Women Entrepreneurs BCS is doing something creative this holiday season to connect with and support local women-owned businesses. They have partnered with over 20 women who are a part of the WE BCS community to launch WE Winter Boxes—a collection of local products and services from women entrepreneurs in the Brazos Valley.
Cofounders of Women Entrepreneurs BCS Marie-Anne Holland and Amelia McCracken are both former Texas A&M grads who have a passion for entrepreneurship. After a couple of years in the corporate world, Marie decided to purchase her daughter’s daycare, and quickly realized she didn’t have any business connections outside of corporate. To solve this problem, Marie started the WE Facebook group to make friends, find community, and connect with other business women. About a year later, Amelia jumped on board with Marie and WE launched as an official business in August of 2019.Today, WE’s purpose remains the same—helping women.
Prior to co-founding WE, Amelia has been an entrepreneur for quite some time. Her past businesses range from “selling jewelry from the end of her driveway in middle school,” she says, to a full-fledged wedding business doing cakes, photography, and graphic design, which she owned while she was in college at Texas A&M. After some time working a 9-5 job, Amelia wanted to stay home with her newly adopted son, so naturally, she started a new business that allowed her to work from home. Amelia founded Ment, a marketing agency aimed at developing students’ portfolios and helping them get real-world experience. Amelia still owns Ment in addition to helping lead WE.
WE’s mission is to help women succeed at building their dream businesses, and the WE Winter Boxes are just one way they are doing so. “I’ve had the idea for these boxes since we launched,” Marie says, “but Amelia, the queen of reigning me in, always suggested that we wait for the right time to do them.” With an unconventionally relaxed season upon them due to COVID, the two women decided now would be a perfect time to launch the boxes. “Everyone is trying to do their part to support local businesses right now,” Marie adds, “and the unique thing about the Winter Boxes is that it will be getting products into peoples’ hands who might not have come across them otherwise.”
With over 1,500 active women in the WE Facebook group, Marie and Amelia have seen every facet of how COVID has affected local businesses. While this season has unfortunately caused some businesses to close, a lot of women have taken it as an opportunity to pivot their brands and completely redesign their business models. Some of the women in the WE community are now doing things like opening a bakery storefront in Downtown Bryan, mass producing face coverings, and delivering premade lunches and dinners to homes. “Women aren’t good at boasting about themselves, so at WE, we do it for them! We promote everyone’s businesses, which is such a fun community to be a part of,” Amelia adds.
“This year has been rough on business owners because of COVID, so getting our members to come together with their products and services in order to send them out into the community will hopefully be a big boost to each of them for the holiday season,” Brittany Lammerts says, participant in WE’s Winter Boxes and owner of Atlas Belle Studio, an online gift and home decor shop offering handcrafted custom designs. “I am so proud to be part of an organization that brings women together the way that WE does. I have made some incredible friendships in the group, learned a ton business-wise, and I look forward to the future growth of the group!”
WE will be offering three different types of boxes this winter: the WE Local Box (Products & Local Services), the WE Box for Anyone Anywhere (Products), and the Entrepreneur Box (Products & Local Business Services). The box options are available at the $50 and $100 price point with a value of over $65 and $120, respectively. WE is also offering the boxes in a quarterly prescription service with the next box coming out in spring 2021.
Marie and Amelia are also leaders of Lemonade Day BCS, the local chapter of a national nonprofit organization that teaches youth how to start, own and operate their own business. The winners of this year’s business creation contest, Shades By Skye and Equines With Ella, will be featured in a magazine that comes with every Winter Box purchased. Along with the Lemonade Day winners, the magazine will also include each WE Winter Box participant and the WE Award Winners.
Pre-orders are open now through November 15, and boxes will start shipping out the first week of December! For local area purchases of the Winter Boxes, WE will be hosting a Pickup & Swap Party at Messina Hof on December 6 so you can save on shipping, mingle with the business owners, and swap out any box items with others in attendance.
To learn more and purchase boxes, click here.
Local women business owners are welcome to join the free WE BCS Facebook group: http://bit.ly/WEbcsGroup
Interview with Marie-Anne Holland and Amelia McCracken