Innovation That Matters

Wise Words with Joris Bryon and Hannelore Dewaele

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Husband and wife Joris Bryon and Hannelore Dewaele are the founders of Timbooktwo, a promotional video company that produces one video for a charity for every one they create for a business.

Husband and wife Joris Bryon and Hannelore Dewaele are the founders of Timbooktwo, a promotional video company that produces one video for a charity for every one they create for a business. Previously, Joris worked in advertising, as an account director at GGVD, McCann people, and Wanabe, while Hannelore has experience in the social sector and working within tourism. When not travelling for Timbooktwo projects, both are now based in Ghent, Belgium.

For every video made for a tourism company, Joris and Hannah donate their own time and money to produce one for a charity. In the same way online video can help increase sales, they hope footage of their chosen charity projects will encourage charitable donations.

1. Where did the idea for Timbooktwo come from?

We really believe in the power and importance of online video: The ROI potential of online video is enormous. We are passionate about travelling, so we decided to focus on travel and event videos. But having travelled a lot, we have also seen a lot of misery in the world and we realized we are fortunate enough to be born in the right part of the world. So we decided we wanted to give something back. That’s why we opted for a buy one give one business model. Because we believe video is not only a powerful tool for business but also for charities: it can help them show what’s being done with donations and hence raise more funds.

2. Does the Buy One Give One Model really attract business, or is it simply a perk?

The Buy One Give One Model is pretty new in B2B. We’ve done a lot of research and as far as we know we’re actually the first B2B company in the world with this model. This means that we really have to explain it to businesses. Once they understand it, they like it and they see it as a nice bonus: it doesn’t cost them anything to do good. Their support is mentioned at the end of their video and the charity video, which for them is great from a CSR point of view.

3. Can you describe a typical working day?

There’s not really a typical working day. When we’re not shooting, we’re preparing other projects, doing some administration or other office stuff. When we are on a shoot, the project determines our working day. And that could be anything from filming a marketplace at sunrise to filming crocodiles at night in a canoe on a river.

4. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on Timbooktwo?

We recently moved to beautiful Ghent, and whenever we’re not travelling we really like to explore all the many little restaurants and cosy coffee houses in this vibrant city. When we’re in Belgium we also try to catch up with friends and family.

5. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?

Don’t start something only because you think you can make money with it. Start something you actually believe in. That will give you the strength to keep going when things get tough.

6. What drove you crazy when building your business?

It’s kind of frustrating to see how many companies still don’t see the importance of online video. According to the British Interactive Media Association, in 2013 90 per cent of web traffic will be online video. That’s next year… But still a lot of companies consider online video as a nice-to-have instead of a must-have. So before we can even begin to try to sell our services, we first have to sell the idea of online video.

7. What motivates you to keep going?

The belief in what we’re doing.

8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

It’s still too early to tell, we only launched a few months ago.

9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

We don’t believe in five year plans. The world changes too rapidly to be thinking in five year terms. Businesses have to be flexible enough to make small and big tweaks on the go, and to see and seize short and long term opportunities that cross their path.

10. If you weren’t working on Timbooktwo, what would you be doing?

Working hard for someone else while making plans to start our own business.

11. Tell Springwise a secret…

This maybe is not a secret as such, but rather a secret insight we learned from Chris Guillebeau (The Art of NonConformity), and it really opened our eyes: “Unlike what most people think, doing what you really want and radically helping others is not a contradiction. These two perspectives have traditionally been viewed as opposites. You can do something good for yourself, or you can do something good for other people. You can start your own business, or you can change the world. Why can’t you do something great for others while you are pursuing your own goals? And alternatively, why do you have to sacrifice your own goals while you are out changing the world for good?” You don’t. You can do both.

12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.

You can read more about Timbooktwo in our article here, or visit the Timbooktwo website here.