Posted on October 23 2017
Be good. Ask. is a segment dedicated to the entrepreneurs, change makers and influencers working tirelessly to make the world a better place for all of us. This week we asked Dan Dicker, Managing Director and Founder of ashortwalk how it all started for him.
What is your personal mission statement?
Create a rewarding, fun business "ashortwalk" from the sea that, in its nature, contributes to society and the environment.
When was your “a-ha” moment?
Organising a jumble sale in the village at the age of 7. My dad was serving in Ethiopia for the RAF so my brothers and I organised a sale to raise money for the famine relief. We had to do everything from booking the hall to going round the village collecting items in our wheelbarrow. We made £64 and my mum cried and our fate was sealed. ashortwalk is run by my brothers and I think we still have the wheelbarrow!
What most excites you about your project/s?
Being able to bring creativity to life. An idea that jumps out at you whilst washing up can be making a difference 4 months later.
When you aren’t doing that, what keeps you going?
Fish pie and Cornwall. It’s very easy to be so wrapped up in business, life, schools runs and trying to find the blasted car keys yet Cornwall keeps tapping you on the shoulder and says hey, look at me, look at why you started all of this, best you get down the beach.
Apart from your work, what's one change you've made to your lifestyle to make it more ethical/eco-friendly?
Try to reduce the STUFF we buy as a family. We are using up the world’s resources at a completely unsustainable rate, we simply have to change the way we shop, consume and throw away valuable resources. Every time my wife and I shop now we think ‘do we really need this?’, 'can we make do?' And if we do need it, we try and get a good one, a quality one that will last much, much longer.
Until our definition of success moves from being money or ‘look at me’ cars then the world is it a critical place.
Who is a person who inspires you?
Pete Goss, the famous around the world yachtsman. During my time as a designer for Dyson he did a talk about his experiences and philosophies. He said people deliberate over a glass being half full or half empty, just neck it and get on with it!
If you could enact one law that would have a positive impact, what would it be?
Ban middle lane hogging. No, force companies to be responsible for the disposal of the goods they make. Overnight manufacturers would have to design out obsolescence and create products that last. The average person in the US upgrades their mobile every 18 months. Why? Because we are programmed to by Apple in order to make them more money and yet another phone goes in the bin with all its valuable resources inside.
What is one ethical gift you love to give or receive?
A mobile phone designed to last 10 years where the manufacturer just upgrades the software to keep it up to date. Or a washing machine that last 15 years because I rent it from the manufacturer therefore it’s in their interests to make it last or repair it rather than the current model of making sure if fails and actively preventing anyone getting in to fix it.
What recent news or event gives you hope for the future?
The recent threat by the government on legislation around single use plastics and cups. We have been tapping the hollow door of all the big players in the coffee industry for 2 years with ways in which we can recycle cups and turn them into new products. Yet suddenly the phone is ringing!
A massive thank you to Dan for sharing his story and his time with us.
You can shop a range of creative, recycled and eco goodies from ashortwalk here.