Dedoles is an e-commerce business that operates on 6 markets in the Central European region, in Slovakia, Czech republic, Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Romania. The company was founded 5 years ago as a distributor of an American T-shirt manufacturer that uses eco-friendly colours, The Mountain. Within three years they’ve become the largest distributor in Europe.
The vision for the store came from the founder’s attitude to life of being responsible and environmentally friendly. The company culture reflects Jaroslav’s values and was naturally spread across the team as Dedoles grew. It is based on three pillars, first the desire to grow and develop together with the company and learning as they go, second is humanity, respect and understanding that creates a friendly atmosphere, and third, fulfillment in the work they do.
After a few years, they wanted to diversify their portfolio based on customers’ needs and feedback. Currently they sell also natural cosmetics and bags.
Among the key issues they faced during their growth was insufficient cash flow and financing rapid periods of growth. They managed to attract an angel investor who helped them over the intense period of the last quarter of the year that usually brings 50% of their annual revenue. Banks didn’t understand their need for short-term loans. They had to be on the market for 5 years to get the trust of their suppliers and banks to help them finance growth.
To be able to serve the growing number of customers, Dedoles needed to create scalable systems and processes, that automated logistics, that further allowed data exchange between internal systems and their e-shop. The goal was to be able to teach a new employee how to process orders in 5 minutes.
Dedoles is still a fairly young company that has a “free-style” selection process. As Jaroslav puts it: “We need to get the right people in the bus, then we can do anything.” They are first looking at the fit with company culture and values. As other Slovak scale-ups noted, they look for talent and hire people with potential and drive who could grow with the company.
Jaroslav Chrapko from Dedoles (SVK only)
Initiatives from the private sector that Jaroslav sees beneficial were community events where like-minded entrepreneurs could share their experience. Dedoles was part of the e-shop accelerator Masters Gate, which they won in 2015, that brought extensive mentoring and expert advice and opened doors that helped them grow to the next level. The 2016 Christmas period brought a turnover of 1 million EUR and 25 000 packages shipped.
The government program that would benefit fast-growing firms should start with the inception of the company, where firms would be presented with options and tips on how to scale with mentoring and expert advice in key areas (finance, processes, talent, export). Jaroslav sees the opportunity in VAT thresholds that would allow companies to grow faster. Also, one of the key elements is the ability to hire employees easily.