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Double Dutch founders: How we built our brand

The female founders of mixer brand Double Dutch open up on their experiences in business for Bloom Gin Passion Projects

Joyce and Raissa de Haas Double Dutch

Joyce and Raissa de Haas founded premium mixer brand Double Dutch in 2015 with an investment from University College London to develop their first flavours: Cucumber & Watermelon, and Pomegranate & Basil. Five years on, and the 29-year-old Dutch twins now sell 750,000 products a month from a 10-strong range, available in 26 markets globally.

So how do they do it? The twins have shared their experiences in business for the Bloom Gin Passion Projects series, which aims to boost the number of female entrepreneurs in the UK by providing inspiration, training and the chance to secure funding. 

How did the idea for Double Dutch come about?

Our family has always been passionate about drinks. Growing up, our parents had a distillery in the garden as a hobby and were always experimenting.

When we were 18, we moved to Belgium for university and threw lots of parties for our friends. The deal was that they would bring the gin and other spirits and we would always make sodas to go with them in our kitchen. We'd experiment with different fruits and herbs and put them into big jars for everyone to try. 

After graduating, we started working in banking and soon realised that it wasn't what we wanted to do. We were craving a much more creative career, which is what led us to move to London to study technology entrepreneurship at University College London (UCL). We decided to focus our dissertation on the evolution of the drinks industry and noticed how the spirits industry was becoming so much more developed, but the mixer market was being left behind. 

We knew that we wanted to do something about this so we devoted our year at UCL to delving deeper into the mixer market and subsequently won the UCL Bright Ideas Award for most promising start-up. This gave us the initial cash investment and a year's worth of office space in London, which enabled us to start Double Dutch.

What has been your biggest learning curve on the Double Dutch journey?

We've definitely realised that you absolutely 100 per cent have to be passionate about what you are doing. It's not always plain sailing, there can be lots of long hours and challenges along the way, and you get so many 'no's before you get a 'yes', so it is really important to believe in what you are doing.

Also, you don't have to achieve perfection the first time around - just keep pushing and moving forward. When we initially launched we knew the product wasn't 100 per cent finish, we knew our labels needed improvement, but we had to launch in order to start selling.

This enabled us to gain feedback from customers and adapt things accordingly, which was really helpful and helped us to make the product much better. When you're a small business and just starting out, you'll find that customers are very forgiving of your mistakes. As long as you can show you're taking on feedback and working to improve things, you'll generally find they are very supportive.

What advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs starting out?

One thing that we've learned is super important is networking and building the people around you that can support you and your business. You can have a great concept or a great product, but ultimately you need to get out there and meet people that can introduce you to other people. After all, there may be a million other products available, but people will always buy into people and sometimes it can be easy to forget the importance of that.

Knowing the right people, having the right mentors and having a great support network are priceless.

What tools or resources would you recommend to entrepreneurs looking to build their businesses? 

Social media is really important and useful and has helped to make the world a much smaller place - there's no one you can't reach thanks to you power of your social! From using Instagram to build awareness of your product and engage with consumers, to using LinkedIn to build your network and seek investment for your business - the possibilities are endless. We actually sourced all of our first investors by approaching people on LinkedIn, so never underestimate the power of social media.

You mention that mentors are important in helping to guide you when starting out in business - how would you go about finding a mentor?

First of all, it can be helpful to start noting down what you are looking for in a mentor: what areas or skills do you want to develop and who is best placed to help with this? Then it's a case of literally telling everyone in your network that you're seeking a mentor, including sharing it on LinkedIn. The likelihood is that someone in your network will be able to recommend someone and may be able to introduce you. It's also worth reaching out to industry bodies or government groups, as they can often help too.

What advice would you go back and give to your younger selves?

Always trust your gut instinct, as the chances are it's probably right! Surround yourself with the right team of people and make sure you plan for the future and not just the 'now'.

As female entrepreneurs in a historically male-dominated industrry, what advice would you give other female entrepreneurs?

There are so many fantastic support groups out there for female entrepreneurs, so sign up to these and surround yourself with other inspiring females that you can learn from and support. It's really important that we all support each other as that's one way that we can help to drive change. The good news is that things are becoming much better for female entrepreneurs and we are being taken much more seriously. 

The government has pledged to double the number of female entrepreneurs in the UK by 2030, so it is high on the priorities list and there is support available. Initiatives like Bloom Passion Projects, which we are thrilled to be a part of, are also a great way of getting your talent noticed, while at the same time building your network and accessing free training.

Bloom Gin is giving budding entrepreneurs the chance to win a share of £25,000 in funding to help them take their Passion Project to the next level. Entrants must be aged 25 or over, and entries close at midnight on 11 December. Find out more at


18 September 2020