Ziggicig: Big vision for 2017
With the wheels of growth already in motion, Steven Mealey, managing director of SM Innovation, talks about his big plans for the Ziggicig brand and the vision for 2017.
Describe your role:
The main bulk of my role revolves around the Ziggicig brand which specialises in the manufacturing, distribution and retail of electronic cigarettes. I founded the Limited company in 2011 with my partner Emma and we’ve just recently invested £100,000 to open a new store in Newry, bringing the number of branches we have in Northern Ireland to 16.
I have a strong passion for business and entrepreneurship. Each day I work towards finding gaps in the marketplace and product development in order to bring new and improved products to the market. I also work alongside other businesses to build a strong foundation and infrastructure for company growth.
What is the best part of your job?
Having the opportunity to create jobs and build a strong team along with being surrounded by people that share the vision of the company.
It’s so important to find good people, both partners and employees, who have the skills needed to handle rapid growth and manage and develop products. I thrive on the ability to create opportunities for staff and partners so they can grow in their careers and build on personal development.
What aspect of your job do you find the most challenging?
We’ve seen a phenomenal growth of the Ziggicig brand over the short number of years. With this rapid expansion, at times, it can be difficult to manage operational issues within the business.
We started off selling products in car boot sales and we’ve been lucky to be able to grow organically however like most young companies we have had some tough learning curves to get to the position we are now in.
What are the key issues facing your sector at the moment?
Legislation is the biggest issue for the industry. All of Ziggicig’s e-liquids are tested and produced in high end laboratories however product testing isn’t mandatory and there are smaller vendors producing their own e-liquid with no lab experience or testing. I would encourage consumers to become more aware of what to look out for when purchasing products to ensure they are genuine.
How is your organisation responding to these issues?
Communicating with key associations regarding legislations and producing accurate data as to how the industry is improving smoker’s lives and also partnering with the right distributors and manufacturers who are preparing for the legislations and regulations.
What is the biggest goal on your agenda for the year ahead?
Ziggicig has an ambitious growth strategy and is seeking new partners to open more stores across GB and the Republic of Ireland. We’re on course to achieve the vision of opening 30 new stores by 2017, creating over 100 jobs and reaching a turnover target of over £6million. I also want to partner with a web development company to drive our online presence.
If you had to give one piece of business advice, what would it be?
Invest in yourself and learn from your mistakes, only work with people who share your vision and culture and focus on your customer. I’ve always liked the quote – “While profits are a business’ lifeblood, having a greater purpose gives it soul”
What work experience and qualifications helped you to get to your position?
I believe most of my development came from studying my influencers, reading their books, listening to podcasts and watching lectures. I owe a lot to the internet. Access to information has been the most important tool in my development. Having a strong vision and the right mindset are qualities that drive me forward in business. I’m inspired by other entrepreneurs and learn and adapt each day in business.
Being an entrepreneur is a mindset, you can’t get a degree in that. I am only starting out with this journey but I believe there are opportunities and creative solutions to every problem and I hope to inspire people along the way.