The team at WOW Wipes are incredibly excited to be celebrating our 10 year anniversary! What started as a garage-based startup, has grown into a trusted national brand thanks to the support of our loyal customers. In celebration of our anniversary, we thought we would take a trip down memory lane and share the story of how it all began.
WOW Wipes was launched in 2010 by Sunshine Coast locals Jarred Lawrence and Rob Maclachlan. Both gym owners at the time, the friends recognised a need for high-quality antibacterial wipes.
“Most gyms were just using paper towels and spray bottles. It was pretty clear that wipes were the preferred option, but at the time there was only one supplier in Australia,” Rob said.
“We were paying so much money for these wipes, it never sat well with me. I reached out to a few people in the US and found we could get a better product for a better price.
“We thought ‘let’s just give it a crack’.”
In the beginning, the pair would unload wipes from their containers into Rob’s garage themselves. Once word of the cost-effective and quality wipes spread, the demand for WOW Wipes grew faster than they could have imagined.
“My garage started to get full and it got to a stage where we couldn’t continue to keep up with the demand like this. It was just getting bigger and bigger,” Rob said.
On Saturday, April 12, 2014, Jarred and Rob received a phone call any business owner would dread. The container carrying their much-needed stock was being transported to a holding yard in Brisbane when two trucks collided on Port Dr, Lytton. Unfortunately, both drivers were killed in the crash.
Jarred and Rob lost about $100,000 of stock in the “horrific scene”, but they knew their loss could not compare to that of the drivers’ friends and families.
With no choice but to find a way forward, the pair decided to use the setback as an opportunity to take more control with WOW Wipes’ production. They hopped on the next plane to China almost immediately to view factories and build relationships with manufacturers.
Over the next few years, WOW Wipes ran smoothly with steady growth and loyal customers. It wasn’t until Chinese New Year in 2020 when things took an unexpected turn. COVID hit and all the factories shut down, leaving WOW Wipes without any stock.
While WOW Wipes’ main customer base of Australian gyms were forced to close at the beginning of the pandemic, the brand quickly gained the attention of other industries looking for a cost-effective and now necessary approach.
“Offices, cafes and supermarkets all started showing interest in our wipes,” Rob said.
“What was meant to be four months worth of stock lasted three or four days.”
By the time COVID-19 reached Australia, WOW Wipes was already an established business with a strong foundation. But with more competitors capitalising on hygiene demands that come with the pandemic, Jarred and Rob found themselves navigating a tough industry.
“We started WOW Wipes to help gym owners save money,” Jarred said.
“When other companies were cashing in on COVID by increasing the price of hand sanitiser and face masks, we brought our prices down.
“We want our customers to stick with us long-term, so we’ve kept our prices low ever since.”
Since launching in 2011, WOW Wipes has become a trusted name in the fitness industry and is now supplying to large retail brands and offices. While Jarred and Rob have faced adversities along the way, the friends and business owners’ dedication and commitment to customer service have helped them get to where they are today.
“We’ve given really good service, we take pride in what we do,” Jarred said.
“We’re definitely not the biggest, but I think we’re the best.”
From the team at WOW Wipes, we can’t thank you enough for your support over the last 10 years. We are looking forward to the future of WOW Wipes, and can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.