The Early Days of Stuff
It was an unusually sunny day in Harrogate back in 2003. Two friends from University who were Scientists by education but inventors by nature, Kenny McAndrew and Dr Graeme Taylor, had taken a stand at a gift fair. Richard North was also at the fair taking a look around, North at first was incredulous that their "sales booth" was simply a tiny plasterers table piled high with towels. The towels were all the same; one half was brown, the other half white. Across the brown section, in large white capital letters read the word ARSE, with the word FACE emblazoned on the white section. The towels while practical were never going to sell in the hundreds of thousands (well that's what North thought at the time).
But so it was that a combination of a towel called ARSE/FACE and a meeting of creative minds led to the trio of North, Taylor and McAndrew becoming the founding members of our company China Industries Ltd that trades today as Wow! Stuff. The company started in gift by gaining some great licences such as Science Museum, Natural History Museum & Mensa, all of which we still sell today! The gift business quickly became stable and safe but what entrepenuer wants to be safe …?
In the first twelve months of trading Wow! Stuff imported novelty gifts and gadgets. Hence Taylor and McAndrew's invention the A/F towel, which went on to sell one million pieces worldwide and featured in various TV shows. At some point it even got adorned floor to ceiling in the Australian Museum of Contemporary Art.
The trio knew they had taste and a flair for innovation, but how could they build on it...