Treasure Bäux

Online business showcases products of Sheboygan County
by Jeff Pederson of The Review staff


PAULA KLETZIEN of Sheboygan has introduced a new online e-commerce business called Bäux, which specializes in gift boxes featuring food, drinks and products produced exclusively in Sheboygan County. — Submitted photo PAULA KLETZIEN of Sheboygan has introduced a new online e-commerce business called Bäux, which specializes in gift boxes featuring food, drinks and products produced exclusively in Sheboygan County. — Submitted photo Although it’s all about what’s in the box, Bäux owner Paula Kletzien has ventured pretty far outside the box for her new online business.

Kletzien’s new e-commerce business, Bäux, features gift boxes showcasing all things Sheboygan County including locally produced food, drink and specialty products.

The business endeavor has been 15 years in the making for Kletzien, who most recently served as the Meals on Wheels of Sheboygan County communications director, a position she held for 11 years.

“I first thought of this idea in 2000 when my son Jake was involved in the People to People exchange program,” Kletzien said. “We hosted a student from Esslingen, Germany, who brought over German umbrellas as a gift.

“When it came time for Jake to go to Germany as part of the exchange program, I was trying to think what he could bring to Germany as gift that represented our local Sheboygan County area,” she said. “I came up with Wigwam socks and soon after that, I started to make a list of Sheboygan County produced products that would make for good gifts for someone out of the area. I thought at the time that it was a good idea for a business. However, this was before e-commerce, so I kind of put the idea on the shelf at that time.”

As the years passed, Kletzien would revisit the idea from time to time and became more intrigued with the emergence of e-commerce online businesses in recent years.

“I got to thinking about it again pretty seriously in 2013 when seeking ideas about what to send as local gifts to family and friends in other locations,” Kletzien said. “When I thought about how many great products are actually made here in the area, I finally came to realization that we could do this in Sheboygan County and it could be a success.”

Not content with just doing what everyone else was already doing, Kletzien sought out a different way to present the locally produced gift boxes.

“I didn’t just want it to be like every other e-commerce site or gift box business,” she said. “It needed to be fun, playful and unique, so I went to a graphic designer I knew, Blaine Huber of Huber Creative, who helped me map out some creative packaging that would play on Sheboygan’s German heritage, that is where the Bäux name and concept came into being,” Kletzien said.

“I also joined forces with Marcos and Alexandra Guevara and Alex Torres of SME Partners, who helped me with a lot of the business and e-commerce website stuff,” she said. “We are all partners in the business and work well as a team to create the product that we have today.”

As the idea grew, Kletzien began working on a plan to grow the Bäux concept into other communities once the Sheboygan County brand was established.

“I believed we could work hand in hand with our Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce to promote the county in a cool way and as businesses started to get on board with the idea, I started to think this could grow into other communities in other parts of the state and country as well,” Kletzien said. “That is our ultimate goal, once we get on our feet here.”

After rolling out a soft sell introduction last December, Bäux was officially launched to the general public on March 3.

So far, Kletzien has been careful to keep the business at a manageable level in its infancy.

“We have been growing little by little and have tried to stay on the course that we planned at the start,” Kletzien said. “We have slowly added some new boxes and vendors and getting things into place. We are still pretty new, so we are still in the building stage.

Bäux has enlisted 18 Sheboygan County food, drink and product vendors to date, with several more on the way in the near future.

The current vendor list includes Wigwam; Sartori Cheese; Gibbsville

Cheese; Saxon Creamery Cheese; Old Wisconsin Sausage; Miesfeld’s

Meats; Kohler Chocolates; Victorian Chocolate Shoppe; Olivü; Palo

Popcorn; Drewry Farms

Maple Syrup; Jams, Jellies & More; Legend

Larry’s; Vida Coffee and

Lehmann Photography

Blind Horse wine and

3 Sheep’s beer is also available for local delivery only.

Bäux presently features an assortment of 20 themed boxes, including the following original 12 packages.

Experiment #247-B (Gibbsville ranch cheese curds, Miesfeld’s summer sausage, Palo white cheddar popcorn, Tree-Ta chocolate bar), A Distinctly Peculiar Pleasure (Saxon Snowfields cheese, Old Wisconsin sausage, Palo caramel corn), Tree-Ta chocolate bar), Irresistible Somethings (Drewry Farms maple syrup, Miesfeld’s summer sausage, Palo cheddar caramel popcorn, Vida coffee), Circus in a Box (Jams, Jellies and More cherry salsa, Old Wisconsin cheese popcorn, Palo cheddar cheese popcorn, Gibbsville cheese whips, Tree-Ta chocolate bar), J. Gunther Peabody’s Magnificent Obsession (Gibbsville cheese curds, Miesfeld’s summer sausage, Palo caramel corn, Palo white cheddar popcorn, Jams, Jellies and More summer berry jam, Tree-Ta chocolate bar), Euphoria For Ya (Saxon Big Ed’s gouda cheese, Jams, Jellies and More cherry salsa, Miesfeld’s summer sausage, Drewry Farms maple syrup, Palo cheddar cheese popcorn), Treasure Trove (Vida coffee, Drewry Farms maple syrup, Miesfeld’s bacon, Jams, Jellies and More pepper jelly, Saxon Snowfeld’s Snowfeld’s cheese), Grandma’s Secret Stash (Gibbsville ranch cheese curds, Gibbsville garlic dill cheese curds, Jams, Jellies and More cherry salsa, Old Wisconsin sausage bites, Palo cheddar caramel popcorn, Tree-Ta chocolate bar, two Palo cheddar cheese popcorn), Seven Deadly Sins (Miesfeld’s summer sausage, Miesfeld’s bacon, Old Wisconsin turkey sticks, Old Wisconsin Braunschweiger, Gibbsville cheese curds, Gibbsville cheese whips, Saxon Big Ed’s gouda cheese), Keepsakes for Cripesakes (Drewry Farms maple syrup, Jams, Jellies and More summer berry jam, Lake Michigan photo book, Gibbsville cheese curds, Old Wisconsin sausage bites, Saxon pastures cheese, Palo caramel corn), Wax Lips and Kite String (Saxon Big Ed’s gouda cheese, Palo caramel corn, Vida coffee, Drewry Farms maple syrup, Old Wisconsin turkey sticks, Saxon snowfish cheese, Jams, Jellies and More cherry salsa, Miesfield’s summer sausage, Palo white cheddar popcorn), We Purtnear Hadta Use A Shoe Horn (Palo caramel corn, two Vida coffee, Saxon pastures cheese, Sheboygan note cards, Miesfeld’s summer sausage, Old Wisconsin turkey sticks, Gibbsville cheese whips, Jams, Jellies and More pepper jelly, Drewry Farms maple syrup, two Tree-Ta chocolate bars, Gibbsville ranch cheese curds, Gibbsville garlic dill cheese curds, Jams, Jellies and More cherry salsa).

A box of the month option is also available for those wishing to sample a different package on a regular basis through three-month, sixmonth or 12-month subscriptions.

“We started with 12 different packages with a different theme for each and now we have expanded to 20,” Kletzien said. “We play with humor and nostalgia to give each package a fun personality and flair.

“Our goal is to make each package about more than just the product,” she said. “Huber Creative has done a great job of putting together the names, themes and verbiage for each package.”

In addition to the assorted themed gift boxes, Bäux recently debuted a build-a-box option on its website.

“Since we started doing this, we’ve gotten feedback from people asking to choose their own packages,” Kletzien said. “We spent quite a bit of time thinking about how to do that and now we are ready to go ahead with it and I think it is going to be a popular option for our customers.

“The build-a-box will also give us some feedback on what items are the most popular,” she said. “We can in turn use that data to better suit our customers.”

Kletzien, a Sheboygan native, says customers have a variety of reasons for sending gift boxes.

“The No. 1 reason people order our gift boxes is for thank yous,” Kletzien said. “The second is for birthdays and now we are into our first corporate Christmas season, which we are excited about.”

Kletzien is looking forward to adding more Sheboygan area companies to the fold in 2016.

“After we get through the holidays, we will be working on adding some additional companies and items to our list of offerings,” Kletzien said. “The possibilities for this are endless.

“One of the most interesting parts of doing this has been finding out how many people aren’t aware of all of the products made right here in Sheboygan County,” she said. “We really have so many great companies in Sheboygan County that make outstanding products. We want people to know this.”

After experiencing mainly regional sales in the first several months in business, Kletzien has seen the reach of Bäux expand significantly.

“I would say the majority of our sales come from Wisconsin and Illinois, but we have been seeing more sales from other states, such as Florida, South Carolina and Washington state,” Kletzien said. “We currently ship to every state in the continental United States, but we don’t yet deliver to Alaska or Hawaii.

“We also don’t yet deliver to foreign countries, but that is not out of the question at some point in the future,” she said.

For those that are not in tune with e-commerce shopping, a limited selection of Bäux gift boxes are available at the Shipping Mill in Sheboygan.

“We experimented with retail, but we found our brand was too young to do that properly,” Kletzien said. “We do, however, have two of our boxes available for purchase in person at the Shipping Mill, which provides an option for people that are not computer savvy or not as much in tune with e-commerce sites.”

In keeping with the emphasis on nostalgia and the history of Sheboygan County, Bäux donates three percent of all its profits to the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center in Sheboygan Falls to assist with the preservation of local historical documents.

“History is a big part of what we do with our packaging,” Kletzien said. “We use a lot of old photos from the Sheboygan Country Historical Research Center on our social media platforms and I think it is vital that we support the preservation of local history in any way we can.”

Gift boxes can be ordered online at www.giftbaux.com or via e-mail at pk@giftbaux.com

In addition, orders can be placed by phone at 920-395-8355 during normal business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Bäux is also on Facebook and Pinterest.

“It is exciting to be involved in this,” Kletzien said. “I have never owned my own business before and could not have done it without my partners, Blaine, Marcos, Alexandra and Alex.

“I am so pleased that the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “The pride of home has been shining through, which is such a great thing for Sheboygan County. I’m proud to have the opportunity to be part of that.”


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