THE VURGER CO

IN CONVERSATION WITH.....

DOISY AND DAM

We take 5 minutes to chat with eD Smith and Rich Wilkinson, Founders of awesome choccy brand Doisy and Dam, about all things chocolate, building a business- and pants…

@doisyanddam www.doisyanddam.com


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The question on everyone’s lips- where did the name Doisy and

Dam come from?

We get so many variations of this: Daisy and Dom, Doisy and Dom, Daisy & Don. In fact, multiple engaged couples have asked us to provide chocolate for their weddings because their names are Daisy and Dom. Pretty cool huh? The name came from two scientists, Edward Doisy and Henrik Dam who discovered vitamin K. Their work led to a better understanding of nutrition, amongst other things. So we thought it was an appropriate homage, plus there were two of them and two of us, and it sounded fun.

 

Your packaging is super cool and reflects your brand to a tee-

where did the inspiration for the designs come from?

Thanks team! The original inspiration came from the ads for the iPhone 5C which had just come out at the time. They were clean and simple and full of colour. Since then we’ve gone through all sorts of small developments but the soul of the branding has always been the same – to look awesome, reflect the brand and to stand out on shelf.

You’ve built this business from the ground up and seem to have a really awesome team in place supporting you! How many people do you have on board now and how do you both manage your time between the different parts of the business?

We’re a team of 5 with lots of external support as well. The team is really special and is the driving force behind getting us to where we are today. The two big parts of the business are getting the right amount of chocolate to shops shelves at the right time, tasting spectacular and then making sure someone takes it off the shelf and buys it. Rich does the former, I do the latter. We’ve both got super hard-working team members who help us in the pursuit of chocolatey domination.


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So you met when you were 5, tell us the story, was it business-partnership at first sight?

 It was, we were both wearing tiny suits, whipped some contracts out of our briefcases and it’s been legally binding since then. Kind of. More accurately, our parents knew each other and after a holiday together we ended up going to the same school and caused very light-hearted mischief for the next few years. We were torn apart to head off to university but are now reunited, making chocolate together.

When did you decide to start a chocolate business and what inspired your decision to give it a healthy focus?

We decided to start a food business together after a few years of working in real jobs. We quit our jobs to try to start a business making indulgent foods better-for-you. It seemed like there were two extremes: super healthy and tasteless or extravagantly indulgent but terrible for you. We wanted to create something in the middle and started with ice creams, brownies, cookies and chocolate all using better-for-you ingredients. After some pretty quick feedback we found out we were making some rubbish ice cream and some good chocolate, so we went with it!

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Doisy and Dam chocolate can be found in many retailers- including Sainsbury’s- how did you go about targeting and successfully supplying a supermarket?

We’ve always found that the best place to be selling our chocolate is the place where the most people want to buy it :) So, when we plan out where we want to be, we start by looking at where most of our customers will shop. Once we’ve contacted those shops or supermarkets we try to persuade them we’re worth taking a punt on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but Sainsbury’s have certainly been big supporters of ours and hopefully they’re fans of our sales reports too.


You recently became a B-corp company- awesome! What sparked your decision and what has been the biggest challenge? 

WOOP WOOP. We did indeed and we’re very proud of that. One of the major focuses of the business is to try to achieve a positive impact beyond making a profit. We had this concept in our heads but it was not until Mark Cuddigan from Ella’s Kitchen introduced us to the B Corp cause that we found out how aligned the B Corp goal was with our aims and we had to get on board. For those who don’t know what a B Corp is, it’s a company which has passed a pretty rigorous assessment prepared by the B Corporation to assess your impact on the environment and society. It looks at how you treat your employees, how you use natural resources and how you source your products to make sure you’re positively impacting your surroundings. Our focus has been on making our supply chain best-in-class – cocoa can be a pretty dodgy commodity and most certifications don’t reach the root cause of issues. B Corp has helped guide us towards creating the best supply chain we can and being proud of it. The biggest challenge is that every decision you make has to be considered in the context of your B Corp assessment, which can often limit your options and make business more expensive but if it didn’t do this then it wouldn’t be as valuable to society as it is. 


Best books that you’ve read recently?

Ed – I think you were expecting a list of books on business and entrepreneurship, but I am a low brow fiction addict. Give me a Dan Brown, or a Robert Harris fast paced thriller any day of the week and I’m happy.

Rich – I’m a little more of a sophisticated reader than my friend Ed here. Two that stand out are a book by Adam Kay – it’s a diary of the author’s time as a junior doctor in the NHS which manages to be both incredibly depressing and hilarious at the same time. Then How Not to be a Boy by Robert Webb – a really interesting look into what it means to be a man in today’s society and how we can help shift outdated attitudes towards both men and women.

Ed, what is Rich’s most admirable quality?

 It’s difficult because we don’t often say nice things about each other. We’re both more the deep-rooted competitive type. But if you’re going to twist my arm I would say it’s his tenacity without being aggressive. He’s really driven towards achieving things he sets to at work and in his personal life.

  

Rich, what is Ed’s most admirable quality?

 I’d also like to include a proviso that I’m only being complimentary in the context of this interview. Having said that, Ed has an inherent optimism and attitude that there’s always a way to make something happen. Balance that against my apparent tenacity (thank you Ed) and maybe that’s why we make a good team.

 

 If you were both a pair of pants, what would you be?!

 We’d be a pair of tighty whiteys: pale, cheap and honest.


Thanks so much Ed and Rich for taking the time to chat with us!

Feeling hungry? Visit the Doisy and Dam online store here.

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME!

XO