We decided to make our first blog post about us, the faces behind dokudu.
Because the one thing we want to make dokudu is personal, and not just another brand selling something. As our little adventure project, dokudu reflects very much who we are, so why not share it?
If you don’t know us by now, Helena, Lisa and I, Emre, founded dokudu, with a lot support from many friends and family.
To be completely honest, we had no background or expertise in textiles. Helena (or Heli as we call her) is a teacher, Lisa and I are lawyers. A year ago, none of us could tell what a weft is, or how a shuttle loom works (to be even more honest, I still can’t – Lisa and Heli can though). So how did we get here?
The story starts in 2014, with me, as a Turkish guy, trying to show my German girlfriend (now wife) Lisa, different aspects of the culture I grew up in after we had met in law school in New York City. I wanted to show her more of the Turkey than you could see in newspapers. Some beauty instead of the political mess and an irritating president. When Lisa finally moved in with me in Istanbul after a couple years, it got even more important for me to show her the culture of the country she had decided to move.
One day in an ancient bazaar, in one of those corners she set out to explore this deep history and fascinating culture I promised, she discovers some beautiful hand-woven pieces and it doesn’t take long until she learns the history behind them.
For the next couple of years, pretty much every gift we buy for someone in Germany for Christmas, a birthday or a wedding, was a unique hand-woven towel or bathrobe from Turkey. And everyone LOVED them. No kidding.
Next thing we know, in every trip we made from Turkey to Germany, we were getting orders from people who wanted more of ‘that stuff’. We carried textiles in our suitcases like smugglers. Another color, another pattern, another gift for a parent. Heli got a bathrobe and a pestemal in the process.
This became an insider joke of the kind ‘Hey, maybe we should quit law and sell these.’ Then life happened. Lisa decided to move back to Munich to get a better job. And surprise, she reunited with her old and dear friend Heli, who was and still is, among other things, teaching Bavarian students that being Franconian is also cool.
The idea of dokudu showed up only in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, after I decided to leave the law firm I started and follow Lisa to Munich.
As I am not allowed to practice law in Germany, and am not very enthusiastic about doing it anyway, dokudu was born as my answer to the good old question: what should I do now? Let’s do something new, in our way, I thought. Then, we remembered the old joke: ‘Hey, maybe we should quit law and sell these.’
We got together, each of us bringing something different to the table. Lisa and Heli have their own reasons for doing dokudu. An appreciation of the craft, the chance of doing creative work, a love for design and quality…
On top of all those, what resonates with me the most is the idea of bringing a better part of Turkey with me to Germany. And more importantly, doing it in a way that I can be proud of.
As a lawyer, I worked with companies of all sizes, from many countries and industries. I litigated many cases, witnessed countless disputes, advised and learned from many business owners.
Among many other things, the experience taught me what is wrong with the business world. I don’t claim to know it all, but if there is one thing I know for sure, that is how I DON’T want a company to be.
Now for me, dokudu is the opportunity to show that it is possible to do business without exploiting people, without damaging the environment, without sucking the life out of every living thing around.
Instead, a business is only good if it lifts everyone and everything around it, like a tide lifting all boats. Fancy business world reports would call it Stakeholder Capitalism these days.
We called it dokudu, and we believe in it.