Arka BlogBack to Main Blog
Niva LaRue | September 20, 2018 | 5 Minutes Read
On a sunny August morning, we sat down to chat with our beloved customer Leslie Wong, co-founder of Burgundy Fox, a premium lingerie subscription box. Wong has used Arka to design multiple boxes for the company. She started Burgundy Fox in 2017 with co-founder Alexis Jenkins, and since then Wong has watched her business grow and expand at an exciting rate.
The idea to create Burgundy Fox first came to Wong when she visited a lingerie store in San Francisco - “It was awkward.”
Walking in, Wong wasn’t sure what her particular style was, but “the associate brought things to me that I totally hated...wouldn’t have ever wanted to wear. The questions...asking about my life, about my love life - I thought, this is so unpleasant.”
A light bulb went off in her head, she thought, “why couldn’t there be something that’s a curated service, where I can tell someone an idea of what I liked,” and a personal stylist would present thoughtful options, without any cringe-worthy questions?
Turning an idea into a full blown business is another story. “I realized there was a market for it. I talked to a bunch of women about it. They had shared similar experiences, they were intimidated by going into mass retailers like Victoria Secret, even brick and mortar shops or boutiques.” Wong found throughout her research and interviews that women were unsure what to buy online. More than this, they were intimidated by the experience. “What is lingerie? We all sort of [got] the idea when we were teenagers by looking through catalogs or seeing commercials on TV, and seeing a very specific type of person.”
The brand’s inclusive attitude is combating decades of old-school marketing and advertising, “there’s not a very diverse representation of people and women in particular. Most models are size two or zero...proportions you don’t see often in non-models. That can really affect the way people see themselves. I had body confidence issues growing up since I was like 10 years old. I wanted to change the marketing of this product and this industry.”
Wong’s mission is to disrupt the sense that only models should wear fun and beautiful lingerie. Anyone should be able to dress in the way that makes them feel sexy, empowered, and strong.
She chuckled, “the first customer was a stranger!”
This took us, as well as Wong, by surprise because you’d think friends or family would always be your startup’s first customers, right? “It was a pretty cool experience. I think the way our customers have shaped our product is really in their feedback. We do customer interviews a lot. Especially people who have been with us for a certain amount of time and then decide to cancel [their Burgundy Fox subscription]. Those are telling interviews.”
Wong relayed how much she’s learned about the types of sizes and quantities requested by her customers. For a brand that promotes inclusivity, Burgundy Fox wants to provide for all shapes of women. But with thousands of customers - which opinions are right or wrong? “It’s sort of having a number of these conversations and ultimately deciding what’s best for your company operationally.”
Operationally, Burgundy Fox is focused on sustainability. “There’s an aspect of social responsibility - to change something I thought was wrong socially and to improve it. So I think that same philosophy carries over to reducing the amount of waste that we create through an ecommerce package.”
On the search for eco-friendly packaging, Wong found us!
We started chatting about life before Arka boxes, “I would buy boxes; they were way too expensive. Boxes and boxes, and shipping costs were higher.”
Soon enough, Wong understood this wasn’t going to be sustainable from a cost perspective. On top of costs, the customer feedback aligned with her eco-friendly vision, “Someone mentioned that it was a lot of stuff. They were saying, ‘I feel guilty having all this paper.’” So Wong began her search for alternative packaging options!
“I use GoShippo, which is how I heard of you guys,” she remarked on her first brand touch point with us. “I really like Arka because firstly, it’s a really nice box, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, [secondly] the quality. [Thirdly] it’s fast. I don’t have to wait a really long time to get new packaging. It’s coming from America, so it’s nice that it’s local.” And most importantly, her Arka boxes were eco-friendly, “I think the packaging we created is still really delightful and still really nice, and people also don’t feel bad that they’re collecting a bunch of things.”
When we asked her where her design inspiration came from, she replied, "the concept was inspired by 'gifting' and the many steps involved in un-packaging something special. Have you ever seen Love Actually? It's like that scene at the department store!"
And Wong definitely pulled off the "minimal and subtle" aesthetic she wanted, but still a bit fun!
Wong touched on the hiring process as a founder.
She only had so much bandwidth to a point where she “hadn’t done reference checks.” She started laughing as our team reacted with “uh-oh” expressions. “Bad excuse, but it’s really important!”
As we went into the types of people she hires, Wong gave some advice, “[Learn] about how that person likes to be managed. If you understand what had motivated that person with the previous manager, it cuts out a lot of time.”
And time is money when it comes to running a premium lingerie subscription box!