We caught up with Olivia Sinclair, Marketing Manager at Doisy & Dam.
The purpose of our series “Balancing Profit and Purpose” is to feature fellow B Corporations, to hopefully inspire many more to join the movement. We showcase those companies that meet rigorously verified standards of social and environmental performance, those that use business as a force for good. As a collective, B Corps are accelerating a global cultural shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Olivia: Back when we first started around 2013, Ed and Richard who are childhood best friends and long-term chocolate fans, got together and made a chocolate which is basically good for you. When we started it was all about superfoods and that’s actually why we’re called Doisy & Dam, which must be our most asked question ever! Doisy and Dam are actually the surnames of two nutritional scientists who won the noble prizes in 1943 for discovering vitamin k and superfoods as a concept, so kind of the idea that some foods can be much better for you, more nutritionally dense and have more vitamins and nutrients than other foods.
So that’s where the name Doisy & Dam came from, which is a really cool name and much cooler than Wilkinson and Smith (the founders’ surnames!). The first view for the business was all about chocolate with superfoods infused, and you still see some of that today for example with our chocolate bars with ingredients such as goji berries, maca powder, and lucuma! We also used to have white, milk and dark chocolate (the whole lot!) but back in 2019 we changed our proposition and there was a move where we thought ‘hold on, we’re really shaking things up with dark chocolate, but I think we can go a lot bigger and a lot more fun.
Basically, we identified this really cool opportunity where we thought that milk chocolate had had all the fun and innovation for years, so it’s time that dark chocolate got a bit of that action! Just because its dark chocolate, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, delicious, exciting, engaging, nostalgic – all of those things that milk chocolate did at ease. Even if you look at the packaging, dark chocolate is normally very subdued, so we had a big brand shake up in 2019 and changed our logo, all of our packaging, and launched our sharing range which are the buttons, drops and our ballers that are really reminiscent of a Malteser but obviously dark chocolate and palm oil free and vegan.
So, it’s been an exciting time to be part of a brand that’s really just trying to infuse energy and excitement into the dark chocolate category, all whilst doing it on that bed of doing it in the right way and being very responsible. And actually, that’s why back in 2017, we decided to go for the B Corp certification as we knew that as a business things were going to change, and we loved that this framework got us on the right track for constant improvement and didn’t change as the company grew. So, the way we treat our board, our workers, our customers and our stakeholders doesn’t change!
Olivia: We knew we wanted a certification that would help guide us and make us do better and play that equal part of verifying that what we did was good but also giving us a framework for the areas we didn’t know so well. So, I think that’s what first attracted us to it. And what it means for us, is that we are just such a bunch of enthusiastic people who are determined to do things in the right way.
What’s nice in such a small company as we are, is you can see how B Corp is relevant to everyone’s role and everybody brings it to life. For example, in our sales team, they talk about it to our customers and that helps them realise that values are at the heart of what we do. I also explain to consumers through my different channels and through our community about why we’re really proud to be a B Corp and however we can help them, either by giving them more information or helping them on their journey. Or with our product development team, you can see what it means to them by partnering with responsible suppliers and things like that, so it’s exciting to see how B Corp plays into everyone’s role and like I said, it’s just a really good framework to identify what our next steps should be and helps us prioritise and plan for the next three-year recertification cycle! We love transparency and we believe that the more informed the consumer is, the more they can make choices that are in line with their values.
I am such a big fan of B Corps and I try to buy and support them wherever I can as I know that they will be someone who shares my values.
Olivia: For workers, on a surface level it just really unites a workforce. We are all so values lead, and we all genuinely care about making a difference and using business as a force for good. We always strive to be doing things in the right way which is great, and I love that we are a small enough company to be flexible enough to do that and we can do things at speed which is exciting. From a B Corp perspective from our workers, we made a commitment to work harder on removing any bias in the recruitment process, so something we trialled last year (and we will carry on doing moving forward) is that we anonymised all CVS’s and taking away any kind of detail that could sway anyone in which way, as our effort to make our hiring process a lot more meritocratic. This makes a great difference and is positive for our recruitment process so it’s something we’re going to continue. The next step for us is offering one day of paid volunteering for all of our workers, which is something we have always offered informally and was never refused when anyone asked to do it, but I know we can be more proactive about this so that’s coming in soon which is really exciting.
For customers, we really pride ourselves on our customer service because obviously we’re a small company, we’re so grateful for our customers, especially our repeat customers who bring us so much joy, one thing we always try and do which I feel really lucky about is that we’re really easy to get hold of. For examples the emails go to all of us and the phone number goes straight to our founders, as we know it’s really frustrating when you can’t get hold of a company or you’re put through to a robot or are put on hold for ages. We are so grateful for our customers, so we want to make their life as easy as possible if they need to get hold of us. We are also swapping all of our packaging to be widely recyclable as we know this is something our customers care about and will bring them joy.
For community, the big thing we do is that we’re recognised as a chocolate company, so obviously cocoa is our ‘beating heart’ and so we make sure we are responsible to the community in which that cocoa is grown as it’s not just the one supplier we deal with, when you think back to it it’s a whole community of growers, growers families, and everything that comes with that. So it’s something we’re very aware and proud of. We actually pay a premium of 10p on top of every kilo of cocoa we buy, which goes to the Luca Foundation which helps to support the growing community in the regions of Columbia that we buy our cocoa from and it’s great as so far, we have helped two really cool projects to help build two schools. We are also investing in a really fun project called eco-Curitiba, which is all about helping young children between 11-18 become young entrepreneurs, especially with sustainable initiatives, and just helping them feed back into their community and grow pride in where they’re from. It’s a really cool project which focuses on their development, and just gives them some really great skills which they’ll put back into their community, which is a project we’re really proud of.
We’ve also made a commitment not to use palm oil, obviously we know the production and harvesting of palm oil is so destructive and leads to so much deforestation, so we don’t want any part of that as we value orangutans, the planet and fixing climate change too highly to be part of that. We don’t use any oil substitute, we’d rather fewer ingredients, a clean label and better, fewer more natural ingredients and lead a better environmental stance.
Alongside our sustainability report, we’re doing our first environmental footprint map of our whole business, so we’re going to do a full impact report of this which I think will be exciting.
We know we can’t grow cocoa in London, so we know our cocoa will have a big impact coming from Columbia but that’s why we partner with brilliant suppliers who care about environmental, social responsibility and sustainability. So, we know that because we partner with a great supplier, and because they’re so switched on, we’re still able to deliver a delicious product with our lovely dark chocolate from Columbia, but also one that is grown responsibility so it’s a win for everybody. The customer gets a great product, the supplier gets to share their brilliant product, and it’s a win for us because we get to promote the small Columbian grower who we think are awesome and who know everything about B Corp.
Thank You for your time!