Tysons, VA

Wee Chic, a kids’ clothing boutique with stores in Maryland and the Mosaic District, is now offering custom boxes as it navigates e-commerce in the time of coronavirus.

Wee Chic opened its doors at 2905 District Ave, Suite 120 last spring, offering taco-printed onesies, a sushi-printed bib and much more as one of the few small clothing retailers in the Mosaic District.

Since the stores are closed, owner Bridget Quinn Stickline said she’s pivoted to selling items online and via FaceTime appointments with customers while she or an employee is at one of the stores.

“We have a lot of inventory we have to sell,” she said.

Now, Wee Chic has rolled out a “Shop Box” to entice clients to keep shopping.

Employees will talk to shoppers over the phone before building a custom box with 10, 15 or 20 pieces for each child at the low price of $10, $15 or $20.

“It’s kind of like a Stitch Fix model, but not a subscription,” she said.

Once the box arrives, kids try the clothes on, keep what they like and send back what they don’t before Wee Chic charges the family for the clothing they keep.

“Kids still need clothes,” Stickline said, adding that her store caters to shoppers who want to buy quality items.

Each box will include a return label and the shipping fee will be credited to future purchases, according to the website, which says that shoppers who keep eight or more styles will get 30% off their entire order.

Boxes that get returned will sit for a period of time before employees open them up, Stickline said.

The boxes can include multiple sizes, Stickline said, adding that she’s noticed something interesting from the test cases for Shop Box: “Kids are picking out things they would never have picked out if they were in the store.”

Stickline said she expects most of the orders to be for comfortable clothing — “definitely more around the house kind of stuff” — along with pajamas, birthday gifts and Wee Chic’s exclusive skort — a skirt combined with shorts underneath.

“It’s a good time to be a customer,” she said. “We anticipate there will be some really good deals [when we reopen.]”

When Wee Chic does reopen its stores, Stickline said she’s turning to her customers for guidance.

“I want to get a sense for where the customer is most comfortable,” she said, adding that she’s flexible with opening later in the day for parents homeschooling and other ideas to meet clients’ needs.

To keep customers and employees safe, she said everyone will need to wear masks and follow directional signs on the floor — “Can we do something more fun like dinosaur tracks?” — and everything that they will need to do to follow legal guidelines.

Ultimately, Stickline hopes that shoppers continue to support small businesses like hers as the coronavirus pandemic continues and once it’s over.

“Amazon is going to be fine. Jeff [Bezos] isn’t going to need any more of your money. Hopefully, people will be able to tolerate the extra effort it takes to shop with small businesses,” she said.

“We don’t want an environment where everything is big box and all the small businesses are gone.”

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