Hi everyone, for today’s Open Call I’d like to introduce you to Dodo Flugge and her Edinburgh store diedododa.
Dodo paints, creates her own jewellery and artwork, and upcycles and revamps old furniture to create a shop brimming with unique and quirky one-off pieces. The shop itself is also a bit of a unique find – it’s a converted wine cellar, which Dodo now describes as her “creative laboratory”. We caught up with Dodo to talk about the lab!
What led you to start your own business?
I think a great starting point is to ask, what would you do with your life if you won the lottery right now?
The answer to this was pretty easy for me: I would paint and reate pretty things all lovely day long! Unfortunately, instead I had an office job.
When the company I was working for closed down, that was obviously my impetus to look for new employment. Then my friend (and now business partner) Stu told me about an amazing place he’d found. Stu was also looking for new opportunities, and he happened to come across an old wine-cellar-turned-shop, which was desperately in need of new tenants. We both fell in love with it, and so together we hatched a plan to turn my creative passion and his adventurous spirit into a business.
My ideal scenario was to have a shop and artist’s workshop/studio/creative laboratory in one space. I wanted to create a sense of bustling creative activity, while also managing to achieve a relaxed atmosphere that encourages people to become involved and inspired.
What has been most difficult?
When we first opened I didn’t yet have the confidence to really go all out with my own aesthetic. Putting my work out there for the first time was daunting enough so I played it a bit (too) safe. Since those early days my paintings and furniture have evolved to feature a lot of bright, bold colours with a dark twist and darker narrative. I decided that this is what the diedododa shop had to convey too: a sense as if you are walking into one of my paintings. After almost two years, the shope finally feels right, but it is of course a constant work in progress.
The other difficulty has been my work-obsession, and trying to find some balance. Of course there is always a mountain of stuff to do – from creating furniture and art work, to researching products to managing social media and just keeping on top of my email inbox. I have very long working days, which I don’t mind so much, as this my dream job after all. I do, however, find it very hard to switch off from it all every now and then!
Any advice to people starting out?
I am still at the start of my business journey really, but the advice I can give so far is: whatever it is you do you must have a wholehearted passion for it, and a whole load of self-motivation. Necause when it gets tough (and it will) those are the only things that will keep you going.
Also, know your strengths. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Stay curious and open-minded to new encounters and situations. And most of all – play!
How do you get your work seen by retailers and customers?
Good old-fashioned word of mouth has been my main marketing vehicle. Obviously social media makes this a lot easier, and fun to engage directly with my customers. I am lucky that my loyal customers are excited enough to share our products with their friends. The diedododa shop gets a steady stream of walk-in traffic, though I haven’t yet explored traditional advertising methods.
What has been most successful about the business?
I have been overjoyed that people keep returning, entrusting me to paint their furniture pieces and recommending me to their friends. I also love that people have come into my shop and felt inspired to start thinking about how to style their homes or begun to introduce unique pieces, when they hadn’t necessarily given it much thought before.
Having my studio in the shop has allowed me to have chance encounters with other friendly creatives, out of which exciting collaborations have emerged. I am happiest when experimenting and creating (or possibly when drinking gin!), and to get to do what I am most passionate about for a living is my definition of success.
Find Dodo online at www.diedododa.com
Think your art, furniture or design biz has got what it takes? Please send through some pictures and info to firstname.lastname@example.org