It’s my favourite time of the week! It’s time for another Behind The Biz interview. If you’re new around here, Behind The Biz is an interview series where I discover small and growing businesses, the people behind them and their business journey.
Today’s interview is with Richard, the co-founder of Doisy & Dam.
At D&D we make superdelicious organic chocolate packed full of amazing superfoods.
Where did the inspiration for Doisy and Dam come from?
Ed and I started Doisy & Dam with the aim of using superfoods to make guilt-free indulgent and DELICIOUS food. We had real jobs, working all hours of the day and Ed’s waistline was rapidly expanding. We still wanted our treats though, so we started creating superfood infused snacks and we got a pretty enthusiastic response to our choc – we took it and ran with it!
How did you decide upon the name of your brand?
Doisy & Henrik Dam are two scientists who we think are scandalously unknown despite being total badasses. We loved their work – they were hugely influential in the discovery of various vitamins and won a Nobel Prize for the discovery of Vitamin K, and so wanted to give them a bit more recognition!
What did you do before starting Doisy and Dam?
I was working in the city staring at computer screens for hours on end whilst being entrusted to trade ludicrous sums of money. Ed was working in marketing for the clothing company Jack Wills, pretending to learn about brand building but actually spending weeks on end sunbathing on the east coast of America.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
Ed & I have known each other since we were basically babies and we’ve been talking about starting a business together ever since we were about 12 and Ed got in trouble for trying to sell his childhood teddies. At 14 a counterfeit money scheme proved a setback (we got caught trying to use it in our school canteen) but we really never looked back.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
The greatest challenge we’ve faced is entering into a heavily crowded market with very rich and established competitors with very little money and no experience. Perhaps not the most sensible idea we’ve ever had on reflection, but I think everyone who starts a business has an amazing naivety that means you’re not scared of challenges because you don’t know they exist, as a result you tend to just barrel through them and hope you come out unscathed!
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
I think the best part of this journey is the people we’ve met along the way. We’ve been able to sit down and have a beer or coffee with the most inspirational people, Adam Balon from Innocent, Giles Brook from Vita Coco, Tim Warrilow from Fever Tree to shamelessly name a few. Alongside that there’s a hugely supportive network of likeminded startup brands and everyone looks out for each other. With awesome companies like Ugly Water, Pip & Nut and Moju it’s an exciting time in the food and drink world!
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
Social media is massively important for us (as with any 21st century brand) and we use different platforms for different purposes. Twitter is really a place where we can be fun, talk to customers, talk about things we like, take stupid photos of us and the team and let people know what’s going on at D&D. Instagram is much more a place where Ed gets to let his inner diva come out, he ruthlessly controls our feed to ensure no blurry photos of a half eaten bar of choc taken on an Iphone 4 get uploaded.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
When (not if) you mess up, mess up quickly, don’t beat yourself up about it and keep moving forward. It would take forever to go through the number of mistakes we’ve made but if you dwell on the past you ignore the future.
Where do you hope to take your business in 2017?
2017 is gonna be an exciting year! We can’t say too much at the moment but we’re hoping you’ll be able to find our bars in a lot more stores across the country soon, also we’ve got some deeeelicious new products in the pipeline, unfortunately we’re still in the product testing phase which means huge amounts of tasting sessions, life’s tough 🙄.
Thank you so much to Richard for taking the time to be a part of Behind The Biz. I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about Ed and Rich and the story behind Doisy & Dam. I can also confirm that their chocolate is delicious. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the interview too. I can’t wait to see where Rich and Ed take the business in 2017.
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