Welcome to ‘Wee’ nation

Long-time Langley friends launch new business

Wee Nation founders Jill Kirby (left) and Jessica Boldt. The life-long friends created the subscription box business for Canadian baby products.

Wee Nation founders Jill Kirby (left) and Jessica Boldt. The life-long friends created the subscription box business for Canadian baby products.

Two Langley entrepreneurs have started a “wee” service that makes buying local possible on a national scale.

Wee Nation — a subscription box for Canadian baby products — sends local, artisan products to the doorsteps of parents across the country.

Founded by childhood friends Jessica Boldt and Jill Kirby, “it’s shopping local, but coast to coast, which we’ve never really been able to do before,” Boldt explained.

“It’s really supporting small businesses across the country.”

The subscription boxes are filled with many hand-selected “mom and pop” products — most of which are made in the Fraser Valley — ranging from clothing and bibs to bath and body items and books.

Each month the gender-neutral, age-specific boxes are shipped to their subscribers, giving parents the option to try out quality items not found in big box stores.

“There are so many amazing Canadian baby product vendors, and many people are not going to know about these shops because they are usually only in a couple of local baby boutiques,” Kirby explained.

“Especially in places like the Yukon or even the Maritimes, there’s a lot of places in Canada that do not have baby boutiques.

“I think the huge value behind our boxes is that we’re introducing you to these awesome products that you would have never known about before (and) 90 per cent of the businesses in our boxes are small businesses.

“Just moms that have started up on their own, too.”

For Boldt and Kirby — who first met outside a Kindergarten classroom at Aldergrove Elementary over 30 years ago, and have since married into each others families — their business idea was born out of frustration.

Boldt was pregnant with her third daughter this past summer, and was looking to order a subscription box with Canadian products, but was unable to find any.

Seeing this gap, she and Kirby decided to create their own.

The idea caught on “like wildfire,” and since sending their first batch of boxes out in January — which were built in Boldt’s garage-turned-warehouse — “we’ve been getting orders hand over fist everyday to the point where we’re almost worried how we’re going to be able to keep up with them,” Boldt said.

“It’s really catching on faster than we anticipated.”

Despite the frenzy, Kirby says it’s a “win-win-win.”

“It benefits us as we can run our business and be home with our kids and that sort of thing. It benefits our customers because they’re getting access to these amazing Canadian products. And it benefits the businesses because they get their products delivered right to their target markets,” she said.

According to LOCO BC, a non-profit business alliance supporting B.C.-based companies, supporting local is becoming a huge trend across the country.

A study released by the group in 2015 shows that 69 per cent of consumers “value Canadian ownership as ‘most important’ or ‘important’ when shopping.” More than 50 per cent are “seeking locally made products” and just under 50 per cent “prefer to buy from companies right in their province or city.”

These shopping habits can have a big impact. For every $100 spent at a local business, $46 is recirculated back into the local economy.

“We’re a really big country, but we want to make it all local and feel comfortable and supportive,” Boldt said.

For more visit www.ourweenation.com.