Things I Have Learned’ is a series of short interview articles in which the same set of questions are put to members of the bar industry who have launched their own business, changed career path, or done something interesting. The aim of the series is to provide guidance and inspiration to bartenders who might like to launch a new project of their own.
Who are you?
I am Matthew Dakers. I’m 35 years old and have been working in the industry since I was 15, as barback – bartender – head bartender – bar manager – brand ambassador – brand owner and group trainer
What are you doing now?
I am the head of training for London Cocktail Club. I love training. Alex Turner was a hero of mine growing up. I feel a responsibility to help the next generation. Jindea (the gin Matthew recently launched) is my life project. It will never end. It is the biggest adventure I have taken on so far and I spend every waking minute thinking about how I can make it a success.
Expectation Vs Reality – Have things turned out the way you though they would?
The fantasy was to create an amazing/original brand that everyone would love to drink. I believe it has turned out to be accurate (Matthew inserted a smiley emoji here, which I would rather die than reproduce – ed) – you tell me? I was pretty realistic before I started the brand. I knew how much hard work it would be and felt prepared to put in the minutes and hours but my mum’s friends think it’s pretty cool because they drink a lot of gin!
Hard Yards – What has been the most difficult challenge to overcome?
Every day, hour, minute, and second feels like an opportunity. I feel if I let my foot off the gas for a second the car will slow down. Smiling when people tell me how well I am doing. I don’t take positive feedback very well. I always think there is room for improvement and I need to learn how to enjoy the moment more. Dealing with disappointment: it’s going to happen, it’s how you respond that makes the difference. I always try and respond positively.
Pleasant Surprise – Describe something you have enjoyed during your adventures
How much love there is out there. We have people from the most random places sending messages to congratulate us. Helsinki, Australia, Berlin and so many more. Seeing all the nice messages about how people are enjoying the brand gives me goosebumps.
Need to Know – Describe a vital lesson you have learned
Be prepared to do anything! Nothing happens out of luck, you don’t grow success on trees. Every conversation, meeting, and encounter you have could be something that will help you and your brand be successful. Adapt – a lot of situations can happen and you have to be prepared to adapt yourself. Could be finance, legal, shipping… anything. Just approach everything with a positive attitude and a willingness to understand, learn and make a decision. I found out on this project that I am not always right.
Change is Good – What do you think the industry should be doing differently?
More work with charities. We have a rich and wonderful industry and we should be willing to share it. There are people out there who need help and our industry can make a difference. Make the world a better place?