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Eve's Apple Entices Customers for Two LSU Alumnae

Baton Rouge, La., is hardly the first place one would consider to be an international style hub, but one local enterprise is helping to put the city on the fashion map. Sari Laborde Turner and Michele LaCour Percy have found a way to bring the latest in clothing designs together with cutting-edge computer technology to give Internet shoppers a better online experience.

Eve's Apple Entices Customers for Two LSU Alumnae Eve's Apple Entices Customers for Two LSU AlumnaeEve's Apple Entices Customers for Two LSU AlumnaeEve's Apple Entices Customers for Two LSU Alumnae Eddy Perez/University Relations

The two LSU alumnae partnered in 2009 to create Eve's Apple, an Internet fashion site that is the only one of its kind in the U.S. to use 360º auto spin technology with ghosted effect to give customers a comprehensive view of each product. This new technology, used by only one other site worldwide, was introduced on the site in April 2011 and almost immediately increased sales by a substantial percentage, with a 40 percent spike in the first week alone.

Both Turner and Percy had definite ideas about the way they wanted the site to work, and they were determined find the best technology available to accentuate the company's products and to celebrate the designers they represent. They also knew that they preferred the "ghost effect," which is a three-dimensional image without a model or a mannequin, to achieve the visual element of their goals. Turner researched a variety of new technologies, which she combined to implement their online business plan.

"We found one component in eastern Europe, where the technology was used to highlight industrial manufacturing parts," she explained. "Each product is photographed individually, and these images give the illusion that the product is rotating. The different technologies are timed together to maintain image integrity. What you see on the site, we have created. We do everything here – nothing is outsourced – so we know our products."

The high tech marketing strategy is a reflection of the way these women see the fashion industry as a whole. Both women understand and appreciate the way that designers use technology to enhance fashions, and that knowledge has a profound influence on their selection of the clothing lines they sell.

"Technology is not just in marketing but also in the production of fabrics and materials that designers use," Percy commented. "Technology allows designers to produce their work using unique fabrics at reasonable costs. Designers are also incorporating value-added elements, like convertible clothing, into their lines."

Despite the high tech nature of their sales and marketing tools, both women stress that Southern hospitality is one of their advantages.

"We want to keep the personal touch in the business," Turner remarked.

"We have that in our boutiques, and we want people to have that in their Internet experience. Customer service is a huge priority," Percy added.

The Baton Rouge entrepreneurial duo travel around the country to find just the right fashions to feature on their site.

"We're directly involved in buying for the company. We're always looking for new and emerging designers," Turner explained.

One thing has impressed them as they travel: Some of the brightest and most promising design staff are LSU graduates. This discovery was not really a surprise for either Percy or Turner. Both women are graduates of LSU – Turner from the E. J. Ourso College of Business in business administration and marketing, and Percy from the College of Agriculture in business and fashion merchandising – and every member of their staff at Eve's Apple has either graduated from LSU or is currently a student at the university.

For a firsthand look at the site, visit http://www.evesapple.com