Powerful Purpose

August 2018 View more

Empowering women has been a hot topic in 2018, but for a pair of Naperville moms it’s been part of their business strategy since the inception of their company more than a year ago. After a thought-provoking conversation, Stephanie Szewczyk and Kristen Hutchinson launched STRONG self(ie)—a seasonal subscription box that inspires girls to become their strongest selves.

How did STRONG self(ie) get started?

KH Stephanie and I were talking about how we didn’t feel like our strongest selves until we were in our mid-thirties. Since we both have young daughters, we wanted to help them—and other girls—feel confident and strong at an earlier age. So we came up with a subscription box service offering trendy, fun gifts that are also empowering.

How do you select what goes in each box?

SS We identified four different categories as self(ie) strengths: health(ie), smart(ie), beaut(ie) and funn(ie). The “ie” at the end stands for “I’m enough.” We put four to six items in each box that relate back to those four building blocks. Our boxes are also based on age: the Bloom box is for girls 8 to 12 and for girls 13 to 17 we have a Burst box.

KH The products have to be something girls will love, that also convey a positive message. We also like to include things the girls are going to need for that season. Each box’s value totals over $100.

How does the subscription service work?

SS Boxes are sent out seasonally, in March, June, September and December. We do a subscription because we want parents to use the box as a tool to check in with their daughters regularly on how they are feeling about their self(ie) strengths.

KH I love this schedule from a mom’s perspective, because it hits those major milestones girls go through during the year: back to school, winter holidays, spring and summer.

It sounds like you’re providing more than just trendy items; you’re encouraging moms and daughtersto connect.

SS Exactly. Because we want the experience to go beyond opening the box, we include suggestions for using the products. We include a note for parents describing the enclosed items, what category they fall into and suggested conversations and activities. For example, in a previous box we encouraged taking the water bottle and going for a walk together. So many revealing conversations can happen on a walk. In the girls’ note, we let them know about the products and how they can to use them to strike their strong self(ie). We also include kindness cards with fun, positive messages that they can hand out to friends, or put on their mirror, to remind them that they are awesome just the way they are.

You’ve branched into hosting mother/daughter events. How did that come about?

SS It just naturally happened. Parents were sending us fun videos of the girls opening their boxes, and we thought it would be cool to take this a step further and offer something for them to do together outside of the boxes.

KH After holding one event, we discovered a lot of moms were looking for opportunities to connect with their daughters. Because if this, we have a number of things planned for the fall. Girls can also find tips on how to strike their strong self(ie) all month long on our website. Our goal is to empower girls, because when they feel strong and confident in who they are, they can do amazing things.

STRONG self(ie) boxes are $59.95 each for subscribers, with a limited number available for one-time purchasers. For more information, visit strongselfie.com.