By acknowledging the need to offer something unique in a crowded healthy living market, Shara Tochia and Hettie Holmes have turned their weekly newsletter into a fully-fledged online lifestyle destination – DOSE.
The duo seek to provide a personalised experience for their growing community of city-dwelling “healthy hedonists” through online content, events and workshops.
Business Advice sat down with Tochia to find out more about the inspiration behind DOSE, as well as their ambitions to dominate the online wellness and healthy living space.
(1) Who are you and what’s your business?
DOSE is an online publication that fuses the worlds of fitness, eating well and better drinking with features designed to entertain and capture the attention of urban, time-poor Londoners.
(2) How long have you been around for?
We have been around since November 2016 – four months. However, we built a database ten months prior to that which is currently 18,000.
(3) How do you make money?
We monitise our database and content and charge brands to target our readers directly.
(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?
We wanted to create a community where fitness, fuel and better drinking could exist in the same space where feeling good took priority over anything else. Our readers live for experiences that tap into their psyche. From endorphin fuelled spinning to yoga classes that calm the mind.
Balance is the brand philosophy behind DOSE.
Anxiety is one of the UK’s leading health concerns, but exercise is emerging as a promising way to overcome it. Releasing chemicals like dopamine, that helps us recognise reward and take action towards it, oxytocin, that flows during social experiences, serotonin, responsible for mood balance and endorphins that relieve pain and cause feelings of pleasure.
This is the inspiration behind DOSE. The brand name is an acronym for these chemicals.
Ultimately what we’re trying to get to is happiness. Isn’t everyone? Our bodies already contain the formula. It’s just learning how to tap into what makes us feel good. We see this as a balance of exercise, eating well and mindful drinking – everyone’s dose is different.
(5) What was key in terms of getting started?
Market validation over and over again. Focus groups, reports and research. The wellness market it getting saturated so looking for a niche ground was important. Also, learning about each other’s reasons and passions for starting a business.
(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?
We were approached by the people at Nike Women as one our first partners to help them launch an event.
(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?
Big partnerships that have failed at the last second are never easy to digest, but that’s the life of owning a business. Being able to ride the rollercoaster of ups and downs is key.
(8) In five years’ time, I will be…
Retired? Only joking. I hope that DOSE grows with the market. I would love DOSE to expand into new cities and countries. We’re also open to moving the business into other areas. As we’re still a young business, we are learning so much from our audience and it’s exciting brainstorming where we can go.
(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?
Be prepared for a rollercoaster and to work harder than you ever have done. There are so many highs and lows but it’s all about the journey.
(10) Who are your business heroes and why?
Amy Thomson, the founder of Seen Presents, Robyn Exton, founder of Her app, Rikke Roseland, founder of Borrow My Doggy and Lucy Werner, founder of the Wern.
Also, Andy Phillips, who founded the first online hotel booking company in Europe.
I admire any one that has quit a high-flying, well paid job to go out on their own. It takes a certain type of personality, with great drive and determination, to do that.
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