Meet the founders: Double Dutch

A stylish selection of alcoholic drinks

Twin founders Joyce and Raissa de Haas discuss how they’ve grown their premium mixer and tonic drinks business, what it’s been like to work together, and how they’ve navigated a male-dominated industry

By Leonie Annor-Owiredu

Joyce and Raissa de Haas are the founders of Double Dutch – a versatile mixers maker, which won the Best Adult Soft Drink Award at the World Beverage Innovation Awards in 2016. Here, the twins share what it’s like to work with family, the meaning of sisterhood, and the intricacies of growing your business as a female founder.
Raissa de Haas: ‘For you, what’s it like working with family?’
Joyce De Haas: ‘We couldn’t ask for better partners; we can trust each other 100%, which is so important. There’s no worry about stepping on someone’s toes. We don’t need to be too diplomatic about our opinions, we can just say what we feel and think, which is a really efficient way of doing business. I think we complement one another, and we have the same long-term vision.’
Joyce: ‘What does sisterhood mean to you?’
Raissa: ‘It means having a really close bond, lifting each other up, and inspiring one another to reach our own goals. Being sisters, we have such a good sense of trust, and we get to have so much fun.’
Joyce: ‘What are the issues that come with being a female founder in a male industry?’
Raissa: ‘There are advantages and disadvantages, but the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. I think being female founders in a male-led industry really helps us to stand out. There are so many initiatives now to support female founders – more companies are trying to have boards that are 50% female and 50% male.’ 
Joyce: ‘While there are still challenges, things are getting more positive, and I do feel that women have been supporting one another the most.’

Raissa: ‘Which woman has inspired you the most?’
Joyce: ‘It’s kind of cheesy, but our mum is the best in the world. She’s always been our biggest supporter. There are so many women who have inspired us – for example, Shelly Heineken. She led Heineken to an amazing global company, against the odds. In general, some of our friends who are mothers and juggle work with being parents are inspiring, too.’
Joyce: ‘What advice did you give yourself when you started and what advice would you give yourself now?’
Raissa: ‘Hire for the future and just for that moment in time. We were growing so quickly in the first few years and I felt I was maybe overhiring in the beginning. Networking is also very important, and surrounding yourself with the right people, whether that’s in your direct team, or with mentors, business coaches or your board. We’ve had so much support from our network in the industry, which has helped tremendously.’
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