WishWish is a local company in Charlottesville and it was born from the minds of Joren and Simone van der Pluijm. The second most commonly asked question they get (behind “What is on your car?”) is “Why did you choose Charlottesville?” Here is the inside scoop…
Francis: You already built a successful company in the Netherlands (Pluimen), what made you want to build a business in the United States?
Joren: We saw a huge potential to reproduce our success from the Netherlands in the U.S. and were excited for that challenge and learn a new culture.
Francis: What were the top requirements for starting a new company?
Joren: We knew it had to have a University, giving us a highly educated labor force. Of course the town had to have attractive tax rates, a good economic potential and affordable rent. Because we are from the Netherlands, we wanted to be on the East Coast and close to an international airport so we can share at least a few office hours with the Dutch mother company and the flight would be as short as possible.
From the point of view of building a business, it was not as important to be in the middle of a huge city because we are an internet based company. We like it to be a smaller scale town where it is easier to connect to the business community. And one of the most important things for us personally and from the business, there had to be a lot of fun things to do!
Francis: What were some other areas you considered?
Joren: We focused on the surrounding areas of New York City and Washington, D.C. They were nice, but didn’t have the same feeling we wanted. While researching, Charlottesville always popped up on the “Best of” lists and it seemed to be a good fit.
Francis: So you finally decided to visit Charlottesville, what was your first impression?
Joren: We loved everything about Charlottesville. We were just walking downtown and stumbled into Fridays After Five then the next day we found the Farmer’s Market the same way. While we were wandering around, we loved the energy and could see the people we were around as being future friends, colleagues and business partners.
We were impressed that so many people who went to UVa wanted to stay here because this adds to the culture and the vibrancy of the community. There is so much open space and the area is so beautiful, we couldn’t help but love it.
Not long after their first visit, the Van der Pluijm’s moved to Charlottesville and WishWish USA was born. Now WishWish is continuing to build a brand as the place to go for fun things to do.