page and called it ‘EliteUSA.’ … I started posting things that I personally liked and caught my attention,” Abdul says.
Prior to starting her company, she had no experience working in the luxury industry, just passion. Word spread through her network in Kuwait, then organically — to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and beyond.
“It was a very unique way of doing business because we did not have a website back then,” she says.
EliteUSA is completely virtual; clients can request any item they’d like, from Dior and Prada handbags to Alexander McQueen sneakers to Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry. Customers unsure what they’re looking for can head to EliteUSA’s Instagram page for inspiration. From there, customers can request products through several methods, including Instagram direct message, the EliteUSA app, WhatsApp, or email. EliteUSA then connects with its network of personal shoppers and vendors to find the product. In about seven business days after payment, the item is at the client’s doorstep.
Abdul guarantees every item purchased is authentic, new, and bought from the brand’s official boutiques. Customers also receive the original receipt and a certificate of authenticity with their order.
Deanna Elzein, EliteUSA’s director of sales, says some luxury brands want their first-time clients to come to the store to make their purchase, which isn’t always feasible.
“It’s very intimidating to go into a store and feel like, ‘I’m their last priority — I don’t look the part, I don’t have on the right stuff, I don’t have on any brand names,’” says Elzein, who has 10 years of experience in the luxury industry and managed for Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. “So, what [EliteUSA offers] is this no-judgment zone; we want to take care of everybody the exact same way. And you can do it while you’re in the comfort of your own home or at work or wherever.”
EliteUSA has proved to be an asset for the luxury market. Abdul says a couple of “big brands” have asked EliteUSA to help ship items to international clients. And with nearly 200,000 Instagram followers, potential shoppers from all over the world are finding the company.
One client from Taiwan, who discovered EliteUSA’s Instagram page through a hashtag, requested a bag worth more than $30,000 for her first transaction. The rarest bag Abdul and her team have secured for a client was the coveted Hermès 20 Birkin Faubourg; Abdul and Elzein declined to share how much their client paid for it, but Elzein says it was “a lot.” (A quick Google search shows the bag goes for more than $200,000.)
In the future, Abdul hopes to serve more clients here in metro Detroit while building EliteUSA’s global clientele. “We want to make this the most amazing experience for [our clients],” Elzein says. “Ask whatever question you want; we’re here to help you. We’re here to show you what’s available and spend time with you.”
Learn more about EliteUSA at elite-usa.com.
This story is from the October 2022 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.