Trendsetters: Wee Blessing
These days, subscription shopping services are in vogue, and they’re often backed by powerful companies and investors like Disney and Amazon. However, one Columbus-based business has successfully broken into the market by finding a unique niche and doing things differently. Wee Blessing launched in 2015 as a children’s clothing subscription service and has since evolved into the first and so far the only service to style and deliver clothing for the entire family.
“Our goal is to give busy moms and busy families time back with their children,” says Alicia Werle, founder and CEO of Wee Blessing. “We want to create memories when the blessings show up on their doorstep.”
A hard-working mom herself, Werle’s idea was to create a business that was more responsive to customers’ needs than the subscription services she’d tried – and offer outfits at 40 percent to 60 percent off retail prices. She and her husband started Wee Blessing with no formal business plan or investors. Using their savings, they began going to children’s clothing tradeshows, buying items and signing up customers. She also sent review boxes to bloggers who had a substantial following of moms.
“In the past three years, we’ve probably shipped to 300 bloggers and influencers around the country based on what type of following they have,” she says. “They provide feedback [about the Wee Blessing they received], and it’s gone very well.”
Wee Blessing became a vendor for clothing companies like Macy’s, JCPenney and Nordstrom, hired people to physically shop for discounts and trained super-couponers. Werle says this approach has enabled the company to “buy at huge discounts and offer those discounts to customers.”
For the first two years, the Werles continued to work their full-time jobs, running the company from their house in their spare time. The initial Wee Blessing boxes were created for children from birth to 14 years old. Each contained three to four complete outfits based on a detailed online survey that asked about favorite colors, style preferences, hobbies and more. The survey also included questions about desired budget, frequency of delivery and payment options. (The company offers an interest-free payment plan for six months.)
When Werle decided to expand into women’s clothing, she piloted the service with about 50 customers. Nearly all of them kept most of the outfits, which put Wee Blessing on par with well-known subscription services. Last year, the company added clothing for men as well as maternity styles and women’s plus sizes.
Since 2015, Wee Blessing has grown to nine employees and amassed an active customer base of more than 2,000 subscribers. The company now has a business plan that calls for 15,000 customers by the end of next year along with the 2019 launch of a toy subscription box and a pre-owned clothing option.
The company’s success “is literally my experience in work and in life and lots of prayer,” Werle says. “Sometimes you have to step out on faith and do it.”