Boston & Bale | Take a Leap of Faith
After starting her own cookie company, Kitchen Millie, she realized her number one challenge was getting the word out. Unlike many, for Michelle, starting the company was no problem. But once it was started, she struggled to get her company name known. She spoke to other local makers around to see what was working for them, however she found many were having the same problem. She would go to local events to get her product out and find hundreds of other vendors doing the same thing.
She came across amazing events and amazing products by local businesses but found that the majority of people didn’t even know about these events until they had already happened. “Everyone I spoke to in the Maker community had great products, but was having the same problem as I did, they didn’t know how to get the word out most effectively when starting out'.” She realized there was a bigger problem here and this is when Boston and Bale was born.
“The idea really started after going to these events - essentially trying to make it easy to discover new, local products,” says Michelle Wax. The idea came to fruition in early February of this year and when I began researching different platforms that were out there, I found there really wasn’t any successful or popular one so far. So Michelle created Boston and Bale to be that middle man. A bale, synonymous to package or parcel, is what a customer will receive each month if they purchase a single or monthly bale. So put two and two together and you have a curated bale packed with local-maker goods delivered to your doorstep each month. Boston and Bale has become a beautiful company centered around the value of hard work and holds the vision to spread local maker love.
So you only started this company in August and the idea only came in February of this year. That is impressive!
Thank you! I have always had the mindset to start something and get it out the door as soon as possible because then I’m able to see what people like/dislike and make tweaks along the way. I'd rather have a product that's 80% done out there for customers to react to, than nothing at all.
That’s definitely the way to go when it comes to startups. Is it just you running the company or do you have a team?
Right now, it’s just me running the company full-time. My roommate helped me start the company and since she has a marketing background, she helped with events and the promotion of these events via social media. After we launched in August, she had to focus on her full-time job and so now it’s just me (of course with the support of my friends and family!).
Would you recommend other women entrepreneurs to go the solo route?
It’s definitely helpful to have a team to bounce around ideas with, but I don’t think its necessary -- its totally doable without one. I have to give a lot of credit to my family and friends who have been super helpful in this entire process -- they were basically my co-founders.
What was the biggest challenge for you when starting this company?
The battle with yourself. Especially if you are doing it on your own or even if you have the team, just knowing that it takes time to grow a company. We are always reading about these ‘overnight’ tech companies that did ‘crazy’ amounts of success and you are just like, when is that going to happen? So I think keeping in mind that it takes time, especially the industry that I’m in, and that even if small things are progressing its something to acknowledge. In reality you are probably doing much more than you think you are, so its important to just keep that in mind.
What kept you motivated to continue with this venture?
When I had this idea for Boston and Bale back in February, I still had a full time job in tech. But I was slowly realizing that this wasn’t something I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had this on the side and managed to keep a nice balance. But the majority of the motivation and (what ultimately led me to quit my full-time job) came from the overwhelming response of the product. From the farmers markets to emails to Instagram, people were just loving the idea and the brand. Everyone in the community was being super supportive, eager to help and answering any questions. It all felt so much more rewarding at the end of the day, compared to my previous job in tech.
Did you already start an Instagram account before the official product launch?
I started an Instagram account in March of 2015. All I had was the concept. I didn’t really have any visuals I could post about the product until later so I decided to post a bunch of photos of Boston, coming soon images to excite the audience and I even posted unrelated photos like me grilling hot dogs! I wanted to get people excited and build a following and Instagram ended up validating the idea even more.
Do you have any tips or advice for other women starting their own company, now that you have successfully launched?
Just get it started. If you have an idea, just go for it. Every day, take one step forward, no matter how small it is.
Once I actually spoke to the makers, and established a partnership, there's no chance I was going back. Once you have people following you, you are more accountable for yourself and for the company. Even having the Instagram was a way for me to deliver to the audience I had created. So I would say, just get it started and take the leap.