By Claire Reilly
Following the collapse of the Queensland-based retailer WOW Sight & Sound earlier in the year, Current.com.au can now reveal that the brand has been bought and will be relaunched as a pure play online e-commerce site at the start of next month.
While WOW Sight & Sound went into receivership in February, the brand name was purchased in May by G&M Direct to U Pty Ltd, a company established by local Queensland residents Sharon and Darryl Williams.
Sharon and Darryl Williams also have business interests in the distribution of a dietary supplement product known as Mannatech. According to the Williams' LinkedIn profile, the couple hold the rank of "Bronze Presidential" in this company structure.
Speaking exclusively to Current.com.au about the take-over of the brand, Sharon Williams, company secretary and company spokesperson for G&M Direct to U, said WOW was a well-known name in Queensland and the new site would serve the former retailer’s loyal customers.
“We want to be able to look after the loyal customers of WOW Sight & Sound, because they have been a very loyal following,” said Sharon Williams. “That’s why we wanted to actually get it up and running as soon as we could. Because they did and do have a very loyal following. And we have had a lot of interest in our placement page that is there letting them know that the site will be launching."
While she was not involved in the previous WOW business before it went under, Williams said she was a repeat customer over the years and saw an opportunity to capitalise on a popular brand. However, she denied that it was a risky proposition to take over part of a company that had experienced such a well-publicised collapse.
“Obviously that is something that we did think about,” she said. “But it was the bricks and mortar stores that went into administration.
"They didn’t do anything wrong by anybody. They were a very, very good company, and that’s just something that happens in that bricks and mortar. So no, we don’t see that as a negative.
“There’s a huge growth in online business, a huge growth. A lot of people are very loyal, and we want to serve and look after the WOW Sight & Sound customers and be able to provide them with a secure online store that they can buy products from and have delivered directly to their home and office.”
In the early stages, the site will be run by a small team (with no staff from the previous incarnation of WOW set to come over) and will offer a range of “approximately 20,000” products, according to Williams.
“Because of the time frame in us taking it over and being able to launch, initially the site will offer games and movies. Things like video games, movies, TV shows, consoles, DVDs and Blu-rays, which is obviously a huge market. And then in the very near future we will be unrolling consumer electronics.”
According to Sharon Williams, both she and Darryl Williams have the necessary credentials to successfully run the new venture, saying “we have business experience, we also have retail experience, sales and marketing and online marketing”.
A publicly-listed company, Mannatech sells “glyconutrient products” that “help maintain optimal health at the cellular level, thus improving your quality of life”, and associates of the company are offered discounted product prices in order to on-sell other consumers. The company is described as a “multi-level marketing firm” on its Wikipedia page.
While Sharon Williams was initially cagey about their association with the brand, she insisted this business venture was a “personal interest” that had “nothing to do with WOW Sight & Sound”.