Interview With Rosie Shelley From BAEBOX

Rosie Shelley is the brains, heart and soul behind BAEBOX, the monthly subscription box aimed at empowering tweens and teens. We recently reviewed the March Tween and Teen BAEBOX, so head on over and check it out to see what goodies you can expect to find in them.

But we always like to delve a bit deeper behind a brand, find out what makes them tick, what motivates them and why they do what they do. So grab a cuppa, sit back and read all about it!

Where did the idea for BAEBOX come from?

“The idea for a subscription box came about a few years ago, mainly because I love the idea of getting surprise gifts through the post. I subscribed to a few of the beauty boxes and loved the idea of having my own. I was working for a large tech company at the time, in their marketing department, but my contract came to an end. I’ve always been passionate about entrepreneurship and women in business, so decided to make the leap. Owning my own business was something I’ve always felt compelled to do, and I love the idea of having more control over my future and my career.

When BAEBOX launched last year, it was initially just for girls, but we’ve just launched one for boys too. The boxes all include positive and motivating messages to help this age group navigate the pre-teen and teen years, which can be difficult. That’s the important part and the bit I’m really passionate about. That’s what has me working early mornings and late nights, because I want to make a difference and have a positive impact in some way.

Growing up can be a very difficult time for many, especially in the digital age when kids are rarely away from screens and are bombarded with more messages than ever before to look a certain way, behave a certain way and look ‘perfect’ to fit in. It can leave so many children feeling inadequate and depressed and feeling the need to alter their appearance to look like airbrushed images that aren’t actually real.

I felt that pressure growing up in the 80s and 90s and lost many years feeling the health effects of being underweight. It’s not a route I want to see any child go down. It’s a dark place to be. So, if positive, motivating messages and a box of surprises in the post that show them they are loved, make a small difference to the life of just one child, I’ve achieved what I set out to do.”

Why the name BAEBOX?

“A friend of mine, Natalie, came up with the name. I wanted something short and distinctive and ended up going round and round in circles for weeks until Natalie made the suggestion. BAE can mean friend or loved one, but also ‘Before Anyone Else’, so my teenage daughter tells me!”

Who is BAEBOX aimed at?

“There are two boxes for girls – one is aimed at girls aged 8 – 12 years and the other at 13 – 15. The age ranges are a rough guide really. Some 11 years old might prefer a box aimed at teens, and some 7 years old might be totally happy with a tween box. In fact, we send out many boxes to girls as young as six. It’s really for the parents to make a decision, as they know their child best.

The boys box, BAEBOX BOYS, is brand new and just aimed at 8 – 12 year olds at the moment. That might change, but it will be our customers who let me know. If there’s enough demand for an older box, we’ll do what we can to accommodate that.”

The design of your boxes is very vibrant and colourful, how did you come up with this ‘look’?

“The branding was created by Chloe at Design by Smith, who is absolutely fabulous. I’ve used her several times for various design projects I’ve worked on. I gave her a brief and she came up with the rest. For the branding, I wanted something fun and colourful, which reflects the brand but also something bold to reflect confidence and strength. The design is a piece of artwork rather than a repetitive pattern, to reflect that we are all different, we’re not uniform. It’s fun and quirky and no section repeats itself, because there is no ‘perfect’ or right way to be. The logo is a simple B with the tag line underneath, which reads ‘Awesome as you are.’ I might use the B more going forward and incorporate it into artwork that says ‘Be Yourself, Be Kind, Be Brave’. There are a lot of possible combinations.”

How do you decide what goes in each box?

“It can be challenging at times, particularly for the teen box, because I want to get the balance right. Finding the products is the fun part – I’m working with lots of great brands – the challenge comes in creating a mix that both teenagers and parents like but that isn’t too heavily focused on beauty. Plus there is a huge variety in the likes of teenagers. Some aren’t interested in beauty at all. I’m trying to create a mix that appeals to as many people as possible and that’s as inclusive as possible.

The tween box is a lot easier. I do spend a lot of time looking at all the different products out there. Each month’s box needs to be different and I need to retain the surprise element, but I can’t say looking at lovely products online is a hardship! Packing up all the boxes before they go out is the most challenging part.”

What feedback have you had?

“The feedback has been great – really positive. The best feedback has been when parents get in touch with an example of how the messages in the boxes have helped their child feel more confident, and as a result they’ve done something they wouldn’t attempt before – like taking part in a school play. That’s always amazing to hear. I’m sure it’s not all down to the boxes, but it’s wonderful that they played a small part. I’ve had feedback from the children receiving them too, full of thanks and saying how happy the boxes have made them. That is always wonderful.”

Where do you see the future of BAEBOX?

“I’d like the company to continue to grow and to collaborate more with brands who are also out there trying to make a difference in the world. I’ll let our customers lead the way in shaping the brand and the offering. They’ve been great so far in saying what they want – first it was a teen box, then a box for boys. I’d like to ship it around the world to spread the positive messages far and wide, and also set up a fund for those who need to receive the messages, but can’t afford to buy the boxes. Ultimately I’d like to generate enough profits to build a school in Africa. I visited the area a few years ago with UNICEF and it has made a lasting impact on my life.”

If you could give any advice to your 13-year-old self what would it be?

“Know that you’re okay, that life can be challenging at times, there are lots of ups and downs, but you’ll get through it. Share your feelings when you don’t feel great and above all else be kind to yourself. You’re special and loved. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Who were your female role models growing up? And are there any celebrities today that you think promote a positive image for young girls?

“It was the pre-internet days at the height of the supermodel era, so my role models were Kate Moss and Jodie Kidd, but sadly not for the right reasons. I’ll be honest, I wanted to be thin like them. I think the internet now gives girls access to a wider range of potential role models. Michelle Obama comes to mind. I love the empowering messages she has given to girls over the years telling them you can be anything you want to be.”

What’s the best thing you’re ever received in the post?

“Flowers from my mum on my very first Mother’s Day, because they told me I was doing OK.”

If you could have had a box like this when you were a young teen, what would have been in it and why? 

“Oh wow. I was a teen in the eighties, so it would have to have had florescent ankle socks that didn’t match – the ones you wear with skinny jeans. Lots of stationery, especially novelty rubbers and pencils. I collected them back then, plus little plastic trinkets that I hung on a plastic basket. That sounds very uncool now! Scratch and sniff stickers were hugely popular back then, plus anything to do with Duran Duran. I was slightly crazy about them. Plus of course some little words of encouragement because I needed it back then.”

And finally, why are YOU awesome?

“Hmmm. That’s a difficult one. We’re all awesome. We’re all juggling the demands of life, motherhood and work, and often dropping the balls, but we’re giving it our best shot.

I asked my 13-year-old daughter if she thought I was awesome… she said I’d be awesome if I bought her a PS4.

Welcome to my world!”

Read our review of the March Tween and Teen BAEBOX subscription boxes!

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