This week, WowWee.ie is celebrating 18 years in business. What a journey we have had over the last 2 decades. Let's look back through the years at some of our highlights as we celebrate this special milestone.
Humble beginnings in 2004, when Áine decided to hand stitch Christmas Stockings for her 3 small children. Her family and friends loved them and so Áine made them some too! It was from here that the business started to grow at a steady rate.
2006 saw the big move online! WowWee.ie was the very first e-commerce website in Co. Clare and also the first company in the county to ship internationally. We can really see just how far we've come by looking at the homepage from this time!
Creativity continued to flourish for Áine as she introduced new gifts. Throughout 2008, she really focused on improving her tools, expanding her knowledge of the world of e-commerce and honing her entrepreneurial skills - all from her at home workshop.
By 2009, the business had grown so much that we moved into our first purpose-built workshop. This allowed Áine to start growing a talented team around her and therefore even more gifts could be fulfilled and dispatched each day.
In 2012 we launched our Dolly Doo Collection of Personalised Rag Dolls. It was from our loyal customers suggestions that we designed and created these cute dollies - including Poppy and Ella-Rose who are still best-sellers to this day. We have introduced other Dolls throughout the years, with our Personalised Communion Rag Dolls and Rag Boys still growing in popularity each year.
By the beginning of 2014, WowWee.ie had over 600 gifts available to order online. We were now recognised as Ireland's leader in Personalised Christmas Stockings and Christmas Tree Decorations rivalling some of the biggest US companies.
We relocated to bigger and better premises in 2015; 5,000 square foot at Westgate Business park where we are still located today. WowWee.ie now employs 6 full-time staff and 4 seasonal staff for the busy Christmas period.
Our Personalised Bridal Robes soared in popularity in 2016. They truly were a must-have for all Brides in Ireland during this time and we were there leading the way to help them get ready in style on their wedding morning. Our hard work paid off when we won 'Best Wedding Accessories' Award at the RSVP Wedding Awards this year.
We were featured on many commercials and TV shows in 2017, including Ireland AM on TV3 - a morning we will never forget as we were inundated with orders after our appearance. By now, we were also sourcing and supplying corporate companies with gifts of recognition and reward for their employees.
2018 was the year that we focused on improving the customer experience and journey on our website. We started working on the live preview that can be seen on our 'Design Your Own Gift' Collection today; literally years in the making and something we are so proud to have as it cannot be found anywhere else on the Irish market.
Following on from this, we launched our new branding and website in 2019. We worked extremely hard on both of these as we really wanted them to reflect who we are and what we do. WowWee.ie won the 'Lean Champion Award', which is all about maximising value and minimising waste. Áine and the team as a whole learned so many invaluable lessons during the Lean Programme and it has evidently added to our success in the last number of years.
In 2020, WowWee.ie was awarded the 'Best Enterprise in Clare' title at the Local Enterprise Awards. A proud day for the business and such an amazing reward for the entire team and Áine after years of hard work and dedication.
2021 saw us honoured with the 'Pivot Award' at The National Enterprise Awards. This was awarded to us for our response to the impact of Covid-19 and how we continued to grow, succeed and 'pivot' our business model during this unprecedented time.
And here we are in 2022 - with an extensive range of over 1,500 gifts being shipped to over 65 countries with love and joy from Ennis, Co. Clare. More than 1.2 million Personalised Christmas Stockings sold meaning that we are a part of so many people's special Christmas tradition - the thought of our creations hanging on fireplaces across the globe makes us so proud, always. With 18 years behind us, our team of 7 talented ladies are filled with excitement, creativity and enthusiasm for what's next and for the future of WowWee.ie