Introducing our founder 

As the only child of a builder who really wanted a son, Mel, founder of WOW Cornwall, grew up accompanying him on building sites, and always loved the construction environment. Ever since those young, formative years, Mel has had a deep-seated appreciation for great workmanship. In her own words: “I can spot bad brickwork a mile away!”

“Growing up on sites helped me to appreciate the quality of good tradespeople. My mum was also a keen interior designer and, whilst we didn’t have much money growing up, our home was always in vogue.”

So, says Mel: “I’m a product of both of them. In fact, when I left school, I wanted to be a bricklayer!” Starting out working in construction, she has since honed her skills, and has been Consultant Facilities and Project Manager for over 30 years, maintaining, designing and building commercial interiors. “I’m absolutely fascinated by buildings and what we put in them, which is where my love for design really comes from. I have a very active imagination, and I love the worlds of art, books, architecture, gardening and nature. I’m also a big shopper and, being design mad, I had, for a long time, nurtured the idea of launching my very own shop.”

Bringing the vision to life

With a mental blueprint of what WOW could be, Mel just needed to find the right time – and the right location – to launch it, and when she finally started bringing her vision to life, her initial goal was to open the first shop in March 2020, a date which was unsurprisingly pushed back given the events taking place around the world. But only by a few months, and by September, the team had cut the ribbon and opened the doors to their new store in Padstow!

Fast forward to today and our Padstow shop has now closed, but not due to unpopularity. In fact, says Mel: “The store was very successful, but unfortunately too small. When I found our current store in Wadebridge, I knew that it was exactly the storefront I’d had in my mind’s eye since I first envisaged WOW. We opened in autumn 2021 and I’m proud to say it’s going from strength to strength. The entire team lives and breathes interiors and home style, and between us we have years of experience to help bring our customers’ dream homes to life.”

What can you expect to find here at WOW?

“Where to start! You’ll find oak and glass dining furniture, occasional and statement chairs, storage, coffee and console tables, soft furnishings, lighting, clocks, mirrors, wall art, dining sets, ceramics, vegan luggage, jewellery, home fragrance, skin care, even beautiful stationery. Actually, it’s probably more a question of what you won’t find!”

Design is everything, and as you step inside WOW, it becomes apparent that this is indeed the brainchild of a woman who has read every interior magazine, and who sees design in every aspect of her life. “When I first moved here, I wanted to shop locally but I really struggled to find the contemporary interiors and unusual homewares that I wanted. I didn’t just want to buy from the big chains; I wanted to see and feel the items before I bought them, which is very much a part of the WOW ethos. I believe, as do the team, that if you’re investing in furniture and accessories, you need to be able to see and feel the quality and how they could look in your home and garden. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer shops doing this on the high street, and the risk when you shop online is that what you think you’re getting is often very different to what arrives on your doorstep.”

In order to live up to this, ours is not the sparsely adorned interiors showroom you might expect to find at the top end of a London high street, although, the quality of the items inside are made to match. But it’s an emporium – an Aladdin’s cave of interior discoveries just waiting to be made, with myriad items across the home and lifestyle spectrum whose quality will stand the test of time. “We want people to find products they will treasure,” says Mel. “We don’t want them to find a cushion that will perish with the first wash. Instead, we want those beautiful pieces they purchase from WOW to become coveted items that will be passed down and cherished. What we want, is for them to find things they’ll love and that will last.”

Who is WOW for?

Despite the quality of the products we choose to adorn the space with, it’s important to point out that they are not as inaccessible as many seem to think. “We often lose customers as they look in through the window and assume the items will be expensive. But we have wares to suit all budgets! The trick is to source well-designed, quality products at great prices, which sounds simple, but not everybody does it, and here you’ll find our products are offered competitively with the same items bought online.

“In terms of the products themselves and who they’re tailored towards,” continues Mel, “I like to feel we’re contemporary, but with softness and colour. We try to showcase products for all tastes, but despite having moved to a larger store, we are still limited on space.” The ranges in store, across our Living, Dining, Gifting and Homestyle collections, feature a number of superb brands that have long since established a reputation for quality and also many individual makers offering beautifully designed accessories, fragrances and skincare. They also include some of our own designs, of which there are more to come, and we fully intend to stock products from more Cornish makers, be it furniture and lighting, or beautiful, locally made gifts. 

Come in and see for yourself

But what’s really key, is that what you find in store is but a snapshot of what we can offer. Even for the most niche and unusual items, we are always happy to help you source what you’re looking for. Ultimately, we understand that home style is as individual and unique as the owner, and whilst we aim to provide as wide and eclectic selection of products as we can, we know that individual tastes are almost impossible to cater for in even the most diverse of stores. So come and ask us! We’re always looking for new ideas to factor into our collections, and at the end of the day, we want you to leave us with the items that are going to make you say ‘WOW’ whenever you arrive home.

December 02, 2022 — The Ocean Agency