Open for Business | Part 1: The Beginning

February 23, 2021

A series of articles from behind the curtain of dooka called 'Open for Business'. Perhaps it will inspire somebody who is thinking about doing the same thing, put me in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize in literature, or maybe bring me crashing down to reality and have me resitting my GSCE English exam under the cover of darkness. Who knows! That's the fun.

Background

Let me take you back 30 years to April 2020. The UK is in full lockdown. Travel banned. Mixing with friends, outlawed. Our full time jobs, temporarily suspended.

A global quiet period followed, giving ample time for general reflection without the noise of the life we had become so comfortably accustomed to. During this time of uncertainty, we were all very fortunate to be receiving furlough payments whilst we waited (and hoped) for the storm to pass.

One real observation plucked from the chaos, was the realisation that the proverbial rug could be pulled from underneath us at any moment, and that nothing was certain. It was a reality check in more ways than one - and motivated us to seek to put the wheels in motion to create our own ‘thing’ in which we had control, and success or failure was solely our responsibility.

Dooka

Dooka had been a shared vision for over 5 years at this point, but it was perched on the edge of the horizon. We knew one day we would get to it, but how long that journey would take was difficult to calculate. How much experience do we need? What things do we need to have on our resume? What outstanding skills do we need to get covered? And then the lockdown hit. All of these decisions were put into perspective, and it was decided very quickly that there was no time like the present to take the leap and learn how to fly on the way down.

Each of us had gained various experiences across a number of industries. We constantly returned to the social circle debating, hypothetically, what a foray into the world of entrepreneurship might look like for us. What would be our niche? Around this time is when our love affair with Zoom, and later Google Meets, had begun to blossom. Racking up what I would estimate to be around 30,000 hours of screen time between each other (all living in different parts of the country at the time) really helped us to refine exactly what we wanted to do and how we might begin to do it.

Although we worked in different capacities with different specialities, there were some things that unified our individual skillsets;

  • We were all producing digitally.
  • We were all experimenting with the latest computer programmes which maximised creativity and workflow.
  • We all worked with brands, breathing life into concepts and visions.
  • We were all working/had enjoyed working in a strategic capacity.

Like many agile start-ups, as we develop so does our service offering as dooka. Therefore we are in an ever changing state of flux. However, we decided early on that a branding and communication company, telling unique stories and creating original digital spaces, was where our collective passions pointed us to. So it was time to get started.

First and foremost we are friends. But also we are great teammates. We discovered this whilst living together at 12 Deuchar Street during our time at Northumbria University. A multitude of projects were undertaken together, and individual projects benefited from the collective collaboration that often spontaneously spawned. The years that followed up until this point were laced with personal freelance projects, where we often sought consultation from our most trusted advisors - each other.

We knew we could work together, but commercially how could we communicate this to potential partners?

One thing was vital to this. We needed a project. But in order to reach the right people; the people that really cared; the things that we really cared about; the people that were doing something extraordinary; it couldn’t be just any project. We needed a project that traversed industries we loved, through an idea that was inspired. This project had to tell the world who we wanted to work with and how we wanted to work.

Right on cue, enter Pangolin Gin. Immediately, we knew we were onto a winner.

to be continued in part 2...