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Online is key to Finders Keepers growth

“The Trading Online Voucher gave us the means to build this fantastic website.”

Lisa Connolly and Luke Marsh are the founders and owners of Finders Keepers in Waterford City. While her background is in fashion and textile design, Lisa developed a love for retail when working abroad with her partner Luke, “I loved the experience of walking through the doors into someone’s shop and seeing how they have imagined their space.”

Finders Keepers is based in Waterford City, offering unique gift & homeware products and ideas. “We signed the lease on an old butcher shop in September 2017 and opened the door to Finders Keepers in November! My amazing little sister Beth joined us later that month & has been working with us since. A small family run business through and through!”

Following their opening they were very active on social media. They didn’t have the funds to advertise so it was their only way of promoting the business. “I was really just doing this with the idea of people from Waterford in my mind. I wanted them to come into town and find our shop. But our community quickly grew outside of Waterford. Our following was growing and suddenly we had customers in all parts of Ireland. But it was very frustrating, not having a website.”

Lisa met with the Local Enterprise Office in Waterford, who recommended a ‘Trading Online Voucher’ in order to get to the next phase of growth for Finders Keepers. “We found local web designers Transpose Digital. They were absolute pros and really worked hard with us to achieve the vision we had. If we were going to build a website, it needed to be done right and to a standard that could sit alongside with some of the bigger retailers. The TOV gave us the means to build this fantastic website.”

A Trading Online Voucher (TOV) is a financial incentive developed by the Local Enterprise Office for small businesses with no more than 10 employees, less than €2m turnover and who have been trading for at least 6 months. This voucher is designed to stimulate the applicant business to develop their online trading presence. The voucher is administered through your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and takes the form of matched funding where the maximum amount payable will be €2,500 or 50% of the eligible cost (whichever is the lesser), exclusive of VAT.

They launched the website in November 2019, just a few months before the pandemic. “I was never so grateful for the website during this time. We were suddenly busier than ever before. It was a crazy time. I live less than 1km from the shop so could walk here each day and continue dispatching orders. It was a hugely challenging time, taking on such a workload alone but our business grew exponentially.”

Fast forward to today, they have just moved into a new premises on Michael Street in the City, that is much bigger. They have a whole floor in the building dedicated to online and have built a studio for photoshoots to improve their digital offering on the website and through social media. The aim is to continue to grow the website within Ireland but start moving into the European market.

“Our bricks and clicks business model is working very well. I don’t think you can have one without the other. On a day where it may be quiet in town, our website will pick up the slack. We also have a large customer base from Waterford City who may be time poor and will use our click and collect service, ensuing their gift is wrapped and paid for on collection. It works very well.”

Irish consumers spend around €850,000 per hour, 24 hours a day online. With the trend ever increasing towards online spending it is estimated that only 30% of small Irish businesses are engaged in any meaningful way in e-Commerce sales. For businesses employing less than ten people this percentage could be even lower. It is now believed that of online purchases made in Ireland that 70% of these are done in overseas markets.

Applicants interested in a Trading Online Voucher can now apply online using a link on Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office website. Those wishing to avail of a voucher, must attend an obligatory information seminar. At each seminar attendees will be informed of the purpose of the scheme and how best to use and get value from the application of the voucher. You can book the next information seminar via the website.

Please reach out to your local LEO team by emailing if you any questions in relation to your application, quotes or Information Seminar.

Finders Keepers can be reached by

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