In a world where consumers are constantly barraged with branding, it can be hard for small businesses to stand out. But while most companies are focusing on digital efforts to get their products in the hands of shoppers, Bridget Quinn Stickline of Wee Chic children’s boutique in Lutherville decided to take to the streets—literally.
“I was looking at the landscape of how to communicate with potential customers, and I knew we needed something different,” says Stickline. “As a single-store entity, it’s sometimes difficult to let people know you’re there. We wanted to go back to the roots of advertising and offer something visual, interesting and impactful.”
Enter #weechicwheels, a “rolling billboard” in the form of a herringbone-printed Fiat 500X. The purple, grey and white vehicle debuted in May with the hope of increasing awareness of the brand and its community efforts. It’s driven daily by employee Kelsea Griesser, who says she’s gotten some pretty strange looks while on the road.
“I’ve been seeing a lot of heads turn in the community,” she says. “There have been a few times when I’ve been at a red light and when it turns green, people will stay put to keep staring. But we designed the car to grab people’s attention, so I’m glad to see it’s working!”
When it’s not out and about, the Fiat resides outside of Wee Chic’s home in Green Spring Station. The boutique, which is celebrating its seventh birthday this year, has become a go-to destination for fashion-forward Baltimore moms and their trendsetting tots. Adorable offerings include clothing, accessories, toys and more for newborns through tweens, all catering to Stickline’s “modern classic” aesthetic. (Think: mid-level designer brands like Desigual, Toobydoo, Splendid and the San Francisco-based Tea Collection.)
“We’re so immersed in the children’s market that we’re texting at 10 o’clock at night about what a 13-year-old is wearing in a picture on Instagram,” Stickline says. “Quality is so important to us, but I know that people aren’t going to want to spend $200 on an item that a child is only going to fit into for six months. I want to give people the kind of shopping experience they would have at a high-end store at an attainable price point.”
While the diminutive duds at the store are stunning (yes, your 4-year-old does need a faux fur vest), Wee Chic’s mission is the prettiest part. The brand is all about self-expression—a concept that extends beyond couture and into the community. Their in-house multi-use space, simply called “The Room,” is used for everything from dance classes to photo shoots featuring local kids (who Wee Chic uses in all of its ad work), and the boutique has partnered with women and children’s organizations like Baltimore Child Abuse Center, Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, the Baltimore Hunger Project, ShareBaby, House of Ruth and others.
With #weechicwheels, Stickline and Griesser hope to exponentially expand those philanthropic efforts. While the team will continue to collect and distribute donations to local charities, the new skinned vehicle will also bring literal visibility to the causes. A planned “Fill the Fiat” initiative is in the works, as well as a few other as-yet-unannounced outreach programs up Stickline and Griesser’s stylish sleeves.
In the meantime, you can catch the car at shops around restaurants around town and, of course, on Instagram.
#weechicwheels was designed by Brandon Antol and wrapped by Absolute Perfection in Sykesville, MD.
This article appears in the August 2016 issue of STYLE.