It's little bits of Sheboygan, peppered with comedy, wrapped up in a box and sent in the mail. Simply stated, that is what Bäux (pronounced box) is all about.
Each Bäux package is a specially crafted creation that contains some of the best products that are made in and throughout Sheboygan County. And, being a business that is designed by marketers, the package and delivery make the greatest impact.
"It's a box of wow," said Paula Kletzien, owner of Bäux. "The feedback we are getting is that they just love it."
Bäux, an e-commerce company that opened its virtual doors on Dec. 4, utilizes custom-created e-fluted boxes that have whimsical humor tucked throughout the entire package.
The fun begins with the outside of the shipping box, which is hand-stamped with creative expressions such as, "It Appears Someone Likes You Best," "Please Handle with Care: WE DID" and "Preferred Stuff for Preferred People."
Every package comes with a postcard-sized announcement card saying "Your satisfaction is our Goal. If you are not completely enthralled with the contents of this package please note that it was inspected and approved by someone else. In the interest of full disclosure, we had misgivings about hiring her in the first place…"— and goes on from there.
"One of Bäux's missions is that a smile is the greatest gift to give someone, so our boxes are tweaked with a lot of humor," Kletzien said. Last year she found the collaborative and creative environment of Jake's Café in Sheboygan a perfect place to birth Bäux and is where she teamed up with Huber Creative, LLC and SME Partners, LLC.
Kletzien originally came up with the idea of mailing Sheboygan goodness more than a decade ago when she was shipping a package to someone in Germany.
"It made me think, what does Sheboygan have that people want," she said.
It turns out, there's a lot.
Bäux launched with 12 product partners and continues to add more, including Gibbsville Cheese, Drewry Farms Maple Syrup, Bertram's Jams, Jellies and More, Miesfeld's Meats, Old Wisconsin Sausage, Saxon Creamery Cheese, Palo Popcorn, Vida Coffee, Legend Larry's, Lehmann Photo Art, Andean Chocolate Co., Olivü, Victorian Chocolate Shoppe, Wigwam and Sartori.
Sheri Guetschow of Florida received a package last month.
"I love the Bäux box. As a matter of fact, I took pictures of it and I can't bring myself to throw it away," said Guetschow, who has lived away from Sheboygan since 1988. "When I go home, along with my list of family and friends to visit, is my list of places to go and things to eat. The Bäux brought some of those things right to my kitchen table."
"We are curators," explained Alexandra Guevara who serves as Bäux social media/marketing representative. "There is a standard of quality that we look for, not just that people already like the product, but also that they make us a better community,"
Currently Bäux offers 12 varieties of packages ranging from $24.95 to $99.95, in addition to a Bäux of the Month gift subscription and a concierge service for businesses who want custom-filled packages. This spring, the company will offer a "build a box" feature.
Kletzien, a member of the Werner family who owned "The Sheboygan Press" for nearly three-quarters of a century, appreciates the history found in archived newspapers and uses reproductions of those pages as the tissue paper in the boxes.
"The Sheboygan Press news printed packing papers were absolutely fabulous," said Guetschow. "I saved the papers and actually read them — what fun."
With a newly licensed tagline of "Join the Givolution," the company takes local giving seriously. They support buying local from companies who are good stewards of the community. To put their money where their mouth is, 3 percent of all Bäux proceeds are donated to the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center for the preservation of local history.
"We want people to take shopping local more seriously," Kletzien said. The interest has been so keen that there is talk of Bäux opening a retail store by the end of 2015, she said.
Brian Free of West Shore Industries in Sheboygan had 24 boxes shipped out in December as gifts and was pleased with the feedback.
"All from around the country loved the selection of unique Sheboygan products and many commented as to the clever packaging utilizing nostalgic Sheboygan newsprint for wrapping purposes," he said.
"It's an experience just to open the box," Guevera assured
Allison Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.