In 2016, Liz Eichholz had a frustrating and unfulfilling towel shopping experience. Newly married and excited to outfit her Savannah, GA, home with fresh towels, she was quickly overwhelmed by the countless options, confusing jargon and the archaic purchase process. She could not find a brand on the market with great quality towels, an enjoyable customer experience and quick customization. She called her best friend Lindsey Johnson (who was at Columbia Business School at the time), and she agreed: There had to be a better solution. Pairing Lindsey’s experience in the finance world with Liz’s training in graphic design and all-things-creative, the two friends set out to fill this towel void. Enter: Weezie Towels, a female-founded, direct-to-consumer small business based in Savannah specializing in luxury custom towels and robes.
Liz and Lindsey spent a year and a half on product development before launching Weezie, seeking out the perfect global partners to create the ideal towel material. And oh did they create it! All Weezie towels are made from the same 100% organic cotton material — soft, fluffy, absorbent and beautiful — so customers know exactly what to expect every time they order. The cherries on top? Easy-to-order custom embroidery (right in the Savannah warehouse) with online previews and quick turn-around times. They created exactly what Liz was missing. In addition to being business owners, both women are young mothers. Allow us to introduce you to these two inspiring Southern entrepreneurs and our newest FACES of the South, Liz Eichholz and Lindsey Johnson!
Tell us a bit about your life trajectory to the luxury towel world. How did you end up here?
Liz: After my ill-fated shopping experience, we started talking to our friends and family (and really anyone we encountered) and realized a lot of people felt the same way: the towel purchase experience was dated, confusing and lacking in joy. On top of it all, we found there wasn’t significant brand loyalty in the space. The opportunity was ripe to build the go-to towel brand.
Lindsey: Next up for us: Solve the problem by developing the perfect towel. Prior to our launch, we spent countless hours surveying thousands of consumers, hosting focus groups and interviews, and traveling the world to find the right partners. Fast forward several months later to October 2018, and Weezie was born! Our high-quality towels and robes are soft and absorbent, feature thoughtful details (drying hooks!), and can be easily customized with a range of embroidery styles and thread colors.
How have your two very different — but very impressive — previous careers played into forming this company?
Liz: We have known each other for over 10 years and always had complementary skill sets. I have a more creative brain, and Lindsey is the numbers gal. My background is in graphic design, with roles at UncommonGoods.com and later as the Creative Director at BDG Media (Bustle.com and Romper.com).
Lindsey: My background is in finance. I worked at Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, a hedge fund, and also am an angel investor in early stage consumer businesses. When building Weezie (and launching a business with a best friend!), we were grateful to have two unique backgrounds, allowing us to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities within the company. I serve as our CEO, leading all things finance, operations, and customer experience, among others, and Liz is our Creative Director, owning areas such as brand, social media, and physical product. We’re also so appreciative to have learned (and continue to learn!) so much much from one another. Liz and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to find a co-founder whose skill set fills any gaps in your own.
Where does the inspiration for new products and designs come from, and what’s your method or process when you’re creating new ones?
Liz: Our collection is inspired daily by our team, our customers and our vision for the brand. Even prior to launch, we had a dream list of products to one day introduce.
Lindsey: One of the benefits of selling direct-to-consumer is we are in near-constant conversations with our customers and community. They share what they want to see next from Weezie and what is missing in their bathrooms. Some of our best ideas have come straight from our customer base. That said, we’re also sure to introduce products we know our customers will love but don’t yet know they need (like our bestselling short robe!).
Liz: The idea for a product is only the beginning. Next, we go through countless rounds of development and design iterations before the product is approved for production and ultimately launched on our site. We have a blog post on this. (Read it here.) Throughout this process, we turn to our customers for feedback through Instagram, focus groups, sample testing and more, hearing from them about functionality and design. The process can take over a year from concept to launch.
What’s a common custom linen misconception (or two!) that bugs you?
Liz: So many people think the only option for customizing your towels is a three-letter monogram. While we love a classic monogram, some of our favorite embroidery selections include sayings and phrases, house names, and other words spelled out in text. I have ‘Guest’ in our River style in my powder bathroom, and for Mother’s Day, we sent countless robes to ‘Mama,’ ‘Mimi,’ and ‘Bunny’! We love to encourage our customers to be playful with their selections, and the results always feel so personal.
Lindsey: Don’t forget to add towel hooks in your bathroom. While towel bars are beautiful and great for displaying towels in guest bathrooms, between your day-to-day showers, we suggest hanging your towels to dry. All Weezie towels have a convenient loop hook for this very purpose. We recommend hanging towels instead of folding them so damp towels have room to breathe and fully dry. I love towel hooks so much, I’m not even including towel rods in my bathrooms in my new Atlanta home.
How have your Southern backgrounds and your business’s Southern presence influenced your core values and customer base?
Lindsey: Our Southern roots run deep; Liz was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and I am originally from Atlanta. I just moved back after spending many years in New York City. We’re thrilled to have a great customer base and interior design network in the South.
Liz: As a brand, there are few things we value more than Southern hospitality. Our name, Weezie, comes from the Southern nickname for a more traditional name like Louise. We like to think of Weezie as the modern, new age hostess … your friend whose door (and wine fridge!) is always open. Our goal is for this to permeate through all aspects of our business, both internal and external: Each touchpoint with our company should feel like a welcoming interaction with an old friend.
What’s something people are often surprised to learn about you?
Liz: I love to paint; however, these days, I never seem to be able to find the time. When I was in college at the University of Georgia, I was in the art school and minored in painting.
Lindsey: People always perceive me as confident, but it’s usually just a front. I suffer from serious imposter syndrome.
What do you do on your days off? Where do you go to recharge?
Liz: Living in Savannah, there’s nothing I look forward to more than a good beach day at Tybee Island with my husband and children. We pack a cooler, make a playlist, and hit the sand for a day of R&R.
Lindsey: While days off are pretty infrequent, we love to travel, and I look forward to when we can safely do it again. For now, we will be spending free time with our new daughter and getting settled in our new home in Atlanta. I am hoping for some quick trips to Sea Island with my family to recharge.
If you could outfit one person’s home and wardrobe with some custom Weezie towels, who would it be and why?
Liz: Reese Witherspoon — the ultimate modern Southern hostess! We so admire all she’s achieved.
In addition to running this company, you’re both moms. Can you speak to the hurdles and joys of juggling these two full-time jobs at once?
Lindsey: It has certainly been a whirlwind! I gave birth to my first child, Miller, in early March, just days before the coronavirus really began to take hold in the U.S. Plans we had for my maternity leave (and the rest of the year, for that matter!) were seemingly upended overnight. Liz and I have both learned a lot about embracing uncertainty over the past year and a half in business, and the current situation has only challenged us even more in that regard. We feel fortunate to have learned this lesson early on in our business.
We’re grateful, too, for the silver linings — for the support of our team and families, and of course, for a little extra time at home with our husbands and daughters. I wrote a recent blog post on this very topic. (Read it here.)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom?
Liz: As my dad always says, “The harder you work, the better chance you have of getting lucky!”
Lindsey: Liz is constantly reminding me to “take things one day at a time” and to “cross that bridge when you get there.”
Besides faith, family and friends, name three things you couldn’t live without?
Liz: The Weezie Short Robe, a good SPF (life of a redhead / I love Supergoop!), and good trash TV (this season of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” is carrying me through pregnancy insomnia).
Lindsey: Weezie Makeup Towels, La Colombe draft lattes and fresh flowers.
Thank you so much for speaking with us, Liz and Lindsey! We can’t wait to see what Weezie brings our wardrobes and bathrooms in the coming years!
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