Founder Interview | Ed Smith @ Doisy & Dam
Hey Gang! I’m Ed from Doisy & Dam. (Ed's the one on the right)
Rich and I started our business in 2014 with the goal of making indulgent foods better. We started by using superfoods and have since shifted to using better ingredients and better chocolate with better ethics.
All our products are vegan, insanely delish and never, ever any palm oil. We just launched a new range which I’m sure you’ll all love!
(Click Here to Buy Doisy & Dam)
Why did you become interested in the world of snacks & drinks?
We’ve both always been passionate about food and wanted to work together on a business in the food and drink category. It’s ideal; you get to come up with ideas, make them, taste them, perfect them and then get loads of people out in the world to try them! You also get to work with some amazing people – we both had real jobs before we started doing this and the difference in types of people you come across is stark. Everyone works together, even if they come from competing brands, to get better food products made and put on shelves in shops.
What inspired you to do what you do?
We were both in pretty full on jobs which were leading to expanding waistlines, but we didn’t want to give up our indulgent snacks. So, we started messing around with different foods in our kitchens and combining them with healthier ingredients to make better indulgent treats.
What was your Eureka Moment when you knew you had a product which you could take to market?
I think our biggest Eureka moment came long after we’d started the business when we’d been selling our bars for a few years. We did a research project to work out how we could make even more products which people would want to enjoy. We realised something we should have realised before which is that milk chocolate is having all the fun! All the bright packaging, fun formats and interesting flavour combinations are in milk chocolate. So, we built a new range specifically to bring some fun to dark chocolate, with all the quality, ethics and taste that customers expect from our products.
What current & future trends does your product meet?
A little bit of what I said above. People are leaving the milk chocolate category because they’re looking for healthier and more ethical options, that’s where we come in!
What did you do before starting your company & what made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
I was working in marketing in the US for Jack Wills and Rich was working in the City in London. We’d been friends since we were kids and had always wanted to start a business together. We both came to a point with our jobs where we were signing up for a few more years, or we could just take a risk and jump ship. I moved back to the UK and we both moved into Rich’s parents’ basement which is where we started Doisy & Dam.
What has been the hardest part of starting your business?
Adapting to a very fast learning curve has been the hardest part. There are lots of balls to juggle and figuring out how to juggle more and more without dropping any is tricky but a really exciting and rewarding task. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without having Rich to work with, it’s crazy to me how people can do this on their own!
What has been the BEST mistake you’ve made & why?
The best mistake we made was early on when I got the dimensions of some packaging wrong which led to our chocolate rattling around in the boxes. We’d already paid for it so we didn’t want to waste it, so instead we printed a little card to fill the gap on which we announced a selfie competition for people to send their selfies with our chocolate in to win a bumped pack of D&D once a week. This gave us huge growth on social media and all came from my little screw up!
What keeps you motivated?
Having a co-founder is an incredible motivation – any time either of is feeling the pressure the other one is there to pick it up. Beyond just Rich, the D&D team is such a brilliant motivation. In terms of the work itself, thinking of new, fun ideas and being able to turn them into physical product in a few weeks is such an amazing feeling and incredibly motivating.
What do you do in your spare time outside of business life?
Well, all of us at team D&D need to do quite a lot of exercise given the amount of chocolate we eat in the office… So, a lot of us are in to running. Rich likes to blow off steam with his weekly dance troupe.
What do you think are the key skills required to make yourself & your business a success in the world of snacks & drinks?
I think resilience is one of the most important traits. You get a lot of bad news mixed with good news and so have to be able to keep a smile on your face and keep on plugging. The people you work with are the best way to keep your spirits up!
What would you say is your biggest strength?
What would you say is your biggest weakness & how do you look to overcome this?
Over-optimism. I think you need to balance optimism with realism and team D&D help me that :)
If you could sit down with yourself for a pint/glass of wine/coffee this time last year…..what would be the 3 most important tips you would give yourself knowing what you know now?
Raise more money than you think you’ll need and do that research project sooner!
Any plans or predictions you can share with us for the rest of 2020?
We’ve got lots of new products coming out both all year round and seasonal, all of which will be fun, delicious, ethical and high quality. Keep an eye on our social media and Snackfully for more updates!