Customer service, continuous development and a hunger for new business are the core values behind successful Irish online gift company WowWee.
The Ennis-based company was set up by Aine Gleeson in 2000, and her business sells everything from personalised gifts for christenings to dolls and Christmas presents. WowWee employs between two and six staff, depending on the time of year, and it sells its products to customers in Ireland, the UK and North America.
Most successful businesses evolve over time. Carlow-based Garrendenny Lane made the transition from interior design firm to online boutique store in just three years.
Owner Lorna Sixsmith set up the company in 2008 and she runs it from her home in Carlow. Originally, the company focused on providing interior design services, selling a range of boutique items on the side. However, the boutique side of the business proved more popular and, after the decline in the economy, Sixsmith decided to develop that side of Garrendenny Lane in more depth. The company now sells soft furnishings, wallpaper, gifts and other home-ware products online.
Clothing boutique Coze Di Roze has made the transition from real-world store to online shop, and picked up 1,700 Facebook fans along the way.
Coze Di Roze is an online boutique for women that sells shoes, handbags and other products. Owner Soraya Quigley established the SME in 2008 as a bricks-and-mortar store in Cabinteely Village, Dublin. In December 2010, she closed down the physical store and moved her business to Facebook. More recently she has launched a revamped online webstore for customers.
The road from the Dragon’s Den to China isn’t necessarily a long one, as start-up software company Seoige Technology found out.
Seoige Technology is an Irish software development firm based in Dunboyne, County Meath. Launched in summer 2010, the company employs five staff and may be best known for an appearance on a certain TV show, as well as its internet game for kids Savvybear.com.
SmartGlass International was established in 2005 by John Browne. The company manufactures two types of products in the main. LC SmartGlass is a type of glass that changes from see-through to opaque at the flick of a switch, while SPD SmartGlass Solar Control responds to variations in solar heat and glare and dims and brightens accordingly.
The SME, which has offices in Tallaght and in London, employs 15 staff. It sells its products in over 44 countries and its customers include hotel chains in the Middle East and hospitals in the UK. The company also has a sales agreement with Schott whereby that firms sells and brands SmartGlass products under its own name. (more…)
Over the past ten years, Flowers Made Easy has made a big transition: from selling flowers out of the front room of a house to a local community in Dublin, to a company operating out of an 8,000 square foot warehouse, selling flowers to customers around the world.
The SME currently employs around 20 staff. The business has been nominated for and won several e-commerce awards, including Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Enterprise Board’s online marketing award in 2008. (more…)
The Cotton Closet is a recently launched online business that sells Fairtrade organic cotton baby and toddler clothes, as well as maternity wear. Owner Marian Given, a mother of three, runs the company from her home in Dublin. She came up with the idea for the business out of disappointment at the lack of innovative or alternative baby clothes for sale in Ireland.
“I wanted to be able to fit [my business] in with my family life, so it made sense for me to be able to do something where I could work from home,” says Given. “We are very used to ‘disposable fashion’, where after a couple of washes the clothes no longer last. I wanted clothes that could be handed down and stand the test of time. There are no pesticides or chemicals used in the organic cotton products [on my site], which is obviously good for babies with sensitive skin and eczema.”
Magee is a fourth-generation clothing company that was established in 1866 in Donegal. Today, the 145-year-old business employs around 120 staff. Alongside the Donegal store, Magee has a shop in Arnotts in Dublin, as well as on Wicklow Street.
The company also has a warehouse in Ballymena in Northern Ireland, where staff handle the distribution of the company’s products. These are traditional clothes with a contemporary feel, which Magee sells primarily to customers aged between 35 and 55.
The Corkscrew is a wine merchant established in 2004 by Colm Douglas and father and son Peter and Paul Foley. The company employs three full-time staff although at various times during the year it takes on additional staff. The SME sells a range of wines to Irish customers via its websiteand bricks-and-mortar store in Dublin city centre.
The company places a big emphasis on customer service and on keeping the costs of its e-commerce offering down. Laurence Veale, who works for the SME on a part-time basis, is The Corkscrew’s head of online operations; he explains who the SME’s typical customer is: “Generally it is someone who drinks wine and likes their food. They don’t necessarily spend too much but they are prepared to spend 12 euro or more on a bottle of wine. They don’t always know what they want to buy, but they know that it is good after tasting it.” (more…)
EmissionZero is an Irish carbon consultancy that was established in 2007 by parent company Ecocem Materials. The SME is based in Dublin and it employs two staff. Its clients include consulting firm Deloitte, The Convention Centre Dublin and the Sycamore nightclub.
The SME has a comprehensive social media marketing strategy that spans Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – something professionally trained scientist and Environmental Services Manager Ciara O’Connor has responsibility for. (more…)