I love the opportunity to share an inside look into a brand with the founders themselves, and today I’m sharing a recent interview with the co-founders of Weezie Towels, Liz Eichholz and Lindsey Johnson. As you’ll soon find out, Liz and Lindsey were friends before they founded Weezie Towels in October 2018. Having just celebrated their one year anniversary, I’m looking forward to seeing where this brand will go in future. While Weezie Towels is currently based in two cities (NYC & Savannah) the brand will be relocating their NYC offices to another well known Southern city, Atlanta.
First of all, how did the two of you meet?
We first over a decade again, through mutual friends in college. Liz attended the University of Georgia, and Lindsey was at Vanderbilt. Originally from Atlanta, Lindsey frequented Athens for weekend visits. After graduation, we both moved to New York, and became even closer friends.
At what point during your friendship did you decide to found a company together?
Liz — It wasn’t until I left New York for Savannah that we came up with the idea for Weezie. I had recently gotten married, bought a new home (upgrading from a tiny NYC apartment!), and was on the hunt for fresh towels. Unfortunately, the process proved to be frustrating and overwhelming: the jargon was confusing, quality was unpredictable, and embroidery options were archaic. What should have been a joyful experience really fell flat. In talking with others, it quickly became clear there was a gap in the market for a go-to, luxury bath towel brand.
I approached Lindsey about the idea while she was at Columbia Business School, and it quickly became an idea we couldn’t ignore. A year and a half of customer research and product development later, we launched Weezie in October 2018.
Tell me about how you both decided on the name ‘Weezie’ for the brand?
Weezie is a nod to the modern nickname for classic names Eloise and Louise (family names for both of us!) We like to think of Weezie as the new age hostess – thoughtful, but laid back and fun at the same time. She is your friend whose door (and wine fridge) is always open. What is more, we love that Weezie is similar to ‘easy’; we have built our brand around the idea that buying and customizing luxury towels should be approachable, easy and enjoyable!
Liz is based in Savannah and Lindsey you are based in NYC, soon relocating to Atlanta! What led to the decision to keep Weezie based in both cities and what is the most important part about maintaining a successful working relationship?
As of early 2020, our New York team is relocating to Atlanta! We are so fortunate to call both Savannah and Atlanta home: each city has a unique sense of community, rich culture, and supportive Weezie customer bases.
In deciding where to locate our teams, we thought carefully about the talent pools in each location, and the communities with which we would be engaging the most. With its thriving arts scene, Savannah is a natural home for our Creative team. Atlanta is the business and interior design hub of the South, and is home to many Weezie customers. It is the perfect fit for our Business, Operations, Customer Experience and Interior Design Program teams, among others.
When working in multiple locations, communication is of utmost importance. From Slack to email to video conferencing, we are in near constant communication with one another and our teams. Since we’ve known each other for so long, it’s easy for us to have quick, productive conversations, which is critical when miles apart.
How do you feel your respective backgrounds in finance and graphic design have contributed to the success of Weezie?
We’re fortunate to have complementary skillsets as co-founders, and our respective backgrounds allow us to operate as each other’s yin and yang. Lindsey leans on her experience in finance when conducting analyses, thinking critically and strategically to solve business problems, and making data-informed decisions. Liz’s previous work as a creative director prepared her to lead our design team, oversee all aspects of the Weezie brand, and have the vision to manage both near and long-term creative projects. We learn from each other each day, and we feel the different perspectives each of us (and our respective teams) bring to the table has helped Weezie get where we are today.
What sets Weezie towels apart from other brands?
Where do we begin?! In our hundreds of hours of focus groups, it became crystal clear that consumers prioritized softness and absorbency in their towels. Too often, one comes at the expense of the other – soft towels aren’t absorbent, and vice versa. To solve for this, Weezie uses an innovative spinning technology that spins air into each and every fiber, which ensures a towel that is equal parts soft and fluffy. On top of that, our materials are the best of the best: 100% organic long-staple cotton. Even better? It’s OEKO-TEX certified, meaning it’s free of harmful chemicals.
We were incredibly thoughtful about not only about towel construction, but also aesthetics. We rounded the corners for a more elevated design, and included a discreet hanging hook for more effective drying. We also offer seamless online customization so that our customers can create a towel unique to them. We truly believe we created the perfect towel, and hope it brings as much joy to our customers as it does to us.
All of your towels are made in a family owned factory in Portugal. How did you decide what factory you wanted to work with and how closely are you involved with the production of your towels?
Over the course of a year, we traveled the globe meeting with factories and interviewing potential partners. We ultimately landed on a factory that felt like a natural fit. A family-owned factory that’s been around for generations, they’re meticulous craftsmen and are committed to the highest level of quality. We remain involved in production and are in near constant communication with them, providing feedback and working on upcoming launches. Our Product Development Manager just returned from a trip to Portugal – a definite perk of her job!
One of the things I love the most about Weezie towels is the ability to customize the piping, and add embroidery customizations. (I’m definitely a monogram girl!) What color choices for piping and monograms did choose for your own homes?
Liz — River is one of our most popular embroidery styles, and it’s the one I selected for my own powder room! I have the words “dry off” embroidered in light blue on light blue piped edge towels. I’ve also been living in my navy piped long robe this winter, embroidered with my initials in Prince.
Lindsey — I recently gave my bathroom a facelift with a black stitched edge starter pack. I went for a more modern look this time, and opted for a black Mercer “J”. I’ve also been wearing my white piped long robe all throughout my pregnancy. My initials are embroidered in Tybee in green thread – a fun pop of color on an all-white robe.
In October 2019, Weezie celebrated its one year anniversary. What was the biggest take away from your first year of business?
Looking back on our first year of business, the biggest learning for both of us has been to embrace the uncertainty of it all. No day is like the next – which is tough for two planners like us! We’ve come to appreciate the unpredictability, as it keeps things exciting and is what pushes us to learn and grow each and every day.
Last year you collaborated with artist Dorothy Shain (love her!) to create holiday packaging for the Christmas season. What did you enjoy most about working with Dorothy?
Us too! We love how effortlessly Dorothy embodies our brand hashtag, #enjoythestay, which is all about bringing moments of delight to the everyday. Dorothy brought this to #enjoythestay to a real, tangible way in the form of our holiday packaging. Our customers responded so positively to the joy Dorothy’s art brought through our holiday wrapping!
Any new Weezie products or collaborations for 2020 you’d like to share (or hint) about?
We can’t give away all of our secrets quite yet… but we can hardly wait for all that’s in store this year! We have several launches coming up (two of our most requested products!) and more partnerships in the works. Above all, we’re most excited to bring more ways to #enjoythestay to more even more customers this year. Follow along @weezietowels to be the first to know!
Do you have some words of advice for female entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
First: Great ideas require even greater execution. Get out there and do it! Start small – talk to anyone and everyone about your idea. You’ll be surprised how willing people are to help, and you never know where a conversation might lead.
Second: Find a complementary co-founder who can fill in the gaps 🙂
Co-Founders – Liz Eichholz (left) + Lindsey Johnson (right)
Keep up with Liz, Lindsey and Weezie Towels through the following links…