How COVID-19 affected starting our own company.

February 7, 2021

2020 has been a weird year to say the least.... A global pandemic that has affected us all and changed so many aspects of our lives. At the start of the year my plan was to move to Whistler, Canada in October with some of my closest friends and become ski instructors for a season, whilst setting up our own creative agency 'dooka'. This is an article about how hashtag#covid19 and being put on furlough changed that plan...

At the start of the year our plan was to all be working our full-time jobs (designers, marketers and accountants) and be doing little bits of dooka work on the side. The obvious limiting factor of this being our limited time available to spend on our own work. We also had a plan to move to Whistler, Canada in October and do a ski season as instructors. (again whilst doing dooka work on the side) but then……COVID 19 happened.

Whistler, Blackcomb | Unsplash @andregaulin

With the global pandemic causing widespread panic and bringing the economy to a halt, three (designers) out of the four of us were put on furlough and were being paid 80% of our wage but suddenly with no time pressure. For so many people this period of time was filled with panic, worry, boredom and angst. However for us as a start-up company, it provided us with financial stability and a commodity which is incredibly hard to find more of (normally). Time.

Over this period of time it provided us with a very illusive opportunity that is very rare to find in today's fast paced world. We used this to develop dooka.life as a brand/business and focus on what we wanted our identity to be.

It also quickly became apparent that this period of time gave a lot of people the opportunity to reflect on their current work/life experiences, and in many cases to reassess some of their priorities in both areas.

We were contacted by a few different people who had decided to go ahead and pursue their passion/ambition of creating their own ‘something’ and wanted to work with us to achieve that dream. This gave us as a company the opportunity to do some really in-depth branding projects, taking concepts from ideation to completion.

Pangolin Gin

As we were all based in different parts of the UK we joined the rest of the worlds workforce’s on Zoom (or any other video call software) making regular use of the free 40 minute Zoom calls. Although we had already been aware that we wanted dooka.life to be location independent (allowing us to work from anywhere in the world together) we believe it opened up peoples minds to the opportunities of remote working and the value it can bring to the business and employees.

Also due to COVID 19 our plans of moving to Whistler, Canada to work part time as ski instructors (continuing with dooka on the side) were also thrown out the window as the resort couldn’t guarantee us jobs at the end of our ski instructor internships.

All of these contributing factors dramatically changed the landscape of our plan for 2020 (and without sounding cheesy potentially the rest of our lives). We were given a rare opportunity of free-time with financial stability. We developed our business (unbelievably fast in comparison to pre covid), created full brand identities, built ecommerce websites, designed gin bottles and realigned our own values of what this could mean for us.

Yes Covid-19, meant we couldn’t go and live in Canada and ski all that fresh morning powder for an entire season, which has been (and still is) a huge aspiration and life goal of mine. But it has opened up so many other big opportunities and allowed us to reprioritise our goals and go full time on dooka in November which is now the bigger and better dream.

Thanks for Reading

Barney