If you'd like to learn more about why Webawaba are different from other agencies, this interview with Webawaba's Founder, Peter Bowdler, provides a great insight.
Man About Dorset: As you now run digital marketing agency, Webawaba, can you recall when you first become aware of the world wide web?
Peter: It was in 1997. My first son, Archie, had just been born. I was managing a successful retail store and decided it was time to take life a little more seriously. I set up an ecommerce and mail order business company called Boys Stuff – The One Stop Shop For Big Boys Toys. I knew that to make life changing money, you had to ride the next business movement such as mobile phones or, as in my case, ecommerce.
The business grew quickly. From the first adverts in Loaded and FHM, Boys Stuff exploded in popularity, resulting in millions of unique users visiting the website each month and growing sales. I sold 11% to VC’s to fund growth and went into partnership with FHM. Realising greater margins lay in producing Boys Stuff own branded products, I utilised my design degree and travelled the world scouring shows for companies that could manufacture the next big thing such as the first emergency mobile phone charger. On the back of the design department, Wowstuff was born, the B2b arm of the group that supplied big boys toys to the high street and developed toy ranges for clients such as the Science Museum. By 2001, the Boys Stuff Group was worth £65 million so we geared up for a floatation on AIM. Unfortunately, due to the Dotcom crash, the floatation never happened.
Man About Dorset: Do you still own the Group?
Peter: No. My second son, Charlie, was born in 2002 so I decided to sell up and move to sunny Poole; a stark contrast to Wolverhampton.
Man About Dorset: You obviously have an entrepreneurial spirit. What did you do next?
Peter: I invented a unique pharmaceutical packaging product, that after intensive development of the design and IPR with a blue chip brand was valued at over £250million. Unfortunately, after 12 months, the CEO decided to change the company’s direction and the project was shelved.
Man About Dorset: What did you learn from these projects and how do you apply them to your new business, Webawaba?
Peter: I’ve learned to monetarise relationships earlier, not to be greedy and always leave enough meat on the bones for everyone. Regarding Webawaba; I like to think the service we offer is unlike other design agencies. It is purposefully small and boutique so we can move quickly – a necessary attribute when working with entrepreneurs. Not only do we create great branding and brilliant websites, we also apply our wealth of business experience to mentoring clients. We particularly like the start-up phase of a business’s journey, the creation of business plans, raising seed finance and the subsequent growth. We have just taken a stake in a new clothing brand, embarking on the development of a new range of food products and taken a stake in a new fashion brand incubator. We believe the principle of sales and marketing never really changes only the mechanism to deliver the proposition does.