We caught up with the chocolatiers at Doisy & Dam; who if you haven't already spotted the beautiful bars lining the shelves of our favourite supermarkets (Wholefoods), and cafes (Timberyard) are the creators of the superfood infused chocolate.
Founders Ed and Richard tell us of taking the leap and leaving their jobs to pursue their dreams filled with chocolate and pastel coloured patterns, and their best advice to others setting up a business today. Read more of their startup story:
Hi, Ed and Richard! Please, can you introduce yourselves and your company, Doisy & Dam?
Hi, guys! I’m Ed, and this is Richard, nice to meet you! Rich and I are chocoholics who ended up working with what we loved! We both had real jobs, working all hours of the day, our waistlines getting gradually wider and wider. We’ve always had a passion for food and branding, so we decided to throw caution to the wind and start our own line of products combining the nutritional profiles of superfoods with indulgent snacks. We tried a few different categories but the feedback came that our choc was superdelish, so we set off on our chocolatey adventure.
What were you both doing before starting Doisy & Dam?
I was working in marketing for the clothing company Jack Wills; which taught me a huge amount about brand and entrepreneurship. Ricky was working in the city staring at computer screens and dealing with dangerously large sums of money.
How did your business partnership come about?
We’ve been friends since we were wee nippers. We met at 5, put together a business plan, then waited 20 years to kick it into action ;)
What were your first steps upon deciding to pursue your dreams as chocolatiers?
The first thing to do was to quit our jobs, which was scary and exhilarating at the same time. Next was for me to move back to London, then we set about creating the recipes for the choc. After that, we had to find someone to create our bars on scale, put together some packaging and get it into shops as soon as we could. It took us about three months to create a product that was totally illegal from a packaging perspective, but delish. Since then it’s been constant refinements and slowly growing.
Did you have a backup plan?
Mine is to be a fisherman, and Ricardo’s is to work for Facebook (he loves Facebook).
What has been the most valuable lesson you have learnt since becoming self-employed?
To ask everyone you know for help constantly. We realised early on we had no clue what we were doing, so asking experienced people for help was the only way we were going to get ahead. The advice we’ve had has been absolutely invaluable to our progress so far.
We love your design! Do you create the packaging yourselves?
Thanks, guys, you’re making us blush! When we started, we had no money to spend on fancy things like design, so we had to do the design ourselves. We based it on what we thought looked aesthetically pleasing and stood it apart from the rest of the chocolate market. Since then, the amazing Beth from Shut Up Studio has been helping D&D create the funky delish designs in our current range.
Have you had experience in design before?
Not really – I’ve always been a huge brand and design geek but never actually designed anything. It can be nice to come from a position of no experience because you don’t end up adhering to traditional designs. You can certainly make more mistakes, but the end result can be a bit more fun 😛
Would you ever consider expanding into the design world? We could see some of your patterns looking pretty good on accessories (stationary etc.!)
We’d love to! How cool would the Roasted Cacao Nibs pattern look on a jumper?! Maybe a Date & Himalayan Salt duvet? We’re focusing on the choc for now, but watch this space 👀
How do you come up with the recipes for the chocolate bars?
Our office is covered in buckets of superfoods, we just take handfuls and throw them in a vat of our chocolate and see what happens. Sort of.
We try to include a taste, texture and superfood with each bar, so we combine ingredients until we achieve that. We do copious amounts of testing in the office, so we have to do a lot of running…
What is your favourite superfood ingredient to use?
Has to be mulberries – they’re so delish!
Have you both always had an interest in nutrition?
We’ve always had an interest in food, but our interest in nutrition came as a response to how badly we were both eating. We knew we had to change things up so we did a lot of research - we noticed that most approaches to nutrition relied on using healthy but boring ingredients. We wanted to make sure we could have a treat with the best balance between health and nutrition.
What plans have you got up your sleeves that you can reveal to us?
Well we can’t say much, but we’ve got a new flavour coming out in the next few days – it’s dark, it’s vegan, it’s superdelish, and it has Himalayan pink salt in it. Check our website for the rest 😉
And lastly, what is the best piece of advice you can give to others who are looking to run their own business?
It’s scary but rewarding, and you’re definitely going to make mistakes. If you do mess up, mess up quickly and keep moving forward. Also, eat loads of chocolate, it helps