Startacus speaks to Timothy Armoo, 18 CEO and Founder of Doodlar, a recent start-up driven to modernise the way we fundraise using fashion of all things...
Tell us a bit more about Doodlar. Doodlar is a platform which uses design and community to raise funding and awareness for the neediest causes. Every month, we partner up with a charity who are fighting a specific cause, it could be bringing clean water to t the developing well, providing care packages for victims of human trafficking even to children with facial deformities. We then create cause related tee shirt designs, so designs that are not only quite fashionable but also have some meaning related to the design with 25% of every single purchase going directly to the charity working to solve that problem. Tell, us how you came up with the idea? It’s quite a funny story, it came from a newspaper article. I think it was the Times or the Guardian, not quite sure. I read that there was an alarming lack of money given to charities. And it got me thinking why that was the case. People aren’t evil, we are inherently good people so what was the problem? The answer came from realising that it was not that people did not want to give. Au contraire my dear, they did want to give but it was more so that the current ways were rather archaic, it is mostly just press a donate button and then you’re done. We- especially the younger generation, want to feel more involved, more connected to the cause. So I thought, why not take something that we use, in this case clothing and weave (pardon the pun) into it a charitable ethos. By doing this we solve the funding problem-by giving 25% of each sale to the charity, but we also solve the “connection” problem because now every time you wear a Doodlar tee , you’re taking a stand against a problem. What were the initial problems you had when starting up. The black hole. With something like Doodlar which has to it a strong charitable element, there was always the talk of the “black hole” . The whole idea that once you give to charity, you don’t know what happens to your money. Is some fat cat at the top driving a Mercedes from your donations? Consequently, we made all the charities we work with promise/swear/ take a Doodlar oath that 100% of the many raised goes to a specific tangible solution. Knowing for example that 25% of your purchase is going directly to buying a care package for a victim of human trafficking is a more comforting immediate feeling than saying 25% is going to a human trafficking charity. How do you manage the conflict between delivering change but also maintaining a bottom line. Its quite a tricky one. I ‘d let you and all the other Startcaus readers on a secret: Doodlar wasn’t started as a business. We didn’t stuff ourselves in room and figure out some business idea. We essentially wanted to modernise the way we fundraise because it was stale for the current generation. We could have started as a non-profit but that won’t have made much sense I don’t think-having a non-profit help another non-profit, the blind leading the blind really. The best way in which we could have tackled the issue was to form a business around solving the problem, because in this way we can keep delivering the change we want to. At the core of the business is delivering change to as many people through as many causes as possible. You can see it through our marketing-we measure our impact not on amount raised but on Lives Saved, or on Care packaged delivered. Being profitable is rather a means to an end rather than an end itself! Who are some of your influences? Well the cliché answers would be people like Alan Sugar and Richard Branson (funnily enough in the last business I ran, a youth business publication- we managed to get an interview with him he really does smile that much!) But to be honest, I am a fan of social entrepreneurs. People who are harnessing business as a force for good, people like Blake Mycoskie founder of Toms and pioneer of the whole one for one model, also the guys at Warby Parker who create amazing glasses which also give back. I am also a fan of Tony Hseigh, his focus on impeccable customer service and his desire ot give back is very inspiring. How can people get involved with Doodlar? Many ways, you can purchase a tee first of all. Every single purchase directly gives a child clean water for up to 10 years. Alternatively, hop on to our Facebook and Twitter channels, we are always giving you guys more opportunities to spread awareness of our causes and to also get involved in some pretty cool stuff to fundraise. Join the solution guys!
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Olly Whittle BournemouthI am ... seeking investment and pleased to have built BeBirbal, released it and had it accepted into Facebook's startup program