Our journey has been a very long one and we are still at the early stage as Founders! It all started when we were growing up in Holland, our parents owned a wine & spirits store so we have been around drinks (alcoholic beverages) for a long time! The idea behind Double Dutch really came to life during our time in University. Every week we would host social gathering and events for our friends and we would ask them to bring their own spirits (alcoholic beverages). We would spend a week experimenting with different flavours trying to create the perfect mixers for this social gathering. Once we graduated from University we both started working in finance, it didn’t take us long to realize that this really wasn’t for us (with 6 months into it). Therefore, we both packed our bags and headed over to the UK. However, while studying at UCL we developed the Double Dutch concept further, incase you were wondering that became Raissa’s final dissertation. UCL loved it so much that we won the Idea of the Year award which paid for our first production. And that is how Double Dutch was born. We noticed a gap in the market for quality mixers. The spirits brands had gone from strength to strength, using all kinds of wonderful flavours but the mixer market wasn't able to keep up! We wanted to release a wide range of mixers which would bring out the best in all the spirits brand we often see in the market. Example is bringing out the subtle floral notes in gin using the cucumber & watermelon or adding a herbauous note to your tequila with the pomegranate & basil.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle was dealing with rejection. When you first start selling your product get ready for rejection. Make sure not take it personally and keep pushing and you will get there. You have to believe in your product and yourself!
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
We always seem to have multiple books on the go! The best one I have found recently for entrepreneurs is The Confidence Code: Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know!
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
We were very lucky because our parents have always supported us every step of this process and same with our friends. That I will truly say that made things easier for us - having such a wonderful support team around us.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Getting to do this with my sister, we really have been each other’s rock. We often talk about how you need to have the right people around you and there is no one better siblings working together.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
We had to learn so much along the way! Personally, it would have been great to know right away the best production sites for tonic water onset!
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Believe in yourself, it sounds corny but you need to! If you have chosen this path you have to stick to it, through thick and thin and you will get there. It may not be your first idea but you will never know unless you try.