Case study: Getting the advice, guidance and help to start up Dooka

21 January 2021 By Guest writer Dooka.

Lisa Reading signed up to the Next-Up 500 mentors website to offer her help as a mentor, this case study is the perfect example of a generous and fantastic mentor making a difference.

Dooka is a creative agency that strives to work within industries we have a genuine passion for. A concept that was formulated 6 years ago, Dooka is the collective dream of inspired individuals to build a creative agency that blurred the lines between work and play. Inspired by the likes of Wu Tang Clan we discovered that our best work happened when we were working collectively on projects and sharing thoughts openly between friends.

After 5 years in respective industries, honing our creative skills across a range of outputs, whilst developing freelance branding and web projects; the dream was still very much alive. COVID and the ensuing lockdown gave us a golden opportunity to work on a branding project together again, Pangolin Gin. With full artistic license of brand, packaging and web, we created a standout product in a congested market, perhaps more important for us, it provided a proof of concept. Fast forward a year, Dooka now works on a plethora of projects with an array of clients across the food, drink, events and hospitality industries, with the 4 founding members and best mates at the helm.

Although our experience spans many varying fields – business creation was not one of them. Our involvement in company creation had been based solely upon branding and market strategy. What we lacked was the logistics of converting the amalgamated creativity into a legitimate business. That’s where Next-Up came in. Next-Up offer a mentorship programme with a wide selection of inspirational mentors to help aspirational start-ups get moving. It was as simple as finding the most suitable shaman to guide us through this unchartered territory. Enter our guardian angel, Lisa Reading.

We were introduced to Lisa due to her vast experience, knowledge and expertise in both entrepreneurial and international corporate industries. Lisa has held several board positions including CEO for a range of global clients within the Aviation, Travel, celebrity and luxury brands industry. Over the 10 months of working with Lisa she has given us guidance on all areas/aspects of our business, her experience in business management; people development, operations, sales, marketing / digital marketing has been priceless. So much so, that she thankfully agreed to become the first non-exec member of the Dooka board of directors! We have regular updates and meetings to talk through various elements of our business and address any challenges that we have come up against, which really has been invaluable.

When starting something new, whether that be in the classroom, office or at home, we instinctively look for guidance from a mentor/master. It is said mastery of a particular subject is only achieved after 10,000 committed hours, that equates to experience of many different scenarios and situations. Experience encompasses the failures and successes encountered along the way. Direct access to a master in our chosen field has been a priceless opportunity and would not be possible without the innovative service provided by Next-Up. We hope to continue to learn, grow and develop to help shape the future of Dooka and convert what was an aspirational dream into a profitable reality.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Next-Up and particularly Lisa Reading for being our sounding board, confident, canary in the coal mine and all round inspiration.