And everything in between!
2018.... What a year it's been!
We've experienced the good, the bad and the ugly.
Running an online beach brand isn't all rays of sunshine and hot girls in bikinis.... It's damn hard work and this last year has proved that more than ever.
So take a seat, get comfy and strap in for the rollercoaster ride that has been TWENTY EIGHTEEN!...
We kicked off the year by setting ourself some major goals... Some said we were a little too ambitious but that just spurred us on to work even harder.
We had the idea to do a giveaway... But not just ANY giveaway... THE GIVEAWAY OF THE YEAR!
For a small island beach brand we really do have BIG dreams, and truly believe that if you put your heart and soul into it then those dreams can be achieved. We handpicked a few of our favourite local brands and businesses and decided to give away the ULTIMATE 24HRS IN ARUBA.
We planned every little detail and itinerary and actually convinced those handpicked local brands to join us in this daring venture! It took months to make it happen but it was so worth it.
Everyone involved donated their time and services. It truly was a group effort. Monique, the winner of our giveaway, had the time of her life... That was the confirmation that was needed to prove our giveaway was a success.... Personally, Dushi Designs didn't gain many followers compared to the other businesses who received on average around 150-200 new followers... And we gained 53... But hey ho! We also didn't get hardly any photos from the day featuring our products, so that was a lesson learned... But in all honesty that's not why we did it.
We did it because we wanted to give a genuine Dushi Designs fan the opportunity of a lifetime and to also shine a spotlight on other local businesses that we admire and who inspire us.
"Thank you for this amazing experience! I will never forget it"
~ Monique, Giveaway Winner
GOAL #1 OF 2018 = CHECK ✔️
2018 was also the year we made a promise to collaborate with more local talented photographers and videographers. We get a LOT of requests from young upcoming content creators asking us to give them a chance... Sometimes we have to say no, purely because we don't have any new merchandise on the island at that particular time, but most of the time we say yes because we believe everyone should get a chance to shine.
And these stars can really shine!
We have been super lucky with some of the collaborations we have done this last year and have had the pleasure to work with some truly passionate, dedicated people.
• First up was Patrick Jansen.... His quality of work is always bang on! His photos are super high quality and his videos are pretty special too.
He reached out to us in late 2017 asking if we would like to collaborate in the new year, we figured why the hell not.... And this is the result..... Super cool shots of the beautiful dushi babe, Marigin! We ADORE them... Do you?...
Shop our "Shaking Your Coconuts" tee here.
• Next up was the collaboration with Isaiah Stomp... This guy totally exceeded our expectations. We gave him no direction whatsoever for this shoot but between him and the super hot (and extra sweet) Tommy Lee they both absolutely smashed it! They knew the exact vibe of Dushi Designs and delivered more than we could ever of hoped for.
Take a look at some of our personal faves from this shoot and let us know which one is your favorite look.
• Summer was the time for swimwear so we teamed up with our fave Aussie bikini brand, Aruba Swimwear, to bring you the "Tropical Girl" collection. We created a pattern using watercolour tropical flowers and made matching swimsuits, beach bags, bikinis and round beach towels. To launch this campaign we got Aruba's queen of bikinis, Kerry Feng to model and Elai Visuals to capture the products. The photos turned out stunning and when we first saw them we knew we wanted to work with them again in the future... So watch this space... More tropical goodness coming your way in 2019!
See more from our "Tropical Girl" collection here.
• This guy had been on our radar for a while. We had seen his work and desperately want to collaborate with him so when he got in touch there was no hesitation in saying YES!
Introducing Kuro. This local photographer did his training in the Netherlands and then came back to his home island to showcase his skills. What do you think? Do you love these shots as much as we do?...
• This next shoot was a DREAM.... We had been planning this for months.... The models, the locations, the concept... Every last detail had been thought out. Now of course we don't do things by halves here at Dushi Designs HQ and this was another ambitious plan. In hindsight we definitely tried to squeeze in too much in one day and a valuable lesson was learned.... ASK FOR HELP. Being a little bit of a control freak we find it hard to accept help from others. We run every aspect of Dushi and it can get overwhelming, we're only human after all. Asking someone else to help us from time to time is something that we will definitely work on in the future.
The shoot itself was in fact AMAZING but it was exhausting. We started at 7am and finished at 7pm. Driving around the island to each location, meeting different models, outfit changes etc. It was fun and stressful all at the same time. The models were a dream to work with. Laid back but professional and they completely understood the vibe and style of Dushi Designs.
At the end of the day the videographer showed a little highlights clip of all the footage taken from that day and I just burst in to tears! Tears of happiness! It was everything I had dreamed of and MORE! The ideas in my brain, those little scribbles of notes I had been jotting down for months had finally come to life. The videographer had actually made my dreams come true!
Here's some behind the scenes shots taken by Kuro from this day.
But.... You will never guess what happened next.... After the shoot was all wrapped up and every one went home, some lowlife stole all the camera equipment from the videographer!!!!!!
When we found out this news, not gonna lie, we were totally heartbroken! May seem slightly dramatic but honestly thats how we felt at that moment in time. Something that was in the making for months, had all come together to create pure gold was now gone forever! We had zero video footage, nothing, nada! Devastated was an understatement. Devastated for Dushi but also devastated for this poor guy who had worked his butt off capturing this amazing day on film only to have all his equipment, that he had paid for with his hard earned cash, stolen from him. I mean, what sort of loser steals from someone else?! So sad and so frustrating!
This was probably one of our lowest points in 2018 and after this happened we kind of lost our mojo for a while. We fell out of love with social media because we had nothing to post. With zero content and the mood we was in, we just lost motivation. Our engagement radically dropped on Instagram. We rarely posted on Facebook. But then we received some positive customer feedback which gave us just the boost we needed!
"...you guys are just the best I love all the designs you guys have it's super creative and unique."
~ Eurshwin, ARUBA
"I love everything about the company! Don’t change a thing!"
~ Melinda, TEXAS
"Love this store! So much nice stuff. Keep up the good work."
~ Amber, ARUBA
You guys say the sweetest things and all your feedback, positive or negative, we take on board and listen. Your opinion really does matter and receiving these kind words gave us the lift we needed to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and come back with a BANG!
If you have any feedback for us, or ideas for future products please click here.
Another goal of 2018 was to enlist the help of more international travel bloggers and influencers from across the globe. Some people still don't realise that Dushi Designs is an online brand and we ship worldwide. Many people think that we are only stocked in store in Aruba and don't know that they can order on our website from anywhere in the world.
We thought by collaborating with international influencers from outside Aruba would be a great opportunity to spread the word and help us build our brand globally.... Well.... It didn't exactly go as planned... I consider myself to be a very trustworthy person and will always do my best to keep my promises.... Naively thinking others would do the same. That wasn't the case. Some "influencers" who had contacted us turned out to be scams (for want of a better word) and completely took advantage of our good nature.... We would send the free merchandise plus pay a fee for one post etc.... But then the post would either never happen or it would go in their stories for 24hrs and then disappear. Some "influencers" would send us all these amazing statistics about how engaged their audience was, how their account had grown by X - amount of followers in X - amount of time.... After doing some research we discovered these "influencers" mostly had bots and paid for followers/likes which kind of defeated the whole objective of what we were paying for. This was a hard (and expensive) lesson to learn. One which we hope we won't be repeating any time soon.
Our goal for 2019 is to continue to collaborate with our island girls and dushi dudes! Much more reliable, trustworthy and let's face it, pretty damn hot! We will of course seek out international influencers who represent our brand ethos in the new year but we will be more selective and diligent this time around.
Also on our radar in 2019 is Influencer Island, their work ethic, creative ideas and the fact that they are young entrepreneurs is exactly in line with Dushi Designs. We can't wait to create some magic with these guys. Make sure you give them a follow and be pending for a future collaboration with Dushi Designs X Influencer Island.
GOAL #2 OF 2018 = FAIL ✘
GIVEAWAYS GIVEAWAYS GIVEAWAYS!
2018 was the year that we kept on giving! We teamed up with Rancho Daimari to give two lucky winners the chance to horse back ride through Aruba's beautiful Arikok Park and win Dushi Designs goodies.
We gave away one of our original "Bida Ta Dushi" round beach towels with the Blue Marble at the Pearl, and they also very generously donated a one night free stay at their beautiful luxury condo for a winner and friend.
We gave you the chance to win an awesome day out kayaking with the Kayak Shack.
We teamed up with our flagship stockist the Sunset Shack Aruba to give away so many amazing prizes that we've lost count!
So many giveaways in 2018 and guess what?.... 2019 we are going even BIGGER and BETTER! The giveaways we have planned will knock your flip flops off!
Make sure you subscribe to our website so you never miss an update and be the first to know about the awesome giveaways and opportunities we've got coming up.
We desperately wanted to hit 10K followers on Instagram this year.... Why?.... Not for the numbers.... We wanted that SWIPE UP feature!!!! Most of our online sales come from traffic via Instagram and having this feature was a goal worth breaking our backs for! Thankfully we reached our target and also got shoppable posts too which means you can tap on a product thats tagged in a post and purchase it right then and there... Genius!!!!
GOAL #3: CHECK ✔️
GOALS FOR 2019:
Twenty Eighteen made us learn some tough lessons, but they have only made us stronger. So here's what we intend to do in the coming year....
1. Continue to showcase our love of Aruba and the laid back island lifestyle.
2. Worry less about the number of followers and likes we have.
3. Concentrate on being the best beach brand we can possibly be.
4. Take more time off for some self-care.
5. Switch off from social media once in a while.
6. Be more accepting of help from others.
7. Give back more to the local community.
8. Return to Australia.
9. Top last years giveaway.
10. Maybe, just maybe, open up a little more about who is behind Dushi Designs....
So that's it for 2018.... Bring on the new year! Let's do this!!!!!!
Thank you for taking time to read this and for all your support these last 12 months. Without you Dushi Designs would not have the success it's had so far.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
Happy New Year.... MAY ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!