Darren Mackelden tells us how he helps his clients stand out from the IT crowd
As the sponsor of our VIP tent at this year’s Crazy Jean’s event on Saturday June 8, Dagan Services Ltd specialises in supplying service providers, OEMs and VARs with high-quality IT hardware and equipment. For founder Darren Mackelden, getting involved with our summer soapbox race for the second year running was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I can’t wait for this year’s race!” he says. “It’s going to be great fun, and Nicole and the Chatty Hatter team are doing wonderful things with Crazy Jean’s. I think even more people will attend after last year, as word’s got out and there’s been more advertising. This means that it will raise more money for charity, which is what it’s all about. If more people come, the event can keep getting put on each year, and Tunbridge Wells needs more things like this.”
With over 20 years’ experience in the IT sector, he boasts an international client base spanning almost 20 countries, for whom he provides high-end servers, so that they in turn can ‘focus on clients and solutions, not infrastructure’.
“DSL really hit the ground running when it started,” he reveals. “In our first year of trading, we turned over £400,000. This year, we’re estimating between £1.5million and £2million.”
Darren prides himself on openness, honesty and transparency with his clients, who are primarily based in the Tokyo and Dubai markets, and elsewhere worldwide. Indeed, his work reaches as far as the US, Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Columbia, Singapore, China and India, as well as closer to home in Italy, Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, France and the Czech Republic.
“I tend to operate an open-book policy,” he continues. “I’ll always show my clients exactly how much I’m buying their IT equipment for, and agree with them a margin that I’m going to make. I’m a great believer in being upfront with people, and enjoy doing business with likeminded customers.
“We tend to mainly deal with resellers, who buy from us, then sell on to their end user. One of our main clients is the world’s oldest and largest management consultancy firm. They have 27 offices across the world, with 20,000 employees and an annual turnover in the billions. We’re contracted to supply them with all their IT systems.”
But while a global community of buyers has certainly stemmed from Darren’s universal currency of IT, he never loses sight of what’s happening on his doorstep. The 2019 Crazy Jean’s will once again be taking place at Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells, raising money for local charities Hospice in the Weald and Taylor-Made Dreams – and Darren is more than happy to offer his support.
“I’ve known Nicole for 20 years, and when she started Crazy Jean’s, I couldn’t wait to get involved!” he declares. “As well as sponsoring the VIP tent for the second year running, we’ve supported Taylor-Made Dreams individually as well.
“We try and help local companies whenever possible, which is the way it should be. We have clients all over the world, but it’s nice when some of the money that we make internationally gets put back into local events, and goes towards supporting great causes.”
With plans to open an office in Dubai in 2020, it looks like Darren is making the best of both worlds. Plus, alongside juggling the logistics of operating in multiple time zones on any given day, he’s keen to collaborate with more locally-based companies – and why not? After all, his business speaks a language of technology and communication that transcends borders, meaning the sky’s the limit for this savvy entrepreneur.