Meet the member: Sian from The Wedgies
This week we caught up with the lovely Sian on Wedgie's biggest achievements to date and their exciting community projects in Sri Lanka. Read this way and meet the Wedgies!
How long have you been in business?
Wedgie began trading in October 2016, with just a website and a few online sales, then we tried out a few London market stalls. But our work really began in May 2017, registering as a company and developing our wholesale. We’re now in 41 stores in 8 different countries!
Describe your product in 3 words.
Unique, chucklesome, perceptive.
One thing you wished you’d known before starting your brand.
Starting a business is a lot of work, but it is also a lifestyle choice that is heavily dependent on self-motivation. It takes a lot of passion and ambition to keep the self-motivation alive. Retrospect is a wonderful thing, and I don’t think I could’ve predicted some of the challenges that come with creating your own schedule, but I wouldn’t change it either. Wedgie is managed by three women, we have all known each other a long time, having met at secondary school and each bring very different skills and knowledge. We were all keen to start a new project and, without question, we keep one another on task!
What’s your biggest achievement whilst running your brand?
There is so much I am proud of and it’s a hard to pin down one specific achievement. I am proud of the number of stores we continue to stock, of doing our first trade show where we won the Pulse People’s Choice Award 2017 and of our growing social media following. On a personal level, this is all a very new experience for me; starting a brand new business with a brand new product has been exciting from the start and the achievement has been in the learning. Sometimes I have moments where I pause for thought and I think... look at us, best-mates, strong-women, hard-workers and having fun. What more could anyone need?
I am really proud of the fair-trade incentive we are involved with in Sri Lanka - it is aimed at the empowerment of men and women based in rural areas of the country. Unpainted doorstops are delivered directly to employees’ houses, along with paints, brushes and tools. Once painted and completed, the Wedgies are paid for on collection. This allows people in rural communities the convenience of earning an income whilst going about their daily routines.
But perhaps our biggest achievement is that our product seems to really make people laugh. It's the moments when you see a customer pick up a Wedgie for the first time and laugh out loud with their friends because they relate to character.
Why do you think PR is important?
From perhaps a very obvious perspective, it increases sales! We had a wonderful feature in Emerald Street when we first begun trading and it had a very evident impact on our online sales and to this day people recall seeing us from there. That was something we noticed was important at that stage; ease of sale. Having an article online with a link straight to our online store made buying our Wedgies easy. Plus we were reaching a mass audience in one punch.
If you could be featured anywhere (print or online) where would it be?
I don’t know if I could choose just one print. I am huge fan so many UK life-style and interior design bloggers, such as Lisa Dawson and Abigail Ahern, it’d be great if Wedgies could work with them. I would love for Wedgies to feature on one of Buzzfeed’s witty articles about wonderful and weird gifts and, of course, the ultimate would to be on Stylist’s The Style List.
And finally, in the next year you want to…
I’d love to continue to streamline our business, keep developing its efficiency. Working with a rural community as part of a fair-trade incentive in Sri Lanka has its challenges, specifically in the speed with which we can turn around new stock. But something wonderful; as our orders grow, so do the number of employees that can be taken on within the incentive. So there is a real sense of creating something with sustainability. In turn, this means I would be thrilled if we could spread our wholesale to more stores in more locations. Longer-term I am keen on developing our product range and branching into more character-based products in addition to door-wedges… so watch this Wedgie shaped space.
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