Dougs Word Clocks

Pride in the nation’s capital is at the heart of a handmade clock business that operates from a Gordon garage.

Doug Jackson, the business owner of Dougs Word Clocks and winner of last year’s ACT Chief Minister’s Export Microbusiness Award , now exports 600 clocks a year to customers across the world.

Determined to support industry in the capital, Doug sources all the materials for his digital clocks from local businesses and even sends handwritten notes on Canberra postcards with every product.

“It’s all about supporting the local eco-system,” Doug said. “It would be really easy to take a month off and go out to China to the trade shows, but that’s not the focus. Our customers want something that’s handmade.”

“I am not a business man in any way shape or form, but I am doing this to support other Canberra businesses – that’s really important to me.”

“It’s the whole concept of a cottage industry, and means I can actively employ people to give them a non-threatening introduction to a working environment.”

After winning last year’s Export Award, which are run on behalf of the ACT Government by the Canberra Business Council, Doug increased his sales by 50 per cent in the following year.

As 100 per cent of his sales come from his website, Doug said winning the award was a valuable way to legitimise the business – especially as many orders come from as far afield as Great Britain, the US and Russia.

The beginning of his garage-based company was just as unconventional as its headquarters, with Doug spotting a similar clock online that he knew he could create at a more affordable price.

Doug posted instructions online advising people how to create the products from scratch, but instead was bombarded with emails asking him to create the clocks for them.

“It was never my intention to start making these clocks for people, but as soon as we started sending people kits for parts interest just increased and increased,” Doug commented.

“We simplified how it was put together and we have now sent them all over the world. When people receive the product they are astonished it’s handmade.”

The clocks tell the time using words rather than numbers, and Doug again shows his passion for the city by engraving ‘made in Canberra’ on the back of every product.

With orders continuing to grow for his timepieces, the family pool will soon be replaced by a garage extension to create an opportunity for Doug and his three apprentices to craft more clocks.

The ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards are an initiative of the ACT Government, managed and delivered by the Canberra Business Council.

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