Memory distributor Duo turns ten this month and is planning to go all out in celebrating the milestone.
It all started when founders Kendra Ross and Jackie Hatchwell, then both working for Melco, agreed they wanted a lifestyle business.
“At that time there was a bit of a gap in the memory market and we grabbed the opportunity. For the first few months we were just brokers and then picked up the Simple Technology agency,” says Ross.
That ten-year relationship with Simple Technology has seen Duo listed as one of the vendor’s top ten international distributors.
While both women admit Duo has always been more than a lifestyle business the underlying philosophy of striving for a work-life balance still exists.
“Although we’re far busier than I ever thought, both Kendra and I have raised families while we’ve been running the company. We are extremely business-focused, professional people but have the flexibility to have a family life,” says Hatchwell.
Ross agrees, adding they have both previously worked in environments that frown upon parents leaving the office before 5.30pm.
“If one of us needs to attend a school assembly it’s not a problem but if the work needs doing we’ll come back into the office once the kids are in bed.”
And that flexibility extends to Duo employees.
“One of our account managers, Jo Brown, is on the Wellington Shakers netball team and we’re fully supportive of her training schedule,” says Ross.
Over the years Duo has expanded to a staff of five full-time and several part-time employees. Originally a Wellington company, Duo expanded into Auckland four years ago and crossed the Tasman last year.
Hatchwell admits memory products aren’t exactly the most exciting technology so Duo creates its own fun for staff and clients by hosting regular events.
“Memory is about price. Duo’s point of difference is its events where we’ll do things like cocktail making or cooking nights. Many of our customers have become friends so it’s great to combine work and pleasure,” she says.
Every year to mark its birthday Duo organises a cocktail night which Ross says has become something of a legend in Wellington.
“It runs for about six hours and we change the cocktail hourly. Often we have over 200 people attend so it’s pretty well known and we’re now doing the same in Auckland.”
Despite being serious businesswomen, Ross and Hatchwell admit to enjoying being girly and use the cocktail evenings as a valid excuse for glamour.
“We get dressed up, we have the MAC makeup woman come in and we get our hair done. Even our resellers have got involved and glam it up,” says Ross.