LOCAL e-cigarette company, Ziggicig has announced it is investing £100,000 to open a new store in Newry, creating three new jobs.
The expansion follows the phenomenal success of the homegrown brand, which was born in 2010 and established as a limited company in 2013. This latest launch brings the number of branches Ziggicig has across Northern Ireland to 16, nine of which are directly owned and managed, alongside seven reseller stores. The brand now employs 32 members of staff and has a further 13 staff through resellers.
Entrepreneur Steven Mealey from Belfast is the driving force behind the business. Managing Director of SM Innovation Ltd, Ziggicig’s parent company, the enterprising young businessman along with his partner Emma Chambers founded the Ziggicig brand with an initial investment of £850, having sold the products in markets and car boot sales before opening the first Ziggicig store in 2011.
Ziggicig was one of the first companies to bring premium quality e-cigarette products to Northern Ireland and has gone from strength to strength since its launch. It now includes retail, wholesale and online operations.
The company has an ambitious growth strategy and is seeking new partners to open reseller stores across GB and the Republic of Ireland. The brand is on course to achieve its vision of opening 30 new stores by 2017, creating over 100 jobs and reaching its turnover target of over£6million.
Commenting on the growth of Ziggicig, managing director, Steven Mealey said: “In 2009 I made the decision to try to quit smoking and ordered an e-cigarette online having heard about its popularity and the success people in America had with them.
“I found the product a lot more effective than other methods but as the concept was relatively new and the products weren’t available in Northern Ireland, I had to order from various sites and manufacturers and found the standard of the products varied greatly.”
After Steven quit smoking tobacco with the aid of the products, friends and colleagues started to show an interest and began asking him to order products on their behalf. He quickly realised there was a gap in the market and began researching and building relationships with suppliers, with a view to setting up a business. Ziggicig was born.
“During this time I realised that the products still needed further tweaking to be as effective as possible for users and that’s when I decided to develop a brand of my own. The timing was right and the business opportunity was too good to miss.
“Our initial investment was £850 and the company has grown organically since then however like most young companies we’ve had some tough learning curves to get to the position we are now in.
“Today we are delighted to announce this latest investment, with the opening of our new Ziggicig store in Newry and, looking to the future, we have ambitious plans to grow the company even further across Northern Ireland, GB and the Republic of Ireland. Strengthening and supporting our fantastic team, product development and finding the right external partners to open stores is our current strategy.”
Reports such as the most recent Public Health England review, which stated that using e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than smoking and could be prescribed on the NHS to help people quit, have helped grow the market.
Steven said: “Ziggicig is committed to continuing to invest in research and development to bring the best products and service to our customers. As a company, we’ve always put an emphasis on the people we employ and partner with to ensure we are giving our customers the best service.
For further information, visit www.ziggicig.com