The dandi® patch is a thin, discreet underarm patch that adheres to the skin. It holds up to 2,000 times the average amount of underarm sweat, traps in armpit odour, prevents embarrassing sweat marks and stops horrible yellow staining. It is here to revolutionise the way that we all treat sweat.
Theresa Pope, co-founder of the business explains more about life in the family business.
What does your family business do?
The business was established for the creation and manufacturer of the dandi® patch underarm sweat solution.
How did you get involved?
My sister Hayley and I identified a gap in the market for a discreet solution to embarrassing underarm sweat as we couldn’t find anything that we would be comfortable to use. After scouring the market and trying many inconspicuous and ineffective solutions, we decided to create something ourselves.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
My first memory was of wanting to be an actress when I was around 5 or 6. I had no idea what I wanted to do later when I left school and began working in an electronics factory soldering printed circuit boards!
What are your first memories of your family business & how did it start?
The first action I remember was myself, my sister and my brother in law, sitting around a kitchen table with a pencil and piece of paper, discussing and sketching out examples of what we each felt the perfect solution would look like. Once we had done this, we knew what we wanted and so our journey began.
What values are important in your family/family business?
Loyalty, honesty and hard work. We strive to ensure that everything we do is the absolute best that it can be.
What is the best thing about being a family business?
The closeness of the family. We see each other almost on a daily basis and feel very lucky to be in that situation. Also, the loyalty we have towards each other and the support network that is naturally there is so advantageous in business.
And the worst?
Probably finding it difficult to switch off from the business outside of work. Because we are all so passionate about what we do, it is difficult to maintain cut off points. Popping into Mum & Dad’s for a cuppa on a weekend more often than not turns into an impromptu meeting, debate or discussion about something work related.
What is the best thing about your working day?
That is a hard thing to pinpoint, but I would say the best thing about every day for me is the ‘friendly environment’. We all get along and work well together so don’t experience or have to deal with any hostilities or politics in the office.
What is your proudest achievement?
Wow, there is so much we have achieved that I am proud of but here are a couple of achievements which make me feel exceptionally proud. Firstly, getting the product to market in the first place, after experiencing dreadful manufacturing hurdles and hiccups; it took over 5 years to get our first version ready! Secondly, being awarded British Invention of the Year within 4 months of launching the patch, it was completely unexpected. Thirdly, being selected for inclusion in the Oscar goody bags for the Academy Award nominees for 3 years running and flying out to LA to be there and attend Sir Elton John’s world famous annual Oscar Viewing Party for the Aids Foundation Charity. All very memorable and make me feel so proud.
Is there a next generation waiting in the wings to take over?
Oh yes definitely. We have 4 generations who muck in to get things done and have often all got together to pack boxes, gift bags etc. It is a big part of our life. Even our youngest family member, who has recently turned 4, is very keen to help pack, label and stamp when we are under pressure. She is a great quality checker – you won’t get a damaged pack past her! It’s great experience for the younger members of the family, my 13 year old nephew loves to help out with the accounts as this is what he wants to do when he is older, anything he can learn now will be very valuable for him in the future.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing family businesses?
I suppose the most difficult challenge when you first start out would be separating personal feelings from business. It is important to face any challenges in the same way you would if you worked with people you weren’t related to. To maintain that impartiality rather than be swayed into making decisions because of your emotional connection takes practice.
What words do you associate with family businesses?
Love, loyalty, support, success, fun.
Words of wisdom – What piece of advice would you pass on to someone thinking about starting a family business?
Firstly, to make sure that all roles and responsibilities are clearly defined at the beginning, after all, not everyone can be a decision maker. It is essential to quickly understand each other strengths and weaknesses, to respect them and define roles in accordance. Let each member of the family work to their strengths and be supported in their weaker areas.
Secondly, I would say to try as much as possible to have a cut off and make sure you maintain some family time without any consideration to business. Also, it’s not cool to be at a wider gatherings and totally hijack the event talking shop. Other people and family members will be interested in how things are going, but they won’t want to hear about it constantly. It’s important to maintain a good balance.