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Willie Wags store lands in Downtown Bangor

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Willie Wags store lands in Downtown Bangor (edge photo by Matthew Cunha)

BANGOR - “When I started this a year and a half ago, the subscription box was not really what I truly wanted to do. It was more of a means to be able to do it without having to dive into retail and without having to take out a large business loan,” said Willie Wags owner Jamie Clark. 

Previously, Willie Wags was a monthly subscription box service then sent out items from other women owned small businesses. Now, a retail location sits at the corner of Harlow and Center Streets in Downtown Bangor.

Willie Wags already had an online presence before the opening of the retail store on May 20. Clark started Willie Wags out of her basement with no overhead.

The new retail location provides Willie Wags with space and room for order fulfilment for more women-owned small business products, said Clark.

“When I was looking for space, it happened really quickly, we were featured on the Elvis Duran show in December in New York City, it is a nationally syndicated radio show, it was completely unexpected and the traffic crashed our site,” said Clark. “I knew I wanted to do some sort of retail footage eventually, I just did not think it would happen this quickly.”

The new location features different products that are either too expensive or do not fit the boxes said Clark. Old box products can also be found in the store.

Despite doing little marketing and advertising, the response for the new retail store has been great said Clark. “All we did was social media marketing and put up blue balloons [outside the store]. I was not fully expecting the response we have had,” said Clark.

Clark hope that Willie Wags is a quick way to be able to support female-owned small business. “The entire time I was doing this my vision had been this was more of a movement and not necessarily just a retail shop or a subscription box.”

Looking ahead to the short term, Willie Wags will be adding more interactivity to the retail store.

“Over the next week, we will be having additional stories so people will be able to come in and the store will  be even more interactive then previously,” said Clark.

One way of adding that interactivity will be the addition of TV screens with videos of the stories of the people whose products are in the store said Clark. Writeups of the women who own the small business will also be included.

Clark and her sidekick Ashleigh in Massachusetts hope to expand in the future. “Our goal is to have a small business focus in larger markets such as Boston and New York,” said Clark. “I think that is where hopefully this will go.”

The ultimate goal, though, is to create a movement, according to Clark.

“We are really trying to bring attention and awareness to intentionally making purchases and supporting female entrepreneurs and small business owners,” she said.

Willie Wags is located at 78 Harlow Street in Downtown Bangor. The retail location is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Box subscriptions can be made online at thewilliewags.com under the subscribe tab. Their online store can also be found on their website.

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