Dan Gheorghe – Already designing his future

With a thesis for his MSc in Luxury Management almost done, Dan Gheorghe has wasted no time in setting up his own business, DG design www.dg-design.ch. The business targets small businesses, start-ups and NGOs, providing turn-key solutions for their business needs, from graphic and web design, to strategy and marketing.
“Small businesses don’t always have the resources and the knowledge to go to different advertising agencies and web design agencies to get their whole communications strategy in place,” explains Dan, “so through our knowledge and our network, we can provide all the different elements that are needed.”

The business evolved almost accidentally, born out of a passion for design and a tendency to help out many friends on their own projects. Earlier this year, Dan decided to make his hobby official and set up the business with two friends, a Romanian Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) graduate, and a Swiss/ Armenian Webster University graduate.

Between the three of them, they have their bases covered. Dan, as General Manager, takes care of the strategy and logistics, while the other two partners work as account manager and creative director. “I have the technical knowledge to find the different resources needed for the specific projects, and this is quite interesting because we have some companies who have no idea what they actually need,” says Dan, “they come to us for a website, and then when we meet them, together we realize that they need much more than just a website. It grows from there.”

In today’s competitive market place, small businesses need to find their niche in order to survive. DG Design has sustainability embedded into its ethos and they pursue clients with the same beliefs.

One of our key differentiators is our dedication to sustainability. Not many design companies think about sustainability, but we do believe it’s actually very important, even for the small things

“One of our key differentiators is our dedication to sustainability. Not many design companies think about sustainability, but we do believe it’s actually very important, even for the small things,” explains Dan, “when a client asks us to design brochures or catalogues, most of the time they don’t know that there are better ways to do it, that there are more ecofriendly ways of printing, or maybe there is no point in printing thousands of flyers and brochures. There are better ways and more innovative ways in design to present the same information.”

In line with their idea of a sustainable business, DG design aims to work on some pro bono projects and practice what they preach. “We have big dreams,” says Dan, “we are trying to have a ‘Design 4 Good’ project, and help small NGOs and charities develop their communication strategies.”

One of their clients, whose business is selling solar panels and wind turbines in Burundi, plans to co-sponsor some local projects in Burundi, such as a school. Dan’s company plans to help the school by setting up their communication needs.

Dan admits that his studies at BSL have really heightened his passion to be a responsible business practitioner and create sustainable business solutions for his clients. “I can say that all classes that I had in BSL took me closer to this ideal, as all classes have this reoccurring element.”

His business partners share a similar passion for running a sustainable business. “EHL and Webster [students] learn about sustainability, but not so much as at BSL. They have some ideas, some background but it’s not so central to their education.”

I can say that all classes played an important role, they gave me the knowledge base to help me expand, whether it was through those that enhanced my hard skills such as Accounting, Business Law or Project Management or  those which helped develop my soft skills such, as International Business, Business Ethics or Marketing

But it is not just sustainability that he learnt in his MSc in Luxury Management. Dan feels that he received a sound all-round education, putting him in good stead to succeed with his new business. “I can say that all classes played an important role, they gave me the knowledge base to help me expand, whether it was through those that enhanced my hard skills such as Accounting, Business Law or Project Management or  those which helped develop my soft skills such, as International Business, Business Ethics or Marketing.”

Dan was first introduced to the concept of sustainability during his internship at Nestlé, which he completed  before commencing his Master’s at BSL. “When I talk to people and they ask, ‘why do you care about sustainability, how did you start?’, and I tell them, Nestlé! They find it strange, because in their minds Nestlé and sustainability don’t really go together!”

Primarily I was attracted to BSL for the MSc in Luxury Management program, I wasn’t really aware of the sustainability element until I was almost getting started here, if I had known at the beginning, I think it would have been an even bigger incentive to come here!

His journey from this accidental introduction to sustainability at Nestlé lead him to another chance encounter at BSL. “Primarily I was attracted to BSL for the MSc in Luxury Management program, I wasn’t really aware of the sustainability element until I was almost getting started here,” recalls Dan, “if I had known at the beginning, I think it would have been an even bigger incentive to come here!”

His interest in sustainability runs deeper than just his own business, as Dan is currently working on his thesis which looks at the subject of ‘Sustainability in the Luxury Hospitality Industry: how communicating these sustainable initiatives relate to consumer brand perception’.

The MSc in Luxury Management has since been replaced by the Master of Arts in International Business with specialization in Luxury Management, a 1.5 year program.