Tell us about Bliss Bracelets
Bliss Bracelets LLC is the company behind Blisslets, the only acupressure bracelets that are also stylish accessories. Acupressure bands have been around for decades, but until recently, the only options available were conspicuous plastic or sweatband-style devices. I started dreaming up Blisslets after using the sweatband-style products during my first pregnancy. I had terrible morning sickness, and I found that acupressure made the difference between being debilitated with nausea and being able to function in work and life. However, during my first trimester, I had to hide them under a suit coat (in the scorching summer!) because I wasn't yet ready to share the news of my pregnancy with my co-workers. One day, however, a male colleague spotted them, and called out for the whole office to hear, "Hey, I didn't know you were pregnant!" I knew then that there had to be a better way.
Fast forward several years, and I gathered a team around me to found a family-centered business that is certified both as a women-owned and minority-owned enterprise. Today, Blisslets are well loved not only by other expecting moms, but also by travelers prone to motion sickness, those who suffer from chronic conditions like vertigo, migraine, and IBS, and those undergoing nausea-causing treatments like chemotherapy. Not only do Blisslets provide drug-free relief from nausea, but when you're confident in how you look, that helps you feel better, too.
Blisslets are available both through our ecommerce platform, Blisslets.com, and in wholesale channels that include outlets like the nationwide boating chain West Marine, Disney Cruise Line, and many independent retailers. At the same time, we know there is still a huge segment of the potential market that doesn't know about Blisslets. Our goal is for Blisslets to be available everywhere nausea products are sold, so that no one has to choose between finding the natural nausea relief they need, and looking their healthy best.
How has WBE certification benefited your business?
Since receiving certification in February of this year, our WBE status and WBCS membership have allowed our company to access very promising sales opportunities, educational programming, and women-owned B2B services. This has included buyer meetings through supplier diversity programs run by CVS and Southeastern Grocers, participation in an accelerator competition run by the marketing firm MPG and ECRM (where we were chosen as one of 12 finalists out of 600+ applicants), and access to valuable training opportunities such as the Women Owned in Retail program with Target Corporation. We have also benefited from the member directory, through which we were able to connect with the owner of another local WBE, Lakeesha Browne, who will serve as our new CPA beginning in September.
What do you intend to use the Lillie Knox Funds for?
Having established a strong ecommerce base through blisslets.com and begun developing our wholesale arm with partners like West Marine and Disney Cruise Line, the time is right to enter an important market we have not yet tapped: Amazon.com. Given our competitors' presence on this platform and the large number of customers on it already shopping for acupressure wristbands, we are convinced Blisslets could achieve significant growth by opening up this new sales channel. However, participating successfully in this competitive market requires developing a variety of assets to support our product pages and ads, not to mention significant labor hours and unique expertise.
After three years of solid growth in direct-to-consumer sales through blisslets.com, with revenues increasing 77% YOY between 2019 and 2021, we are hitting a plateau this year in that side of our business. While we are marketing effectively through search engines and social media, the fact is that a significant portion of customers for products like ours go directly to Amazon when considering a purchase.