This interview is part of our SOLA (Spirit Of London Awards) series. The 3 founders from Tottenham created Doccia as a student project, since then it has turned into much more than that. So let's find out more about them and why they are finalists at SOLA:
Can you give me a bit of background into the 3 founders?
We all grew up and live in Tottenham, North London. Between the 3 of us we all studied at University, some of us are still at university but we had no background of fashion studying subjects like Media Studies & Business. We are all winners and don’t accept anything but 1st place, gold medals and being the best and that's what we had in common to try and forward this brand.
What is Doccia Apparel?
We are a fashion brand. The company’s main goal is to provide young people with high quality casual and formal garments inspired by everyday city life. Our philosophy is based on self fulfilment and confidence and we replicate this in every garment we issue. We feel we epitomize what it is to be whatever you want to be and achieve what you want to achieve and this view is shared in our motto; ‘Freedom to be who I am, Desire to be what I must.’
How did it begin?
During Business A-level, a business plan was created to start up a small clothing line. After achieving top marks in the assignment we decided to make it real life. We applied the theories and after some tweaking of the original assignment we were ready to put Doccia into action.
What challenges did you face when starting the business?
Our main challenge was to try and make our name stand alone as a brand and be respected as a brand as well as to promote our product well in a saturated market. This wasn't easy however through continued development of the brands image and our product designs we eventually achieved the stature we were looking for however we are always looking to improve.
How did you initially fund the company?
Initially till now, it’s all our own funds and money. We have been turned down by organisations like the Princes Trust and other grants and investors.
What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far?
Being able to set up our shop in Camden. We opened the store on the 7th July 2012 and it was all a result of hard work from sales and exposure we gathered that made it possible.
Now I believe you are still studying at university, what are you studying and how is being at uni, helping or hindering running a business as well?
Studying Business at university helps our situation because theories learnt like relationships between customers and shops/brands as well as what makes people buy we use to our advantage. In that respect it helps but as we are mainly based in London and some of us study outside London sometimes achieving tasks is a problem. Not being around the business 100% all the time is something we all dislike but we know that we have other priorities an its just about getting the right balance of everything.
What advice would you give to others trying to balance uni and a business?
Organisation is so vital. Finding the right balance between ‘work and play’ as well as other commitments you may have has to be done because obviously you don’t want anything to suffer through being neglected. You also may have to sacrifice something weather that's socialising or sleep, it is often the case especially as you come closer to graduating from university.