I’m excited to be sharing a super special Girl Boss with you guys today: the lovely Andrea Cwik of the hottest new gifting service, Bliss& Bale. You guys are going to adore her!
So Andrea: tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
Hi! Thanks for having me, Stephanie! I’m Andrea Cwik, I live in the Silicon Valley with my two boys and my husband. I’m a Christian and I’m also the founder of Bliss & Bale. In a nutshell I lovingly curate gift sets and hand-package them in beautifully wrapped boxes. I launched Bliss & Bale to enable individuals to gift thoughtfully and easily. Our gift sets are about celebrating and enjoying the goodness of life — friends, family, shared experiences and time well-spent.
Where did the idea for Bliss & Bale begin? Tell us about the journey from concept to reality.
Bliss & Bale was born out of my love for mixing and matching items into coordinated gifts that have wowed my friends and family. I believe when you give someone a gift it shows you thought about them and that makes the recipient feel special. I put a ton of care and consideration not only into each gift set as a whole but also into each item within the gift sets too.
The journey to launch Bliss & Bale was longer than I would have ever expected. It started with iterating on Bliss & Bale’s strategic direction (scope and scalability), evaluating platforms for my website, sourcing product photographers and graphic designers, creating the brand and name of my business, visiting gift shows, ordering products, going to IKEA for shelving solutions for inventory, converting our play room to a play room and office combo space, selecting my packaging, writing product descriptions, creating a pricing formula, researching and selecting shipping partners, negotiating shipping costs, building product pages and homepage assets and also launching social media pages. There truly is a lot of work involved in starting a business from scratch but I am so thrilled to be up and running! Now onto a marketing and sales strategy coupled with PR opportunities.
So I will first start off by saying I LOVE what I do! I say this because customers can expect to feel this emotion when they make a purchase from Bliss & Bale. I travel to numerous gift shows throughout the year to curate and find the perfect products to go into each set. I even traveled across the country to New York because I learned that was the biggest and best gift show in the US. It took me 4 full days on my feet to explore that gift show but it was well worth it! I found some really fabulous products and vendors I would not have known about otherwise.
I’m really picky so I need to personally approve every single item chosen for a set. I taste every food item and as a foodie I have really high standards. I smell every candle, fragrance, cream and bath item. I handle every item to make sure each one feels great to the touch and is made of the utmost quality. Ultimately I pick items that resonate with me emotionally and that I know will do the same for the recipients of my gift sets. Picking the very best products like this takes a considerable amount of time but I love doing it and it’s time that my customers don’t have to invest themselves — they can trust they’re getting great items!
Customers can also expect a very high level of thoughtfulness ingrained throughout each gift set. The items are carefully combined into sets in such a way as to create a really memorable experience for the recipient. Our thoughtfulness also extends to our beautifully wrapped gift boxes which are shipped inside a shipping box — so they’re ready to bring as a gift to a party without the dirt and scuffs that gifts shipped in a single box tend to have.
Success to me means I have freedom and access to resources so I can help others when they are in need. It also means I can do what I love on a daily basis and share my passion for making others feel special.
Where do you see your brand in the next year? The next 5 years?
I just launched Bliss & Bale so I’m hoping in the next year to grow my consumer base but also I think there is a huge opportunity to accelerate my growth by partnering with more corporate clients who need a thoughtful gifting solution. I ultimately want my brand to have universal praise from my customers and to get there I’m going to analyze and adjust on the fly, see what’s selling well and listen to my customers. Much like a chef composing a meal and continually tasting and making adjustments!
In the next five years, I want Bliss & Bale to be recognized as an authority in the gifting space. I know it’s ambitions but I have some interesting ideas for collaborations with designers, artists, bloggers, and trend-setters that I’m excited to explore.
Here’s the thing: there are great days and there are stressful days. The biggest advice I can give is literally take one step at a time and still make time for yourself. After launching Bliss & Bale I thought I was going to be able to rest a little since I worked tirelessly to get to the point where I was up and running. The reality is that after the launch there was still so much to do. There will always be a To Do list but what I’m learning is that I can’t continue this path of working an insane amount of hours a day (I have a corporate job too, by the way!) because I’m going to lose steam. I’m in it for the long haul so I need to maintain a steady pace. One step at a time and add in little breaks. Doing what you love is so rewarding so make sure you take care of yourself so you don’t burn out.
Thanks so much Andrea! And I know all of you are going to be thanking Andrea too when you hear she has generously offered to provide one winner with ANY curated gift set of her choosing from Andrea’s gorgeous site! THATS RIGHT! There is no purchase necessary to enter, just follow the steps in the contest below before 12:00am PST on January 27th and you might be our lucky winner! Eeeek! Best of luck ladies <3