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It’s a fundamental start-up rule: if you have a problem that needs solving, chances are there are customers out there exactly like you who have the same problem – and are willing to pay for a solution.

This sounds so obvious, but history (not to mention the patent office and CIPC) is littered with businesses that did the exact opposite. Start-ups that came up with a product or solution and then went hunting for a customer instead, of finding the problem, the customers, and then designing the solution.

Meet Sarah Treherne, one quarter of Studio Doodle, a business founded on a desire to solve a problem – and that is create amazing products as a result.

So, what is that problem? Well, lockdown didn’t only open a whole new world of digital yoga and delivery services. Parents were suddenly stuck at home trying to work and balance children and after the (multiple of tenth) friend mentioned they didn’t know what to do anymore, Sarah, who is a trained architect, and her partner, Mat Jones, an engineer, started brainstorming solutions.

What was educational, good for kids, could entertain for hours, but importantly, did not need a huge amount of supervision? Turns out, the Swedes had faced the same question, and IKEA had a range of sensory tables that delivered exactly what every parent of a young child needed during lockdown – and yet they weren’t available. What was available was either very expensive, or of poor quality, and so Sarah and Mat discovered the next important lesson in entrepreneurship: you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Once you have identified a key problem, the world is full of excellent ideas that can be combined and adapted for your market.

Urged by their spouses, Mike Treherne and Sam Jones, to stop talking and start planning, Sam and Mat launched Studio Doodle. Mike and Sam soon joined the business, each bringing a unique set of skills to the partnership to successfully take it to market.

A few more lessons have been learned, specifically, that when you bring certain processes in-house, you can cut costs and be more competitive – and we know there are many more lessons that will be learnt along the way.

Right now, however, Studio Doodle is already available on Takealot, and Sarah and Mat’s products are making children (and their parents), happy across South Africa.

To hear the full story, watch the video below:

To support Sarah’s business, like and share this video.

Visit Studio Doodle’s website

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About the Author

Elisheva Gilbert
Chief Marketing Officer, Sasfin Holdings Limited

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