Big aspirations as Aqualla continues to expand and innovate

Newtownards-based firm reflects on incredible 10-year journey

Steven Allaway, Managing Director and Noel Daly, Company Sales Director.

Arriving on the scene 10 years ago, Co Down-based business Aqualla has enjoyed staggering growth, building a strong reputation and loyal customer base in the process.

But when he first decided to go into business for himself and set up his own bathroom supply firm, Aqualla Managing Director Steven Allaway could never have imagined the company would get to where it is today. With years of experience in the industry under his belt, Steven decided to forge his own path and founded Aqualla in 2011.

“It was not a decision I took lightly,” Steven told Ireland’s Plumbing and Heating Magazine. “I carried out months of extensive research beforehand, used my savings and took out loans to get the business off the ground. It was daunting at first.”

However, his initial fears over whether he would have enough customers on the books to stay afloat quickly faded away. Instead, Steven’s worry soon become whether he would have enough stock to keep up with demand.

At the start, the business was run entirely by Steven and his retired mum. She had offered to help with the administration work, allowing Steven to build up relationships with customers and establish the brand. When they were not busy taking orders – up to 6-7 a day – the pair could be found in the warehouse picking orders and packing for delivery.

From those humble beginnings, Aqualla has undergone rapid expansion. In 2017, the business employed 10 people; today, that figure sits at 48 people, with imminent plans to bring on more staff.

Steven attributes a large part of Aqualla’s success to the foundations he set for the company at the very start – good quality products and an unparalleled customer service.

“Coming from a sales background, I know the value of good customer service and that has always been at the heart of everything we do,” Steven said.

“This business is based on building strong relationships and we have worked hard to
deliver a good service. It is also important to us that we continue to evolve and
make improvements in everything we do; we strive to keep things fresh, dynamic
and innovative.”

Steven also prides himself on having an excellent team and creating a work environment where staff feel valued.

“We have always striven to be an employer of choice; we invest in our people and feel it is important to have a good culture in the workplace, so that every member of the team can feel proud to work for Aqualla,” he added.

“I want to pay tribute to all those who have helped to make Aqualla what it is
today, particularly our loyal customers who have supported us for many years, as
well as our teams across all departments, and those sales people who work in the
showrooms.”

Graeme Hill & Robert Watson, Warehouse and Technical; Steven Allaway, Managing Director; Julianna Andrews, Marketing Manager; Noel Daly, Company Sales Director; Victoria Skillen & Jackie Henderson, Sales Administration.

While the last decade has been a real success story for Aqualla, Steven and team are not content to rest on their laurels. In fact, the firm has aspirations of doubling its
workforce and turnover within the next 3-5 years.

Steven concluded, “Looking forward, we want to create more employment locally,
and to continue growing our revenue and product ranges. We are not necessarily
looking to significantly increase the number of customers, we just want to develop the
ones we have and continue providing them with the best products and quality service
to support their own business growth.

“We also want to be recognised as a leading brand within the UK and Ireland,
and I think we are well on track to achieve that. We never thought we would be where we
are now. It has been an incredible journey and has given us the confidence to keep
expanding and innovating.”

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www.aquallabrassware.com