Elizabeth and Marcella Esler were sisters who worked and lived together. They arrived in Minneapolis from Ontario, Canada in 1896. Elizabeth took work at Lizzie Morrissey’s dressmaking shop in Minneapolis as a seamstress. She was 28 years old and must have come with some experience, since she soon advanced to "forewoman." After six years at Morissey’s, she started her own business with Marcella as her partner. Sometime after 1915, the two sisters changed occupations and opened the Esler Tea Room where, as members of the Business Women’s Club of Minneapolis, they catered to businesswomen who wished to "strengthen the friendly and business relations of its members.