Goodbye Old Bath Towels, Hello Weezie
Interview by: Holly-Noelle Haworth
All images: Weezie Towels
What is your educational background? What was the most valuable thing you learned while in school?
Lindsey: I studied business undergrad at Vanderbilt University and received my MBA from Columbia Business School. The most important thing I learned in school was probably time management and how to prioritize. This skill has proven more valuable than anything I learned in the classroom.
Liz: I studied graphic design at the University of Georgia. The most important thing I learned in art school (aside from a love and crazy particularity for typography), is how to critique. We spent so much time critiquing art and ideas and verbalizing our thoughts and it's come in handy so many times in life and work.
Could you walk us through your career from the time you graduated college until now? Is there something each job of yours had in common with one another or has your career been composed of diverse, unique jobs?
Lindsey: I worked in finance after school. I did everything from investment banking and crisis management to financial consulting and fundraising at firms such as Morgan Stanley, BlackRock and Anchorage Capital. On the side, I started meeting with entrepreneurs and investing in startups. I soon became obsessed with the consumer space and went to Columbia Business School with the hopes of pivoting into venture capital. Liz had other plans for me, though! About one month after I started school, she approached me with the idea for Weezie. Every job I have had has required a solid work ethic and a balance of both quantitative and qualitative skills—other than that, though, they have all been pretty different!
Liz: When I graduated from UGA, I knew I wanted to move to NYC and landed at the e-commerce company, UncommonGoods. It was the best first job out of school because I got insight into a little bit of everything: branding, wayfinding systems for a warehouse, social media, marketing emails, catalog design, photoshoots, the list goes on. I left UncommonGoods to join Bustle.com as their first creative director. This was an unbelievable experience building a creative team and reacting to incredible growth (when I started, there were 15 employees and when I left three years later, there were 200+). I learned the power of marketing to millennial women and how agile you have to be in how you reach them. While I was at Bustle, I also launched a side hustle of my own–Tempe Rowe–manufacturing silk embroidered sleep masks. This was the best intro to building my own company and manufacturing. It's funny how the jobs in my past were preparing me for Weezie–you don't realize it when you're in it, but that's why it's so important to be open-minded and willing to work hard and learn as you're moving through your career.
Tell me a little more about what you both do now.
We have a very complimentary skill set. I’m the numbers person, and Liz is the creative. We generally gravitate toward our respective strengths, meaning I handle most everything behind-the-scenes, and Liz takes on most everything consumer-facing.
So, together you co-founded Weezie Towels. Where did you two meet, and what inspired you to start a company together, specifically a luxury towel company?
We met through mutual friends over a decade ago in Athens, GA. We went to different schools, but we still crossed paths several times. We became friends when we both moved to NYC after college. Starting Weezie began with a personal experience of mine. When I was registering for gifts for my wedding, I was so excited to register for luxury towels for my new home, but my shopping experience was less than I’d hoped for. I was met with what felt like a never-ending list of options, but no single brand had everything I was looking for. Confusing jargon, disappointing quality and customization pitfalls all combined to make the towel purchasing process unnecessarily annoying. I finally took a blind recommendation from my mom, and was ultimately disappointed in the quality (considering the price!) and what felt like an archaic customization experience. After speaking to hundreds of consumers and interior designers, Lindsey and I confirmed my frustrations weren’t unique. Consumers hated their towels, and there was not a go-to brand for them to turn to for replacement—until now!
What is the mission of your company?
Weezie seeks to modernize luxury by making it more approachable, friendly and easy. We believe life is meant to be enjoyed and want everyone to appreciate the simple moments in life—like wrapping up in a fresh, plush towel.
Can you tell us about how you came up with the name? What is Weezie?
Weezie is a modern nickname for more traditional names, Louise and Eloise. Weezie represents the new age hostess—always thoughtful, yet laid back at the same time. She’s friendly, and may be imperfect, but her door (and wine fridge!) is always open.
What makes Weezie towels better than the average bath towel?
It's all about the balance! We focus on balancing softness, absorbency, and weight. Our goal was to create a towel that was soft and plush yet not so heavy that it wouldn't dry, all while being extremely absorbent.
Weezie towels are made in Portugal with only the best materials, using 100% organic long-staple cotton for maximum strength and softness. The cotton is woven using an innovative Japanese technology that traps air within every fiber, allowing for maximum absorbency and fluffiness. Further, we have elevated the look of the towel by rounding the corners, adding a sleek piped edge and a discreet hook that allows for more effective drying. Lastly, Weezie is one of the only companies that offers seamless online customization so that every customer can design a towel that will truly upgrade the aesthetics of your bathroom.
How did you know people would buy your towels? How were you able to communicate the benefits of your towels to potential customers? Who are your customers?
We spent over a year surveying, interviewing and focus grouping with potential customers before we launched Weezie and the message was loud and clear: people hate their towels. We knew that if we could create a towel that was as soft as it was absorbent and as beautiful as it was plush, then we would be in business! We communicate mostly through our social channels and really rely on our customers to spread the word for us. We have hundreds of five stars reviews that speak for themselves. While our customers are predominantly female, everything else about them is very diverse! They are from all across the country–we have sold to 49 of 50 states so far–and they are between the ages of 25-75.
Liz: We're only human so, of course, we were nervous about our launch! We always went back to the fact that this business was inspired by a real experience–the towel and the company that I was originally searching for didn't exist and we were setting out to create that. We spent so much time on the actual product that we were super confident in the quality. We knew we could stand by that and that once it was in people's hands, they would get it.
What do you hope women feel when they use a Weezie towel?
Joy—when in use and when you see it on the towel rack! We made sure the towels were just as luxurious to use as they were to look at.
What does your day-to-day look like as the Co-Founders of Weezie? Do you each specialize in an area? Can you tell us more about how you operate as a team and decide who handles which tasks?
Lindsey: This sounds cliché, but our days are never the same! I usually spend my mornings catching up on emails /slacks, and the remainder of my day meeting with various partners such as developers, marketing agencies and accountants. I use the in-between time on that whatever that day's to-dos are. Today it is finding a new warehouse, setting up a new reporting system and finalizing our monthly budget. Meanwhile in Savannah, Liz spends her early mornings with her one year old daughter before heading into our Savannah office and warehouse. Her work revolves around anything creative - she manages our social media, directs all of our photoshoots, designs packaging, website, advertising and print collateral and creates all of our new content! While we both gravitate towards our respective strengths we still coordinate closely together especially on things like product development and strategic partnerships.
What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome as business owners? What about the greatest reward?
The biggest challenge has been learning to accept uncertainty. It’s impossible to be an obsessive planner in a startup. The result is that you learn to be efficient with time and juggle it all along with your personal life, meanwhile always keeping things in perspective. The greatest reward is definitely our customers! Nothing feels better than reading a positive review or seeing Weezie proudly displayed in a bathroom.
What does the future look like for Weezie?
Bright! We’re really excited to be growing our team, developing new products and launching some new charitable initiatives. Stay tuned!
As business owners, it can be hard to carve out time for self-care. How do you manage? Do you have any methods of self-care that help you remain balanced?
Lindsey: Sometimes it is hard to manage! Grocery shopping and cooking are my forms of self-care. Liz's self-care is definitely time with her one year old daughter, Tempe. We both try to exercise and spend time with our husbands and friends as much as possible!
Liz: We are both trying to figure out how to balance it all! It's tough especially when we're so excited about the company, it can be hard to pull ourselves away and put down our phones. We're about one year in, and I think we are both getting better at finding balance, but we are constantly working at it. For me, I find time for myself with yoga, journaling whenever I can in the mornings, and a weekly bath (no phones allowed).
How do you measure success? Can women “have it all”?
Lindsey: Women can definitely have it all. It is a juggling act and takes time, but it is worth it. Every single week presents new challenges and new opportunities, and we have learned that it's all about your attitude and work ethic. You can't get down on yourself when you may fall short one day or week.
Liz: I think everyone has a different definition of what it means to "have it all." For me, it means living a life that prioritizes my family and spending my time working at something I'm passionate about. Like Lindsey said, it's a juggling act and it's achieved by balance (and a lot of asking for help).
For the fun of it…
What does feminism mean to you? Does your brand embody any specific feminist values? If so, how or what?
Lindsey: Feminism to us means equality. At Weezie, we make sure that our predominantly female work force is given all the same opportunities as their male counterparts.
Liz: We are two female founders, and I had a baby while we were launching Weezie. It robbed me of sleep, but it instilled in Weezie an appreciation for motherhood and, specifically, working moms. We will naturally be more flexible and understanding of what it really takes to help moms be successful when balancing it all.
Drink of choice?
Lindsey: Vodka martini
Lindsey: Literally any woman who has founded a business - it takes guts and is not easy!
Liz: My mom. Now that I have a daughter, I have a whole new appreciation for everything she did and does for us.
Favorite girl power movie?
Lindsey: First Wives Club... or Bridesmaids
Liz: The Help <3
Song you can’t stop belting out in the car?
Lindsey: Anything Celine Dion
Liz: Beyonce, always
Lindsey: Rubirosa Vodka Pizza with Pepperoni and Mushroom!
Liz: A good sandwich always has a place in my heart
Motto or phrase you live by?
Lindsey: Honesty is the best policy.
Liz: We'll cross that bridge when we get to it...
Favorite vacation spot?
Lindsey: Harbour Island
Liz: Thailand (we went for our honeymoon and had the best experience)