After opening Frances Valentine in Buckhead Village last fall, co-founder and CEO Elyce Arons sits down to talk about her Southern expansion and the joy of dressing throughout your lifetime.
Frances Valentine co-founder and CEO Elyce Arons dons vibrant accessories and clothing from her brand. PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANCES VALENTINE
“I just love Southern women. They are truly the most open and honest people—and they love color,” says Elyce Arons with a smile. The co-founder and CEO of Frances Valentine can’t help but smile when discussing the brand’s market expansion—on of its first Southern being right here in Atlanta. “It was during COVID, I was down in Atlanta visiting Emory for my daughter, and we found ourselves in Buckhead Village,” says Arons. “From what I saw... Frances Valentine would be a perfect match.” And so Frances Valentine opened its 5th storefront in October, followed by Birmingham in November. “This summer we are opening in Alexandria, Va., on King Street, and in the Naples Waterside Shops in the fall,” says Arons. “We couldn’t be more excited.” These boutiques, of course, are joining her already wildly successful location in Florida.
“KATY [SPADE] WILL FOREVER BE A PART OF THIS COMPANY. HER SOUL IS HERE AND HER HEART IS HERE. I THINK ABOUT HER EVERY SINGLE DAY. HER VOICE IS IN MY BRAIN WHEN WE’RE PICKING THE RIGHT SHADE OF GREEN OR PINK OR CHOCOLATE BROWN.” –ELYCE ARONS
Arons is no stranger to the fashion world, having created iconic American fashion label Kate Spade New York with her longtime best friend and confidante of the same name. Arons and Katy and Andy Spade owned Kate Spade for 13 years, selling it in 2006 when they were all having children. “It was Camelot. We had the best team. But selling it meant we got to enjoy our lives. We got involved in school, volunteered, took cooking classes, picked up tennis—you know, all the things that I never had the time to do before,” says Arons. “We were also big shoppers at that time because we could finally go out and buy anything we wanted. I was always looking for a great pair of shoes, but for good quality the prices were so high. We were out for dinner one night, contemplating if we should get back in. We missed creating, designing and the social part of having a business, so, in 2016, we launched the company and Frances Valentine was born!”
While the brand is very different from the original Kate Spade, they share a root purpose. “[We create pieces] for the time in our lives. Kate Spade was for us when we were young women and young professionals. Frances Valentine is what I want to wear now and provides clothing for multiple generations of women without sacrificing individualized style.” 3006 Bolling Way NE, Ste. A163, francesvalentine.com
Photography by: Frances Valentine