We caught up with Ben, Bondi based co-creator of the world’s first quick drying lightweight beach towel.
Dock & Bay was hot on my hit list when I created Beachside Collective, not only are their towels stylish and chic (I mean stripes are simply timeless), but more importantly they are innovative and practical. This brand is going places and we hope you enjoy learning a bit about Ben and Andy, their inspiration, and some exciting things happening like their TV debut!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
We are Andy & Benno from Dock & Bay. We are mates who used to work together in London in the corporate world. Now, I (Ben) am back home in Sydney (Bondi, where else for a beach towel brand) and Andy is based in London.
2. Why did you start your business?
Working in the corporate world was great for passing time, making friends and learning a bunch of interesting skills. But there didn’t seem to much of a sense of purpose that I gained from it. There was always something inside me that wanted to break free and try some new ideas, do something different to make a living and maybe even use a successful business as a vehicle for making positive change in the world.
3. Where do you get your inspiration?
I’ve always had a bit of a travel bug and I’ve spent most of the last 10 years away from Australia. I’ve lived in Auckland, London, Washington DC and travelled South and North America, the Middle East and Europe 3 times over. Andy is similarly well travelled and its what inspired us both to take a calculated risk to do something different and have a crack. Travel is all about research, planning and having a go, making sure you have fun along the way. Running a business turns out to be very much the same!
A travel adventure is what inspired the development of our unique products back in 2015. When backpacking you always take with you a quick dry travel towel, but the towels available were always so small and dull. Yet, as most travelers will tell you, they always end up at the beach for extended periods of any adventure, but we knew we couldn’t take a traditional beach towel as they are big, bulky and take up far too much room, and the sand gets all stuck to them. We decided that every traveler NEEDS a quick drying, compact and lightweight beach towel – so that is exactly what we set out to create. We also made sure our towels were extra large in size, so you could properly lay out on the sand or deck chair, and wrap yourself up. Fair to say, they’ve been a hit!
4. Do you have a favourite item in your collection?
We made our first Cabana towel back in early 2015 and the ocean blue stripes are still my favourite. While we now have 10 different striped colours, round towels and a range of yoga, gym and camping towels, I must say, you can’t go past the classic blue stripes!
5. What does an average day look like for you?
Running your own business gives you plenty of freedom and flexibility, but also the pressure of not begin able to take advantage of it. Every day is different, from monitoring, analysing and improving our marketing, ensuring sales and customer service is all sorted, to building websites and designing new products.
6. Are there any current trends you are inspired by at the moment?
Healthy living, fitness and activewear is massive at the moment, especially in Australia. We know a lot of our customers use our towels for yoga and at the gym, and we’ve developed a unique marle fabric made from 30% recycled materials, perfect for yoga and gym sessions. The fabric is soft and lovely, and we are stoked with the towels! The other inspiration at the moment is definitely at the social and environmental side of where we can take our business. It is really important to us that we use our business and its successes as a vehicle to make positive change. We are aligning with like minded charities and making changes to our manufacturing processes to reduce waste and improve sustainability. One recent change we are really proud of is to get rid of single use plastic bags and replace this with biodegradable bags, that will still protect the towels in transit, but will eventually break down into organic materials.
7. Where is your favourite beach?
It’s almost a little too much cliché to mention, but I love Bondi, my current home. Nothing beats a quiet morning swim at the north end, followed by a Tooheys Old at the RSL. Apart from that, there is a stunning little beach of the coast of Rio De Janiero in Brazil called Lopez Mendez. Memories of this beach lying on my sarong inspired me to need an extra large quick dry beach towel!
8. Do you have an item you can’t live without for a day at the beach? (your own product or otherwise!)
Towels are a given, but I love my Willi’s Thongs. They are this innovative Aussie design and have straps which you can replace when you have a blow out, and when it happens, what a lifesaver to have a spare set of straps lying around.
9. If you could holiday anywhere in the world where would you go?
Next stop is a journey to the west coast of Mexico. I’ve been learning to make traditional corn tortillas in anticipation.
10. What’s next for you’re business, anything exciting on the horizon you can share with us?
Business has been going well and we recently got accepted to present on Dragons’ Den in the UK this year. For those who aren’t familiar, Dragons’ Den is like Shark Tank, where startups present their business to a panel of investors. So I flew over to London back in April to prepare with Andy and we had a crack. On September 10th our episode airs, so we are pretty excited/nervous to see how the 10-15 minute turns out. We were in the Den for 1.5 hours, getting grilled by 5 successful business people. And the result? We got 3 offers – and accepted 1 offer with Deborah Meadan. All the legals have gone through without fuss and we now work with Deborah on a daily basis, and she has been nothing but supportive and proactive in all the right ways. Scaling our startup to an international operation is not without its challenges, so it’s great to have such an experienced hand to work with on the next stage of our journey. You heard it here first!
You can check out the great range at Dock & Bay here
Also learn more about their fantastic range of towels on their You Tube Channel here